Robert Chambers is looking to use the principles of local government he’s learned from past experience to ensure healthy growth for the future of Rexburg.
Chambers is one of four candidates vying for three open spots on the Rexburg City Council. The election will take place on Nov 5, 2019.
He is a currently a faculty member at BYU-Idaho in the Department of Religious Education. The 58-year-old has lived in Rexburg for 5 years.
Chambers attended Idaho State University, where he earned a B.A. in Political Science, an M.A. in Public Administration, and a Ph.D. in Political Science.
He worked as the Director of Planning and Development Services for the City of Pocatello for 16 years and served on the Pocatello City Council for 6 years. He currently serves as a member of the City of Rexburg’s Urban Renewal Agency.
In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Chambers said his experience working on the board of directors with the city’s urban renewal agency showed him how much local residents care about Rexburg. Working with the agency retriggered a long-time interest Chambers has had in local government.
“My interest to run for the city council has been in me for a long time,” he said. “When I left Pocatello as the Director of Planning and Development Services, I thought I was leaving my public service days behind. I’ve found that I’ve missed public service. I’ve missed working with local issues of all sorts and all varieties.”
Chambers also mentioned that while he has learned general principles of governing from his time in Pocatello, he understands that Rexburg is its own, unique community.
“I don’t want to try and behave or act as if I want to make Rexburg [into] Pocatello,” he said.
One specific item Chambers mentioned he feels could be implemented in Rexburg that he said worked well in Pocatello was a build-out analysis. The project took all currently zoned lands within the city and affected areas and projected what growth would look like in the future based on how lands were currently zoned.
He said by doing that the city was able to understand what needed to happen in order for city growth to be implemented the most effectively through zoning, planning, infrastructure and other needs.
In reference to which issues he feels are most important for the city to address right now, Chambers first noted that city growth, followed by improved roads. He said it’s “extremely important” to give necessary funding to roads and other infrastructure items.
Chambers also lauded the importance of inter-governmental cooperation through city and county governments and local departments and agencies.
He remarked that his stance of waiting to promote ideas for change until he more fully understands the city’s challenges probably isn’t very “politically satisfying.”
“I would rather say I’m going to learn and wait and what I see needs changed I’ll pursue with a passion,” he said. “It’s sometimes too easy to say I want to change this or that without really understanding the big picture.”
Chambers said he wants to see the city provide the framework for multi-generational housing to continually be developed in the city. He also said he supports increased spending to improve road maintenance.
He described himself as a fiscal moderate in that he wants to budget effectively but doesn’t mind “spending money on things the community wants and needs.”