A former Brigham Young University-Idaho professor has thrown his hat into the political arena and will challenge state Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Idaho Falls, in the 2018 primary.
Gary Marshall, a lifelong resident of Osgood, will run for a House seat in District 30, which encompasses Ammon and most of western Bonneville County, except for most of Idaho Falls.
According to the Idaho State Journal, Marshall first taught in local high schools and middle schools before serving as a local assistant principle. After 12 years teaching in public schools, and after completing a Master of Education degree, Marshall was hired on the faculty of BYU-Idaho, where he taught for 27 years.
Thompson has represented the district since 2008, when he beat Rep. Jerry Shively, the last Democrat to represent Idaho Falls in the Legislature. His 2008 primary win over Steve Yates was a narrow margin of just more than 100 votes.
Thompson faced no primary challenger in 2016, and then went on to easily beat out Democratic challenger Matt Dance. Therefore, Marshall is the first serious challenge the incumbent has faced in four years.
According to the Idaho State Journal, Marshall said education is one of the most important issues facing the state. Marshall’s teaching career focused on American history and government, including teaching the required “American Heritage” course and working as the dean of the College of Education during the period when the school was developing its teacher training programs.
Marshall also says he is focused on finding ways for Idaho public schools to attract and retain high-quality teachers.