IAC District 5 Tours International Machinery Manufacturing Facility During Meeting

19 Apr 2024, by Sara Westbrook Share :

County officials and legislators from across Southeastern Idaho gathered in Bingham County on Thursday, April 18, to discuss the 2024 legislative session and how to lead with emotional intelligence. Bingham County Commissioner Eric Jackson arranged for the group to meet at Spudnik Equipment in Blackfoot, Idaho, for a private tour.

Spudnik, a local agricultural equipment manufacturer with over 60 years in the potato industry, served as a great host. Spudnik was founded by two brothers, Carl and Leo Hobbs, who determined there must be a better way to handle potatoes, i.e. spuds, than shoveling them into sacks. Spudnik’s website states, “The brothers put their minds together and built a potato scooper with spare parts from around their employer’s shop. From there, Carl and Leo kept innovating and challenging traditions to build innovative equipment in the potato industry.” Thus, the famous red machinery company was born. IAC members and legislators enjoyed getting an up-close look at how the equipment is made, including the precision and professionalism observed throughout the facility.

Alongside the tours, members had the privilege of sharing lunch with legislators from the district who shared invaluable insights into the legislative session. Senators Jim Guthrie and Julie VanOrden and Representatives Dustin Manwaring, Rick Cheatum, and Dan Garner were all in attendance. They discussed significant changes to the state budgeting process and highlighted passed bills, including crucial topics such as area of impact and next-of-kin notification. They also shed light on bills they advocated for on behalf of counties, including the dates and deadlines bill, providing a clear understanding of the legislative landscape. 

Josh Sorensen, representing Congressman Mike Simpson, gave a brief update, including the news that the Congressman is now only two heartbeats away from being the ranking member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, arguably the most powerful committee in Congress. Sally Symons, representing Senator Mike Crapo, gave a brief overview of what Senator Crapo has been working on, including his advocacy to secure SRS 2023 funding and the Idaho delegation’s advocacy regarding potatoes remaining classified by the USDA as a vegetable, not as a grain.

Bannock County Commissioner Jeff Hough, the District 5 Chair, conducted the meeting and introduced Angie Lion of Black River Performance Management and Cherisse Brown of Idaho State University. The two gave a brief presentation on the definition of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and why it matters. They shared examples of how having higher EQ awareness allows people to build stronger relationships and navigate organizational change by bringing awareness and understanding of one’s emotions. 

The next IAC District 5 meeting will be held on July 18, 2024, at a location yet to be determined.

View District 5 meeting photos on our Flickr page.