Boise & Garden City

He came to Boise as a refugee. Now he’s working toward a seat on City Council.

A new candidate entered the race for Boise City Council on Thursday, marking the fourth person running for seats on the council.

Tecle Gebremichael, an Ethiopian refugee who came to Boise in 2012 and became an American citizen in 2017, said in a phone interview that his goal is to bring a new perspective to the council as a West Boisean and a new American.

“I think my campaign started from gratitude,” he said. “I came here with a couple of pairs of shoes, and this country was able to provide everything I need.”

Gebremichael serves as a petroleum supply specialist in the United States Army Reserves. He is working on a degree in political science from Boise State University and will graduate in a few semesters, he said.

He is also a nationally accredited language-service provider and a soccer coach for Nations United under Idaho Rush Soccer Club. His past jobs include a role as a computer lab monitor at College of Western Idaho and as a legislative intern in the Idaho Statehouse. The Idaho Office for Refugees awarded him with the Refugee Success and Integration Award in 2014.

Three of the six council seats are up for grabs every two years. In November, Boise voters will choose candidates for Seats 1, 3 and 5. Boise has at-large council elections, and the numbers don’t represent any seniority or privilege. In a release announcing his candidacy, Gebremichael said he had not yet made a choice on which seat he would seek.

Seats 1 and 3 are open. Council President Lauren McLean, who announced her bid for mayor on Monday, is in Seat 1, while Councilmember Scot Ludwig, who said he would not run again, is in Seat 3. Council President Pro Tem Elaine Clegg is in Seat 5. She has not announced whether she will run again.

Decisions on specific seats do not need to be made until the filing deadline of Sept. 6.

Others running for council includes Brady Fuller, Jimmy Hallyburton and Debbie Lombard-Bloom. Fuller announced he would run for Seat 1, while Hallyburton and Lombard-Bloom have said their intention is to run for Seat 3.

The election is Nov. 5.

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Hayley covers local government for the Idaho Statesman with a primary focus on Boise. Previously, she worked for the Salisbury Daily Times, the Hartford Courant, the Denver Post and McClatchy’s D.C. bureau. Hayley graduated from Ohio University with degrees in journalism and political science.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.