Meridian City Council, seat 2: Joe Borton

October 6, 2013 

Name: Joe Borton

Age: 41

Occupation: Managing partner, Borton-Lakey Law & Policy in downtown Meridian.

Education: After growing up in the Treasure Valley, I went to college and earned a B.S. degree in Economics (with honors) from the University of Oregon and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Idaho.

Prior political experience: A lifetime volunteer for the GOP. Served as an Oregon GOP legislative staffer during college; four years elected Republican precinct captain in Meridian; one term elected Meridian City Council (2007 City Council President).

Civic involvement: Meridian City Council, 2005-2008, Council President, 2007; Republican Party Precinct Chairman, 2008-2012 (Ada County - 135); Big Brothers/Big Sisters of SW Idaho Youth Mentor for little brother, 2000-2010, Board of Directors, 2005-2010, Chairman of the Board, 2008-2009, 2002 Idaho Big Brother of the Year; Meridian Chamber of Commerce 2000-present, Board of Directors, 2000-2002, Chamber of Commerce President, 2001-2002, 2005 Meridian Businessman of the Year; Meridian Education Foundation/Joint School District No. 2; Board of Directors, 2003-2009, Foundation President, 2007-2008; Meridian Youth Football head coach, 1997-2000 and 2005-2012; Meridian Youth Baseball head coach, 2010-2012; Meridian Mayor's Youth Council advisor, 2004; Meridian's Promise advisor, 2004; Meridian Arts Foundation co-founder and member of the Board of directors, 2012-present; President Idaho State Bar 4th Judicial District Bar Association, 2012-2013.

Years living in Meridian: 14

Family: Wife, Sharon, two teenage sons

Website: www.joeborton4meridian.com

Social media accounts: Facebook

Endorsements: Ada County Association of Realtors; Meridian Republican Senators Chuck Winder and Marv Hagedorn; Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney.

1. What makes you a better choice for voters than your opponent(s)?

I am focused on how we can make your life in Meridian better. I own a small business in our downtown. I shop here, dine here and recreate here. I coach youth baseball and football here. My wife and I are educating our teenage children here and we hope to one day retire here. I have spent the past 10-plus years volunteering and leading groups such as the Meridian Chamber of Commerce, Big Brother/Big Sisters and the Meridian Education foundation to make Meridian a better place for businesses and families. I have served on Meridian’s City Council with great success and I know how to accomplish my goals when elected again on November 5.

2. If elected, what are your top three priorities? How will you accomplish them? Please provide specifics.

My priorities include: (i) improving public safety, (ii) expending parks and recreation opportunities for our families, and (iii) ensuring that regulation remain limited in scope and fair in application. These are goals that will be accomplished by collaborating with my fellow councilmen and mayor, department leaders, our city commissions, members of the public and impacted stakeholders. I will lead a public-private assessment to make sure Meridian allocates its limited resources in the most efficient manner to accomplish the greatest good. One example is found with the popularity of Settlers Park and highlights the need to complete the development of a similar regional park south of the freeway. A second example focuses on improved cooperation with the Meridian School District and our school resource officers to make sure our children are safe in our schools and community.

3. What is the one thing your city should start doing to encourage economic development and create jobs?

I believe that Meridian must ensure that any regulation remain limited in its scope and fair in its application. A government that does that, and removes municipal uncertainty in the business cycle, is a government that encourages development and job growth. Note that I said it encourages growth, it does not create it. Ultimate economic growth is created by the entrepreneurs and risk takers who have the courage to open and/or expand their business in Meridian. Our city leadership must cultivate, promote and celebrate that spirit through our actions.

4. How do you envision your city 10 to 20 years from now? How should it change?

I envision Meridian in 20 years to be more economically diverse, safer, and more enjoyable for families young and old. Quality of life will improve and there will be many more places to recreate, dine, and shop. There will be better transportation and safer streets. The city will remain fiscally sound and conservative with the public’s money. The city will be vigilant in providing functional transparency in all it does. This list sounds simple because it is. Local government’s role is simple if it focuses on the right things. As a member of Meridian’s city council I will work daily to make sure that our actions drive our community to achieving these goals. A city that does that can truly become a premiere place to work, live and raise a family.

5. Are you concerned about public apathy and involvement in civic matters? How would you get more people involved?

So many Meridian residents give back to our community through efforts defined by humility and hard work, not apathy. When I am serving our community I have found each person — and there are a lot of them — to be engaged and interested in the wellbeing of Meridian. Many of my supporters are those who give tirelessly to our city and ask for nothing in return. I am proud of the work so many people do to help Meridian be a great city, and am proud to have their support for my campaign.

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?

Meridian embraces growth by continuing to ensure a fair and just business climate. Again, any regulation must remain limited in scope and fair in its application. As a member of the city council I will work to embrace that philosophy, while continuing my support of so many community events that bring us together to celebrate our city and the fellowship among our residents. From Dairy Days to chili cook offs, salmon BBQs to Christmas parades, our community is a family, and I will work to make sure that spirit continues for years to come.

7. What are the top two issues facing Meridian, and how should they be addressed?

While there are more than two issues facing Meridian, my priorities again include (i) improving public safety, (ii) expending parks and recreation opportunities for our families, and (iii) ensuring that regulation remain limited in scope and fair in application. However, the city must also work to improve functional transparency in its operations. The priorities I mention in these responses must be addressed with the understanding that elected officials earn the public’s trust with our actions and that we must respect and honor that trust on a daily basis.

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?

Your question assumes that growing revenues should remain with the city rather then be returned to the public. It is that type of thinking that I will always question.

9. If more budget tightening is needed, where would you look first for cuts? Why?

I would look to areas that do not serve the essential functions of local government. That may be focused on personnel or programs. I own a successful small business that has gone through good times and bad. I have hired and fired, grown and contracted. I mentioned in an earlier answer the need to reassess city services to make sure Meridian allocates its limited resources in the most efficient manner to accomplish the greatest good. I respect the hard work of our city’s employees and know that if management is structured properly, and if each team is efficient in its collective work towards a common vision, then non-essential city functions are where I would look for cuts.

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