Freshman Idaho Rep. Brandon Hixon, R-Caldwell, has defaulted on his home mortgage and hasn’t paid a house payment since June of 2012, four months before he was elected to the Legislature. The news, first reported by the Caldwell Guardian and detailed in a Sunday article in the Idaho Press-Tribune, surfaced in a legal notice printed Friday in the newspaper, which said Hixon’s Caldwell home is set for auction in March. Hixon, however, says he’s been negotiating a home mortgage modification with his lender, Wells Fargo, and expects that to be completed by late January, averting any foreclosure auction.
“We’ve got a plan drafted and I think it will work out just fine,” Hixon told Eye on Boise. “This doesn’t have any kind of impact on my ability to be an effective legislator. Obviously it’s a trying time, when it comes right down to it, but I think we’ve worked through it diligently. We’re going to come out leaner and stronger as a family from this thing.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Hixon, who at 32 is currently the youngest member of the Idaho Legislature, narrowly defeated Democrat Travis Manning in 2012, though the district is heavily Republican. During the campaign, the Press-Tribune, Hixon’s hometown newspaper, reported that Hixon had five misdemeanors by age 21 for such offenses as urinating in public and minor in possession of alcohol, and 15 infractions, mostly for traffic violations, between 1998 and 2009, along with small-claims court orders to pay past-due rent in 2003 and 2005. Hixon told the newspaper then, “Obviously I’ve changed. … It’s not a reflection on what’s going to happen in the future. You basically grow up. You understand what true responsibility is.”
Hixon said his financial problems aren’t a sign of a return to his youthful mistakes. “I haven’t had so much as a speeding ticket in the last four and a half years,” he said. “I think what’s important to remember here is the fact that I gave up a very high-paying job to come to my service to the people of Legislative District 10. This is personal, and we’ll work it out.”
Hixon, who is married with four children ranging in age from 2 to 13, said he resigned from his job as an insurance agent for Liberty Mutual in May of 2012, after the firm belatedly informed him it viewed legislative service as a conflict of interest with his employment. Since then, he’s been an independent agent, but said his business has suffered due to his legislative service. “It’s taken time away from my business as an insurance agent,” he said. “The time demands on a legislator are pretty significant.”
Hixon said his constituents have been supportive. “I’m not a multimillionaire retired legislator, I’m a working guy,” he said. “I think I’m very in touch with the people. … People say, ‘This guy’s a regular guy, an average guy who’s having troubles like hundreds of thousands of Idahoans, and obviously he’s getting it taken care of.’”
He added, “I’m up-front about everything from Day 1. That’s what everybody needs to understand. I don’t think it’s been any big secret that it has been a financial crunch for me. But at the end of the day, we’re not on state assistance, we’re not out there begging for a handout, we’re taking care of it.” Click below for his full statement.
Statement from Rep. Brandon Hixon, R-Caldwell:
"On December 28, an article was published about the public notice that my personal home mortgage is not current. What was not in the article is that I am currently fully engaged in a home mortgage loan modification process with Wells Fargo, the lender. Like way too many other Idaho families who bought properties in 2007, my home value significantly dropped, seemingly overnight, and my business income has diminished as well. While it is a significant challenge, I am not one to make excuses. My constituents and the public need to know that I am diligently working through this matter to bring it to resolution as soon as possible. It is my responsibility and I intend to honor my commitment. My family and I have learned to become much better stewards of our resources as a result of this situation. I have worked hard to ensure this temporary situation will have no significant impact on my ability to be an effective legislator. My rock solid voting record and my unwavering personal commitment to District 10 demonstrate my determination."