Boise & Garden City

Here’s who is running for Boise mayor and City Council

Boise Mayor David Bieter faces six challengers in the Nov. 5 city election, including the City Council president he appointed to the council, a predecessor who resigned 16 years ago in a scandal over misuse of public funds, and the president of the Ada County Highway District commission.

There are 11 candidates for three City Council seats.

Candidates are listed by office and then alphabetically by last name.

Mayor

The mayor serves a four-year term. Bieter, who took office in 2004, is in his fourth term.

The mayor makes $140,873 per year, rising to $145,099 in 2020 and $149,452 in 2021. The mayor also receives $150 monthly for “incidental expenses,” including in-town travel and meetings.

If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the city will hold a runoff election between the two who get the most votes. That’s never happened in the mayor’s race, but it did in 2003 for a City Council seat. In 2006, the council got rid of the runoff rule for council races but not for the mayoral race.

REBECCA ARNOLD

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ACHD president Rebecca Arnold announced she will run for Boise mayor. Idaho Statesman file


Arnold filed her paperwork to run on Friday, Sept. 6.

Current office: Ada County Highway District Commission president

Occupation: Attorney for W.H. Moore Co.

Why she’s running: Arnold is concerned about what the Bieter administration has been doing. She wants to cut down on wasteful spending and “shift the focus back on basics, like public safety.”

Most important issues to the city: Keeping “government spending under control while still serving and protecting our citizens,” planning for growth by coordinating with other cities and ACHD, and “formulating and implementing a strategy for public transportation that works.”

Most important issues in the campaign: Controlling government spending, “repairing the relationship between Boise City and the legislature,” emphasizing transparency, planning for growth, repairing the relationship with ACHD and “affordability issues” both for housing and in hourly wages paid by the city.

DAVID BIETER

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Incumbent Mayor Dave Bieter is up for election on the Nov. 5. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

Age: 59

Current office: Mayor (elected in 2003, re-elected in 2007, 2011 and 2015)

Occupation: Mayor

Why he’s running: Bieter told the Statesman that he loves the city and he loves being mayor. He said the city has built one of the best police departments, fire departments, parks systems and airports. The city has had “great successes,” and he wants “a chance to build on that and make it even better.”

Most important issues to the city: Boise has to keep its eye on the ball. It’s crucial the city maintain its status as one of the most livable in the country. Growth matters to people, and with the successes come challenges. Bieter values safety, prosperity and “what’s sacred” to people, be it religion or the Foothills and the river.

Most important issues in the campaign: “They’re the same as they’ve always been.” Among them: affordable housing, jobs that pay well and environmental protection.

BRENT COLES

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Former Boise mayor Brent Coles announces he’s running for Boise mayor again during a press conference Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, at the Boise Depot. With him is his wife, Julie. Hayley Harding hharding@idahostatesman.com


Age: 67

Current office: No elected office. Coles was mayor from 1993 to 2003, when he resigned after misusing public money.

Occupation: Realtor

Why he’s running: He says he has three big reasons: reining in the city budget, the idea that the city would spend $100 million on a new main library without a vote, and the need to correct the shortage of police officers and fire stations.

Most important issues to the city: Planned growth and “hyperdensity.” Coles believes Boise neighborhoods have their own character, and he wants to respect that. He wants to promote public safety and budgeting for it. He wants to make the bus system free for Boiseans to ease traffic congestion.

Most important issues in the campaign: Slowing growth in the city’s budget. He wants taxes to stop increasing so fast, particularly for those on a fixed income.

ADRIEL MARTINEZ

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Provided by Martinez

Age: 28

Current office: None. He has worked on multiple campaigns and has run for City Council in the past

Occupation: Works for FedEx at the Boise Airport

Why he’s running: Martinez said he believes change must come from below. Boiseans haven’t had their voices heard in “probably 20 years.”

Most important issues to the city: Housing is a “legit crisis,” as is the city’s infrastructure and the economy. The city hasn’t worked well with Ada County or the state. He wants to entice better companies to come to Boise, and to ease the city code.

Most important issues in the campaign: The proposed new main library and sports stadium.

LAUREN MCLEAN

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McLean campaign

Age: 44

Current office: City Council president. Appointed to the council in 2011, won re-election in 2015, elected president in 2017.

Occupation: Owns a philanthropy consulting business, leads the nonprofit Idaho Investor Network

Why she’s running: McLean said that in her conversations with Boiseans, she’s noticed that progress is not felt by everyone, especially as growth continues to shape the city. She wants to focus on “what else we haven’t tried yet,” particularly as it relates to traffic and affordability.

Most important issues to the city: McLean values accessibility and transparency highly and wants to make sure Boiseans feel listened to. She wants to look at how to improve transit and housing programs, and to recognize the economic impact of things the city does.

Most important issues in the campaign: Addressing the city’s concerns for the future, including environmental issues, affordable housing and problems with transportation.

CORTNEY NIELSEN

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Cortney Nielsen, candidate for Boise mayor. She’s a Central Rim Neighborhood Association board member and works in marketing and sales, Provided by


Age: 40

Current office: Central Rim Neighborhood Association board member.

Occupation: Works in marketing and sales

Why she’s running: She said she was born and raised in Boise and thinks the city has “unlimited potential.”

Most important issues to the city: Transportation. She train tracks and the “five-mile backups on the highway” and wonders why people aren’t able to ride a train into the city and join a van pool to get to their jobs.

Most important issues in the campaign: Still learning, but she cosiders talk about the proposed new main library and stadium to be “a distraction because there’s a lot of other great, wonderful things to talk about.”

WAYNE RICHEY

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Age: 58

Current office: None

Occupation: Auto body technician

Why he’s running: He wants to stop growth. Traffic, infrastructure and schools will not be able to keep up with growth, he said, and locals cannot afford to stay in the city. “Why are we putting this money into the city if we’re just making it nice for newcomers to move here?” His aims to make Boise “one of the most undesirable cities in America,” get the city off Top 10 lists and discourage growth.

Most important issues to the city: Growth. Nothing else matters if people keep moving here at the current rate.

Most important issues in the campaign: Growth. He said he doesn’t care about global warming and clean water, and people being forced out of the city don’t care about them either.

City Council

Terms on the Boise City Council last four years. There are six seats on the council, with three on the ballot in each odd-numbered year.

This year seats 1, 3 and 5 are up. They’re held by Lauren McLean, Scot Ludwig and Elaine Clegg. McLean is giving up her seat to run for mayor, and Ludwig said he won’t run again to better focus on his law practice.

Members of the council are paid $25,660 a year. That will rise to $26,430 in 2020 and $27,223 in 2021. Like the mayor, council members receive $150 monthly for incidental expenses.

Boise has at-large elections, not district ones. That means the entire city selects the council via popular vote. Candidates run for specific council seats.

City Council, Seat 1

PATRICK BAGEANT

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Provided by Patrick Bageant's campaign

Age: 36

Current office: None.

Occupation: Attorney for Hollystone Law

Why he’s running: Bageant says Boise is at what will later be considered a pivotal time. The population is growing and the economy is changing, and as a result, not everyone’s needs are being met. He wants to focus on affordable housing, transportation and long-term sustainability.

Most important issues to the city: “People are most concerned about whether they’ll be able to afford a house and whether they’ll be able to get across town in an efficient, timely manner.” Conservation and the long-term care of Boise are crucial.

Most important issues in the campaign: Transportation, housing, sustainability and the need people feel to be politically engaged. That means more conversations about the new main library, sports park and other issues.

KAREN DANLEY

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Age: 51

Current office: North West Neighborhood Association board member. Vice chair of the Ada County Open Space and Trails Advisory Board. Current or former memberships on several other boards.

Occupation: Managing partner of family’s North Dakota-based development company, Silver Ranch LLP

Why she’s running: Danley wants the council to have representation from around the city. Many council members live either in the North or East ends. Quoting Melinda Gates: “I believe that when people who are bound by the rules have no role in shaping the rules, moral blind spots become law and the powerless bear the burden.”

Most important issues to the city: Fiscal transparency, equal levels of library and fire service, traffic, infrastructure and affordable housing. She would consider a land trust as a potential solution to the housing problem.

Most important issues to the campaign: Same as above. It’s also important that the council expand its geographic representation. The city needs “everyone included so we can come up with solutions.”

TECLE GEBREMICHAEL

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Tecle Gebremicheal announced on May 23 that he would be running for Boise City Council. Image provided by Tecle Gebremicheal's campaign

Age: 28

Current office: None.

Occupation: Petroleum supply specialist in the U.S. Army Reserve, soccer coach for Nations United

Why he’s running: Gebremichael came to Boise with little more than a few pairs of shoes, but he is now a homeowner, a soccer coach and soon, a graduate of Boise State University. He wants to bring a new perspective to the council as a new American and a West Boisean.

Most important issues to the city: Transit. He also wants the community to remain welcome to refugees such as himself.

Most important issues in the campaign: The different experiences of people around the city are important. Gebremichael wants to focus on meeting needs of the larger community.

CHRIS MOENESS

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Provided by Chris Moeness


Age: 33

Current office: None.

Occupation: Real estate agent with Sotheby’s International Realty

Why he’s running: When he moved to Boise in 2008, he said, he saw the intense pride Boiseans have in the city. People talked about it as “their most prized possession.” He had never lived in a place with that sense of ownership. Since then, he’s noticed that pride is shadowed by “a very real fear we’re losing the identity of Boise.”

Most important issues to the city: Collaborating with other Treasure Valley cities to address problems and find “actionable solutions.” The most critical prioritie are housing, public safety, growth and transportation. Boise needs to prioritize fire and police over the library and stadium.

Most important issues in the campaign: People care a lot about the library and stadium and want to be heard on it. Voters are worried about affordable housing, including rising taxes.

RYAN PECK

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Age: 45

Current office: None.

Occupation: Co-founder and managing director of Boise Rock School, adjunct professor of anatomy and physiology at Boise State University

Why he’s running: “If we’re going to talk about the future of Boise, we need to know what it will look like in 10 years for the 16-year-olds of today,” Peck said. That means promoting arts and cultural activities for younger people for long-term economic benefit.

Most important issues to the city: Growth, affordable housing and transportation. The city is experiencing growing pains, but its people should still be able to work together. “You find solutions that work for everyone” by hearing people out even if you disagree, he said.

Most important issues in the campaign: Concerns over the library represent bigger concerns about what the city will become. He wants to make sure “divisions don’t become too fractured.”

BRITTNEY SCIGLIANO

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Provided by Scigliano's campaign

Age: 37

Current office: Outgoing president of East End Neighborhood Association

Occupation: National business developer for True North Beauty, a company that sells skin-care products

Why she’s running: Scigliano said that in her involvement with her neighborhood association, she has seen the need for better processes. “I want to get citizens more involved and have more bottom-up conversations.”

Most important issues to the city: Affordable housing and transportation, though the greatest issue overall is managing “the umbrella issue” of growth’s effects on people. People should have the chance to give their input.

Most important issues in the campaign: Growth, transportation and affordable housing, followed by the library and stadium. She also lists “citizen engagement.”

City Council, Seat 3

JIMMY HALLYBURTON

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Age: 36

Current office: None

Occupation: Executive director and co-founder of the Boise Bicycle Project

Why he’s running: Boise is going through a lot of growth and change, which Hallyburton said can be both scary and exciting. He wants to find what Boiseans love about the city and make sure those elements stay. He has had a “tremendous opportunity” as executive director and founder of the Boise Bicycle Project to work with Boiseans.

Most important issues to the city: Figuring out a better way to engage with residents and bring their “value and knowledge to the table.” Major problems include affordable housing and transit. You can’t address one problem without addressing others.

Most important issues in the campaign: Creating a new system of bringing all voices to the table. His campaign team consists of a paid steering committee made up of people from underheard and underrepresented communities. His goal is to look at problems in “new, more holistic ways.” He seeks to demonstrate through his campaign that “we can create a system that we can carry forward.”

MEREDITH STEAD

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Age: 37

Current office: Planning and Zoning Commissioner

Occupation: Marketing and event manager at Boise Valley Economic Partnership

Why she’s running: She appreciates the time residents take to advocate for their neighborhoods, and she wants to help Boiseans navigate city processes. Stead sees the City Council as a way to make a “more substantial difference” in the lives of residents with the knowledge she’s gained as a commissioner, including by helping to match city code more closely to the city’s comprehensive plan.

Most important issues to the city: First and foremost, Stead lists the need to keep up with infrastructure demands while also protecting natural resources. She wants to help the city navigate the housing crisis and transportation.

Most important issues in the campaign: Housing and transit. She favors a new main library but says its plans should be scaled down to match a budget. She said matching infrastructure to development needs is crucial, because the planning and zoning commissioners have found they must deny projects because of infrastructure concerns.

City Council, Seat 5

ELAINE CLEGG

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Age: 64

Current office: Council President Pro Tem

Occupation: Program coordinator at Idaho Smart Growth, a nonprofit that focuses on smart growth and development for cities

Why she’s running: Clegg said the city is at “a really pivotal time” in its growth, something she has a lot of experience with. She believes she can use that experience to help the city through some of the tough, challenging issues facing it.

Most important issues to the city: “Getting transportation right.” If Boise and the surrounding area can’t do that, Boise will become “like any other Western city,” dependent on cars and worried about congestion. Clegg wants to find a way to introduce high-capacity, high-quality transit as well as first- and last-mile options to make commuting easier.

Most important issues in the campaign: In addition to transit, helping the city figure out how to provide “dignified” housing that people can afford. Housing and transit cannot be solved overnight. It’s crucial to focus on diversifying the economy, including rebuilding the city’s industrial sector, to promote Boise’s long-term viability.

BRADY FULLER

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Brady Fuller, 25, is running for Boise City Council. He announced in May that he would run for Lauren McLean’s seat after she opted to run for mayor. Provided by Brady Fuller

Age: 26

Current office: Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism

Occupation: Works for AdvisoryCloud, a tech company that helps startups grow

Why he’s running: He wants to serve as a fresh voice and perspective for the council.

Most important issues to the city: Fuller values long-term viability, and he wants to get involved “and ensure our city is sustainable for the next 10, 20, 30 years.”

Most important issues in the campaign: Handling its growth well. “We need to think forward so the government can continue to flourish.” He also wants to promote quality, affordable child care.

DEBBIE LOMBARD-BLOOM

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Jonathan Conti Provided by Lombard-Bloom

Age: 53

Current office: None

Occupation: Retired now; work experience spent primarily at the Idanha Hotel and Lowe’s.

Why she’s running: Boise is at a tipping point, according to Lombard-Bloom, and instead of complaining about it, she wants to do something. In her own words, successful leadership comes from the desire to serve the public and listen, combined with “the courage to make hard choices that improve our quality of life.”

Most important issues to the city: To rein in the budget and make sure the police and fire departments are well-funded. To help maintain Boise’s identity as a city, because people move to the city for the same reasons long-time Boiseans love living in it. She thinks it is crucial to be more diligent with budgeting, she said, including careful scrutiny of urban renewal areas.

Most important issues in the campaign: Elected officials must better listen to residents and not “just go on what you’ve already determined.” Boiseans should have a say in the kind of city they want Boise to be.

Former Candidates

MATT KILBURN

Kilburn, 24, dropped out of the race for mayor on July 8.

TROY RAY MINTON

Minton, 41, named a treasurer but did not file the paperwork the declare his candidacy.

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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.
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