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Carl Bjerke

State Senator Legislative District 5

Biography & Background

My wife Lesli and I have been married for 32 years. We have two children. Our son is a firefighter for the City of Meridian and our daughter is a graphic designer/entrepreneur here in Coeur d’Alene. I am a retired deputy chief for the City of Santa Monica Fire Department and Lesli is a retired teacher, small business owner, and was recently elected to the CDA School Board. We were all raised in southern California, and we have fond memories of growing up during some of California’s most golden years. In 2014 we made a deliberate decision to purchase land in beautiful Kootenai County. We identified with the socially and politically conservative nature of the area. Lesli and I began building in 2016 and moved into our home in July 2017.
My personal background set the tone for my desire to serve in this community and the State of Idaho. I was involved in student government and was very active in sports during high school and college. I was also very involved in my church; it was a big influence in directing my life and continues to be so. My work experience includes being a respiratory therapist and a mortician apprentice. While working on my health-science degree and employed at Long Beach St. Mary’s Medical Center, I found my true calling after numerous encounters with members of the Long Beach Fire Department. After building a resume of firefighting experiences, I was hired as a firefighter by the City of Santa Monica in 1987. I have worked in most ever aspect of the department: Firefighter, Paramedic, Acting Engineer, Captain, Paramedic Coordinator, Training Captain, Division Chief, Battalion Chief, Training Chief, and eventually retiring in 2017, as the Deputy Chief of Operations.
I have an associate degree in Respiratory Therapy and a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership. I have numerous occupational certificates i.e., Urban Search and Rescue, Incident Command, etc. and numerous units of continuing education related to my time working in public safety.
Even in retirement I maintain a strong work ethic and continue to be an avid learner. I was hired by the College of Eastern Idaho as a Fire Technology Instructor, until COVID hit. I currently work as a part time property manager.
One constant over the past three years has been my desire to increasingly help serve the people with political involvement. I have a great deal of wisdom and world experience that will benefit the people in the State of Idaho and Kootenai County if given the opportunity to serve in our State Senate

Top 3 Issues:

1. One of the effects of the COVID pandemic was an awakening of the electorate.  The curtain was pulled back and many of the citizens who were usually too busy going about their daily lives, working and taking care of their families, might have found themselves without a job and sitting at home. While there, they were watching what their children were learning in school and wondering what their elected officials were doing to improve their lives.  As it is difficult to completely forecast what the needs might be nine months from now, I will list my top three priorities. 1) Maintain confidence in the election process – It is disappointing to see the low numbers of voter turnout.  Our republican form of government requires the people – (of the people, by the people, for the people) to participate in the system.  If there is any question in our future elections that our system of voting is not secure, we can expect a greater level of apathy, with corresponding low voter turnout.  The very existence of what we hold dear in our country, the right to vote and to have that vote count, is in jeopardy of being lost.  For example, a study conducted by the Heritage Foundation listed Idaho as being ranked 38h in voter integrity.  There has been some progress made regarding this issue, but there is more need to fully secure Idaho’s voting integrity.  
2. 2) A society will ultimately be the judge on how it takes care of the most vulnerable.  I believe it should be a priority to move forward new and existing proposed legislation that will protect our most precious resource, the unborn and the children of Idaho.  The future of this great state will lie in our desire and ability to secure the rights and freedoms of our next generation.  Although some headway is being made on these fronts, we will need to work on firming up additional legislation that will protect the rights of the unborn, eliminate the indoctrination of our school children, get back to traditional Idaho values, reverse the physical and psychological effects of mask mandates, and end the sexualization of our children through pornographic materials in curriculum and libraries.  I know these can be lightning rod issues, but they shouldn’t be.  I am convinced that if more people really knew the extent of these issues, we would have a groundswell of support for making changes.
3. 3) Deviation from the intent of our founding documents, in all its forms, has a disastrous effect on the people of Idaho.  Article IV, Section 4 of the US Constitution guarantees every State in the Union a Republican form of Government, where the sovereignty of the state resides with the people.  A republican form of government respects all the tenets of the rule of law which include supremacy of the law, equality before the law and the principle of liberty.  What happened in the response to the COVID pandemic in Idaho was completely lawless-everything from illegally extending emergency orders and mandates, to forbidding proper governance by preventing the ability of the Legislature to convene and represent the electorate. Much work will need to take place in the 2023 legislative session to ensure nothing like this ever happens again in the state of Idaho. In regards to our founding documents, I believe in our 2nd Amendment rights to bear arms, and this right should not ever be infringed upon.

Integrity in Affiliation

Submission: Yes

“I have read the Idaho Constitution and the Idaho Republican Party Platform. I support the Idaho Republican Platform and accept it as the standard by which my performance as a candidate and as an officeholder should be evaluated. I certify that I am not a candidate, officer, delegate or position holder in any party other than the Republican Party.”

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