Bob Parsley sings to Boise City Council
The city election isn’t until Nov. 5, but several Boiseans have already announced their bids for elected office.
There are six candidates for city council and five candidates for mayor. Those numbers may change as the Sept. 6 filing deadline approaches. We will add information to this story as we receive it between now and then, so follow along with those hoping to represent the city of Boise below, and check this story often for the latest updates.
Candidates are listed by office and then alphabetically by last name.
The mayor serves a four-year term. Mayor David Bieter is in his fourth term and has been in the role since 2004.
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.
Boise is unique in that if no candidate for mayor receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the city holds 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.
Current office: Mayor (elected in 2003, re-elected in 2007, 2011 and 2015)
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, Bieter said. He thinks it’s crucial the city maintains its status as one of the most livable in the country. He said he knows growth matters to people, and he recognizes that with the successes of growth in a city come challenges. Bieter said he 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,” Bieter said. He listed affordable housing, jobs that pay well and environmental issues as some topics at the top of the list.
Current office: Does not hold elected office, but has worked on multiple campaigns and has run for City Council in the past
Why he’s running: Martinez said he believes change must come from below, and he wants to make a change in Boise. Boiseans haven’t had their voices heard in “probably 20 years,” he said.
Most important issues to the city: Housing is a “legit crisis,” as is the city’s infrastructure and the economy. He thinks the city hasn’t worked well with Ada County or with the state. He wants to try to entice better companies to come to Boise and ease the city code.
Most important issues in the campaign: The library and stadium are key in this election, he said.
Current office: City Council President (appointed to the council in 2011, won re-election in 2015, chosen as president in 2017)
Why she’s running: She said that in her conversations with Boiseans across the city, she’s noticed that the progress the city has made 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, but she also wants 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, problems with transportation and so on.
Current office: On the board of the Central Rim Neighborhood Association
Why she’s running: For a while, she said she didn’t understand why she was running, but she said she was born and raised in Boise and thinks the city has “unlimited potential.” Nielsen is passionate about many things, something she thinks may be inspired by her great-great-great-great grandfather, Alexander Orchard, who was the mayor of Idaho City.
Most important issues to the city: Hands down, Nielsen considers transportation to be the most important issue facing the city. She said she sees the train tracks and the “five-mile backups on the highway” and wonders to herself 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: Nielsen says she’s never done anything such as run for mayor before, so she’s still learning the most important issues of the campaign. However, she said she considers the talk about the library and stadium to be “a distraction because there’s a lot of other great, wonderful things to talk about.”
Terms on the Boise City Council last for 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 must declare which seat they are running for by the Sept. 6 filing deadline.
PATRICK BAGEANT (Running for Seat 1)
Current office: No government office.
Why he’s running: Bageant feels that Boise is at what will later be considered a pivotal time. The population is growing and the economy is changing, and as a result, he says 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,” Bageant said. Those things affect immediate quality of life and long-term quality of life. He also said that he thinks conservation and long-term care of Boise is crucial.
Most important issues in the campaign: Transportation, housing and sustainability are the most important, but he also said people feel the need now more than perhaps ever to be politically engaged. To him, that means more conversations about the library and sports park as well as other issues that will have an impact on Boise for years down the road.
ELAINE CLEGG (running for re-election in Seat 5)
Current office: Council President Pro Tem
Why she’s running: Clegg pointed to how the city is at “a really pivotal time” in its growth, something she says 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: “The most important issue facing the region is getting transportation right,” Clegg told the Statesman. If Boise and the surrounding area can’t do that, she said Boise will become “like any other Western city,” meaning 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 and to avoid problems facing other cities.
Most important issues in the campaign: In addition to transit, Clegg said she wants to help the city figure out how to provide “dignified” housing that people can afford. She made clear that housing and transit cannot be solved overnight, however. She also thinks it’s crucial to focus on diversifying the economy, including rebuilding the city’s industrial sector, in order to promote the long-term viability of Boise.
KAREN DANLEY (running for Seat 1)
Current office: On the board of the North West Neighborhood Association, vice chair of the Ada County Open Space and Trails Advisory Board, committee chair of Ada County Oregon Trail Reserve Committee; served on the Ada County Solid Waste Advisory Board 2012-2018 and on the Ridge to Rivers 10-Year Master Plan Committee 2015-2016
Why she’s running: Danley, who lives in the North West neighborhood, wants city council to have representation from around the city. Many members of the council live either in the North End or East End of the city. She said she think it will take people throughout the city to find the best solution for all Boise citizens. Quoting Melinda Gates, she said “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: There’s a long list of things that need to be addressed, Danley said, including fiscal transparency, equal levels of service at the library and fire protection levels, traffic, infrastructure and affordable housing. She wants to see fire service needs addressed in annexed portions of the city and if elected, she wants to create more opportunities for people to rent and own homes close to where they work. She said she would consider a land trust as a potential solution to the housing problem in the city.
Most important issues to the campaign: What’s most important to the city and the campaign overlaps, she said. She said it was also important that the council expands its geographic representation because the city needs “everyone included so we can come up with solutions.”
BRADY FULLER (running for Seat 1)
Current office: Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism
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: He wants the city to focus on handling its growth well. “We need to think forward so the government can continue to flourish,” Fuller said. He wants to focus on planning and preparing the city for decades to come “so that our community can continue to flourish. He also mentioned quality, affordable childcare as something he’d like to promote.
Current office: Does not hold elected office; will graduate from Boise State University in a few semesters
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 is at the top of Gebremichael’s list of things that need the city’s attention. He also wants the community to remain welcome to refugees such as himself.
Most important issues in the campaign: He said he thinks the different experiences of the people around the city are important. Gebremichael wants to focus on meeting the needs of the larger community.
JIMMY HALLYBURTON (running for Seat 3)
Current office: Does not hold elected office.
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 take the opportunity to find what Boiseans love about the city and make sure those elements stay that way. He said he’s had a “tremendous opportunity” in his role as executive director and found of the Boise Bicycle Project to work with lots of people and know the value the community brings to the table “in a grassroots way.”
Most important issues to the city: Hallyburton said the most important issue is figuring out a better way to engage with residents and bring their “value and knowledge to the table.” He said the city has major obstacles in the forms of affordable housing and transit, the latter of which he considers his wheelhouse. The issues facing Boise are intersectional, he says, and you can’t address one without addressing others.
Most important issues in the campaign: Creating a new system of bringing all voices to the table. Hallyburton said 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.” His goal is to demonstrate through his campaign that “we can create a system that we can carry forward.”
Current office: Does not hold elected office
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.
Most important issues to the city: Lombard-Bloom wants to reign in the budget and make sure the police and fire departments are well-funded. She wants to help maintain Boise’s identity as a city, because to her, people move to the city for the same reasons long-time Boiseans also love living in it.
Most important issues in the campaign: She wants elected officials to 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, in her opinion.
CHRIS MOENESS (Running for Seat 1)
Current office: No elected office
Why he’s running: When he moved to Boise in 2008, he saw the intense pride Boiseans have in the city. People talked about it as “their most prized possession,” Moeness said, and he had never lived in a place with that sense of ownership. Since then, he said he’s noticed that pride is shadowed by “a very real fear we’re losing the identity of Boise.” He said he wants to work together to help solve the problems the city is facing by collaborating and protecting the “Boise way of life.”
Most important issues to the city: Moeness said the biggest issue for the city is collaborating with other cities across the Treasure Valley to address problems and find “actionable solutions.” The most critical priorities, he said, are housing, public safety, growth and transportation. Boise needs to take the lead, Moeness said, including prioritizing 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, Moeness said. He also believes voters are also worried about affordable housing, including the rising cost of taxes. “Housing is one of our most pressing yet complex issues,” he said.
TROY RAY MINTON (running for Seat 1)
Current office: Does not hold elected office; ran for governor in 2018
Why he’s running: After his experience running for governor, he decided he still wants to run for office for a smaller area.
Most important issues to the city: Minton said the most important issue is affordable housing. As a formerly homeless person, he wants to work with the city to make sure other people don’t have to experience that.
Most important issues in the campaign: He wants to focus on housing “rather than the stadium.” He thinks the stadium focus is a bad use of money and would prefer for it to go toward housing issues the city faces.
RYAN PECK (running for Seat 1)
Current office: Does not hold elected office
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. He wants to look at growth and change in the city as it will affect some of the younger residents. To him, that means promoting arts and cultural activities for younger people with the intention that a culturally rich city can economically benefit from it in the future. The city cannot lose sight of its arts and cultural scene, he said.
Most important issues to the city: Growth, affordable housing and transportation are some of the biggest problems to tackle, he said. It’s also important to him to recognize that the city is experiencing growing pains, but it should still be able to work together. “You find solutions that work for everyone” by hearing people out even if you disagree, he said. Issues such as affordable housing and transportation fall into his focus on “growing future generations of resilient citizens that have a creative and entrepreneurial spirit,” he said.
Most important issues in the campaign: Concerns over the library represent bigger concerns in the city. Debates over a new library, for instance, represent a concern of what the city will become, he said. He wants to help make sure “divisions don’t become too fractured.” He wants to be inclusive of all voices, including teens and young adults.
Current office: Does not hold a city office; outgoing president of East End Neighborhood Association
Why she’s running: Scigliano said she’s been thinking about running for several months, and after encouragement from various leaders, she decided to join the race. She said that in her involvement with her neighborhood association, she has seen things she feels could have a better process. “I want to get citizens more involved and have more bottom-up conversations,” she told the Statesman in a phone interview.
Most important issues to the city: She listed affordable housing and transportation as big ones, but she said the greatest issue overall is managing “the umbrella issue” of growth. Scigliano said growth affects people in their day-to-day lives and that people should have the chance to give their input.
Most important issues in the campaign: Growth, transportation, affordable housing top the list, followed by the library and stadium issues. She also included “citizen engagement,” on the list. Scigliano said that city forums have had a large number of people in attendance, showing people want to be involved in their city government.
MEREDITH STEAD (running for Seat 3)
Current office: Planning and Zoning Commissioner
Why she’s running: In her time on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, she found she appreciates the time residents take to advocate for their neighborhoods, and she wants to help Boiseans navigate city processes. Stead sees Boise 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 how city needs to keep up with infrastructure demands while also protecting natural resources. Although the issues are more complicated, she also wants to help the city navigate the housing crisis and transportation. Stead sees her experience as key because it helps her understand the expectations of Boise residents.
Most important issues in the campaign: Stead recognizes that the City Council race is crowded, but she’s looking forward to sitting down with the candidates. She said a lot of the same issues facing the city are the most important in the campaign, including housing and transit. She also cited the library, saying she is in favor of the library but that plans should be brought down to match a budget. She also said matching infrastructure to development needs is crucial, because the planning and zoning commissioners have found they have had to deny projects because of infrastructure concerns.
Kilburn, 24, dropped out of the race for mayor on July 8. He will instead support Lauren McLean.