Tommy LaPonsey

Dedicated Service

Tommy LaPonsey
Fire Commissioner

Tommy LaPonsey
for Fire Commissioner

Vote Nov. 7!

My Top Priorities

Protect Your Family

Wildfires, arson and accidents pose an increasing danger to life and property. I will work diligently to initiate a prevention awareness program, while continuing the fire district’s free property assessments. I will also work with regional forest and land management agencies to improve fire mitigation measures.

Maintain Service Levels

Rapid population growth requires that our fire district remain vigilant to ensure its staffing and equipment scale up responsibly over time. I will prioritize advancing a budget that focuses on strategic planning for emergency response capabilities to ensure we maintain excellent service levels. To do so, I will apply my extensive experience in fire district planning from my 30-year career as a Fire and EMS professional. 

Increase Transparency

The fire district has several impressive multi-million dollar capital improvement projects underway for which little information is readily available to residents. I will bring transparency by ensuring project information and videos of all public board meetings are posted to the fire district’s website.

Why I’m running

My dedication has always been in the service of others in emergency response and life safety. You deserve to have a fire and rescue expert as your next Fire Commissioner. I am a retired fire captain and am running to use my skills gained over 30 years to further serve my community. With my experience, I will bring the insight necessary to work with leadership in the fire district to improve public safety in a cost-effective way. As a front line first responder, I understand the difficulties many of our fire district team members face, and am uniquely suited to find the best solutions to challenges facing the fire district in the future. I will be an open and transparent member of the board of commissioners and will endeavor to provide excellence in Fire and EMS service to the Kootenai community.


Tommy LaPonsey

Over 30 years of Fire and EMS Service and Experience As a Frontline First Responder

I moved my family to North Idaho in the summer of 2014 after falling in love with this very special and wonderful community. I was retiring from the Santa Monica Fire Department where I served as a Paramedic Fire Captain at our busiest fire station for almost 29 years. My wife, Kate, and I wanted to settle down in a place where the people were just as incredible as the surrounding countryside. That is why we chose the Coeur d’Alene area of Kootenai County, Idaho to call home.

I began my firefighting career as a volunteer EMT firefighter for a small city while working in the construction trades. I was eventually hired by the Santa Monica Fire Department, and began an amazing adventure in my life, second only to my incredible family. I served the department in many skill sets which included being a paramedic, hazardous materials specialist, rescue systems specialist, and a disaster preparation instructor, as well as being aircraft rescue certified. I am certified as a fire officer, chief officer, fire boss in wildland firefighting, strike team leader, and first aid CPR instructor. I was the Paramedic Coordinator for our department and worked with both County and State agencies to develop innovative programs for fire based EMS programs. I felt called to serve again after my retirement, so I joined the Sheriff’s Citizens Advisory Panel. I currently hold a position as a Community Service Officer for the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office.

Kootenai Fire District Map

This map shows the coverage area of Kootenai County Fire and Rescue.  Fire Commissioners represent the entire colored areas (green, purple, yellow, blue, and pink) – so all voters who live within the colored areas can vote for Tommy LaPonsey!


The Role of a Fire Commissioner

The question I am most frequently asked about is the role of a fire commissioner. In a nutshell, a fire commissioner is a trustee of public safety. Kootenai County Fire and Rescue has a five member board of commissioners that approves the budget, appoints the fire chief, negotiates with union members, and asks the public to approve bonds to invest in capital projects – like new fire stations and equipment. My voice would be one of five, working in a collaborative way with each other, the fire district leadership team, and the community to ensure Kootenai County has the best Fire and Rescue services, balanced with excellent stewardship of the public funds. My skill set and experience as a front line first responder and position of leadership as a Captain, afford me the knowledge and understanding needed to faithfully and competently fulfill the role of a fire commissioner.

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