Name: Jeff Hoseley
Occupation: I am teacher at Meridian High School, where I currently teach economics, AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics, and AP Government (the AP classes are also offered as concurrent credit for Political Science 101 and 102, Economics 201 and 202 through Boise State, where I am adjunct faculty).
Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Economics from University of California Santa Barbara; Master of Arts degree in Education, Curriculum & Instruction from Boise State University.
Prior political experience: I have never run for, nor previously held, a political office.
Civic involvement: I have been involved in PAL soccer, Y-Ball and AAU basketball with my kids for about 6 years. As a teacher I have advised Student Council, National Honor Society, and been a coach of baseball, tennis, and basketball (including varsity boys) for 18 of my 22 years in the Meridian School District.
Years living in Meridian: 19 years
Family: Wife, Staci, and three teenage sons.
Social media accounts: Facebook: JeffHoseleyforMeridianCityCouncil
1. What makes you a better choice for voters than your opponent(s)?
I have a passion for economics and government as that has been my predominant teaching position at Meridian High. I enjoy giving to the community through my teaching and coaching and would like to expand that role. However the most important quality I have to offer is I am new to this. I have not tried to build my resume by getting to know the local powers that be through political party networking, committee work, nor am I a professional politician trying to spend my way to a seat on the council. I am just a citizen of Meridian with, what I think to be, a solid background, a good set of values, an understanding of how to work with people, and a desire to see Meridian succeed.
2. If elected, what are your top three priorities? How will you accomplish them? Please provide specifics.
1. Meridian needs to continue to attract good paying business opportunities to our community. We should continue to do what we can to bring established businesses into Meridian. Established businesses have better success rates and offer more promise for long term job growth.
2. We have to manage growth in a balanced way that looks to the future without forgetting our past. While doing this we have to work with other government groups to ensure the most effective improvements. We should also continue to do what we can to communicate with our citizens as to the progress of projects and future projects that may affect them.
3. We need to build upon the university partnerships that we have to make more post secondary programs available in the satellite campuses in Meridian. A better educated population will help attract businesses, better paying jobs, and better quality of life for our citizens.
3. What is the one thing your city should start doing to encourage economic development and create jobs?
Businesses, just like people, respond to incentives. We should look at other similar sized cities that have a diverse business base and see what incentives businesses have to go there. We should ask the same of businesses here, as well as businesses in growing industries. Is it quality of life? Infrastructure? Labor force qualifications? Crime? Recreation? Once we see what that is, we need to decide what is a good fit for Meridian and then do what we think is prudent to create incentives. However, in doing so, we cant forget where Meridian has come from and continue to honor our history.
4. How do you envision your city 10 to 20 years from now? How should it change?
I see Meridian as a town of hubs. An Old Town, the Eagle corridor from Chinden to Overland and the Ten Mile and Franklin area. I see these hubs as centers for the community offering services to meet a variety of needs. I am excited about how to connect these areas to expedite traffic and I am very excited about the pathway and rails program and how those connections could enhance these hubs. In 20 years I see Meridian shedding the label of Boises bedroom community and having our own economic base that is strong enough and balanced to sustain us.
5. Are you concerned about public apathy and involvement in civic matters? How would you get more people involved?
All citizens should be concerned with public apathy. They should also be concerned with the confrontational nature of politics today. What am I doing to get more people involved? I am calling on my former students to get involved and show people that they are willing and able to do the right thing. That starts with voting in November. One focus of my campaign is getting people registered and even encouraging them to vote absentee if they will not be able to make it to the polls. I believe everyone should have a voice and everyone should help make the choice of who should represent them in government.
6. Meridian is poised to become the city's second largest city. How do you embrace growth and expansion and still maintain your small-town, family-oriented values?
You plan for balance and you stick to the plan. You have to designate areas that fulfill agricultural needs, commercial needs, residential needs, and recreational needs. You may not make everyone happy, but you do the best you can. My dad lived in Meridian as a child and he told me his dad delivered ice in town. His uncle delivered milk in town, was a successful businessman, and has his name on a plaque honoring him for his contributions in creating Storey Park. I have listened to what it was like for him to spend some time here as a child and I appreciate what Meridian was. Sometimes progress means respecting, and celebrating, your past. It would be wonderful to have a cultural center in downtown Meridian that paid respects to all that Meridian was, all the cultures of people that have influenced its development, and all the businesses and community leaders that have helped make Meridian what it is today.
7. What are the top two issues facing Meridian, and how should they be addressed?
Managing growth and attracting jobs. I attended a conference this summer where Dr. Brian Greber from Boise State and ECONorthwest said that to create new jobs you have to bring jobs that are new to the area, not just moving jobs from, for example, Albertsons to Whole Foods. Those dont generate new revenue; it just takes revenue from an established business to a new one. We need to encourage businesses that can bring NEW jobs to move to our community. A call center serves people around the country. Manufacturing jobs serving regional needs would be new opportunities. Jobs in computer system designs could also bring new jobs to Meridian. I dont want to take jobs from Boise or Nampa or any other city in Idaho. As I mentioned before, Meridian has a culture to it that is attractive to many people. As we grow, there will be pains, but the city must be diligent in trying to keep the values Meridian possesses developing enough to stand on its own economically.
8. If tax revenues take an upswing in the next few years, which part of city government do you think most needs an infusion of cash, and why?
If that were really the case then I would ask the heads of the departments and the citizens of Meridian. The city of Meridian has some fantastic people working for it with more knowledge than I will ever have. I would ask them to tell me what they would do if they had the money. I would also ask the people to chime in and see what they think the city most needed. From there, I would compare the lists and see what made the most sense for the most people. Government must always look to balance freedom and order (safety) and hopefully we could find a way to promote a little bit of both.
9. If more budget tightening is needed, where would you look first for cuts? Why?
The only thing people hate more than cutting the funding of their favorite project or service is to raise their taxes. If you have to cut the budget I think you start with two areas: the services that impact the fewest people and the services that are nice to have but not necessary. It would be nice to say, Oh well just find more revenue through grants or other sources but if budget tightening is necessary, odds are those other sources will be overwhelmed or unavailable. Capital outlays and new projects, if not essential, should be postponed. Salaries would need to be frozen. If that isnt enough, then you have to look at the largest sources of outlays: sewer, water, police, fire, parks & recreation, city administration, and public works. At that point it would be a discussion on whether a little from everyone or a lot from a few would be better. Before I made that decision, I would want to hear from all of the departments to see if we couldnt solve the problem together.