Meridian City Council, seat 5: Genesis Milam

October 7, 2013 

Name: Genesis Milam

Age:40

Occupation: Business consultant/real estate investor

Education: Attended Rogue Community College

Prior political experience: None

Civic involvement: 2011-present International Women Business Owners Member; 2010-present Meridian Business Day, Committee Member; 2010–present Boys and Girls Club Committee Member; 2010–2012 Idaho Business Women’s Network President, Meridian Chapter; 2010-2012 HMS PTSO, Volunteer; 2010-2012 Star Chamber of Commerce Steering Committee; 2009-2011 Boise Young Professionals; 2009–2010 Meridian Stars Boosters, Vice-President; 2008–2012 Meridian Chamber of Commerce Member; 2007–2012 Boise Chamber of Commerce Member; 2006–2012 Nampa Chamber of Commerce Member; 2005–2012 Kuna Chamber of Commerce Member; 2005–2011 Idaho Food Bank Food Drive; 2005–2011 Toys for Tots Gift Drive; 2007-2009 Canyon County Women Executives Member; 2005-2007 NAWBO Member; 2000-2009 Idaho Jaycees (2001) Membership Director; 1990 RCC Psychology Club Director

Awards: 2011 Women of the Year, Idaho Business Review; 2011 Accomplished Under 40, Idaho Business Review; 2011 Small Business Person of the Year Nominee, Small Business Administration; 2011 Small Business of the Year Nominee, Meridian Chamber of Commerce; 2010 Idaho Business Woman of the Year Nominee; 2009 Small Business of the Year Finalist, Boise Chamber of Commerce; 2006 Honorary Club Operator of the Year, Anytime Fitness; 2003 Speaker of the Year, Idaho Jaycees; 1995 Mazda Customer Satisfaction Award “Best of 9 States”

Years living in Meridian: 13

Family: Husband, Dean; daughter, Hailey 16; son, Tristan, 5

Website: www.genesismilam.com

Social media accounts: Facebook

Endorsements: Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd and her husband, Jan de Weerd; Meridian Councilman Charlie Rountree and wife, Nancy; Meridian Councilman David Zaremba and his wife, Renee; Meridian Councilman Brad Hoaglun; Meridian Councilman Keith Bird; International Women Business Owners; and Meridian Business Day Executive Committee.

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

Having been a successful small business owner, I have dealt with the obstacles that owners are faced with on a daily basis. I will champion fewer, less-intrusive city government regulations, which pave the way for home-based and small business formation and prosperity.

I am also a mother. Safety, recreation and education are extremely important to me and I will make decisions to best represent our community’s families and values.

As a property owner, property rights and taxes are issues that I will always take seriously.

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

While I believe the city of Meridian is doing a terrific job, there is some room for improvement. That’s why my focus will highlight small business development. I will work with the Chamber of Commerce and directly with our small business owners to ensure the city of Meridian is doing all it can to help them grow and thrive in a very challenging economic environment.

As a city councilman, I intend to work with the Meridian Chamber of Commerce and the Boise Young Professionals (BYP) to develop a similar program, Meridian Young Professionals (MYP). The focus would be to connect, empower and engage our young entrepreneurs, nonprofit workers, bankers, attorneys, engineers, artists, and just about any profession in the Meridian area.

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

Place a greater emphasis on home and small business development. As a former small business owner, I understand the frustrations — and joys — from doing what you truly love to do. Small business generates nearly one-half of the U.S. gross domestic product and employs 53 percent of all private-sector jobs; if small business can bolster our nation’s economy, it can bolster our local economy, too.

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

I envision Meridian as the employment capital of Idaho, where people can make a living wage doing what they truly enjoy doing. We will have larger businesses near the freeways and smaller businesses in our living communities. Less people will have to commute to earn a living.

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

I believe that most people want to make a difference. Much of the time, they just don’t know what to do, where to go or how to do it.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a website (i.e. www.mycommunity.com) where there would be an easy to navigate calendar of city happenings, meetings, civic and nonprofit groups and how to get involved? It would also have ACHD, county and any other pertinent information. There would be links to the individual organizations on what their needs are. We need to make it simple. Our community members do want to be involved, but they need to be invited, to be lead … This will help accomplish that.

I have been actively looking for some of these meetings to attend and it has been difficult. If I can’t find them when I’m really trying, imagine what it looks like to someone who’s just wondering.

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 will always be the best city to raise a family in Idaho. We can also be the employment hub of the Treasure Valley. Through zoning and thoughtful planning we can structure the larger industrial and technical mega centers close to freeway access. This will ensure that our inner-city infrastructure is not affected. We then develop our smaller businesses within the community and neighborhoods.

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

Civic and non-profit engagement is an issue here. We have over 38,000 registered voters in Meridian, but only about 10% vote city elections. See my above answer for one easily implemented solution.

Employment is another issue. We can increase local employment by [1] attracting businesses that pay competitive wages and [2] stimulating and facilitating small business development.

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?

Taxpayer dollars belong to the taxpayers. If tax revenues outpace needs, then I will insist on reducing tax rates so taxpayers can keep their money. We should also ask for input from the members of our community. While out knocking on doors and at events I have been asked about walking paths and afterschool activities. These seem to be something that many families would like to have.

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

I would look for ways to stimulate our local economy, which as a result, will increase tax revenues. Doing so may reduce or eliminate the need to make cuts.

However if cuts are necessary, I would look at services that do not compromise the safety and security of Meridian residents.

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