Rebecca Arnold, president of the Ada County Highway District, has joined the race to be Boise’s mayor.
Arnold is the seventh candidate in a crowded mayoral race, and the second to announce on Friday, the deadline to file for office. Former mayor Brent Coles held a news conference at the Boise Depot announcing his attempted return to politics. Other candidates include incumbent Mayor David Bieter and City Council President Lauren McLean.
Arnold told the Idaho Statesman by email that she is running with “a great deal of encouragement from other people.” She’s concerned about what Bieter’s administration has and has not done, saying that wasteful spending is “out of control” and that property taxes are “ridiculously high.”
She said electing McLean would be “just a continuation of the the same attitude, policies and agenda that she learned from Bieter.”
“Being Mayor of Boise was not on my bucket list,” she wrote. “ I had hoped that a strong ‘non-Bieter” candidate would emerge, but that hasn’t happened. I can’t just sit by and let this continue.”
The District 2 commissioner as well as ACHD president, Arnold was first elected to the commission in 2004. She was re-elected in 2008, 2012 and 2016, making her the highway district’s longest-serving commissioner. She is an attorney and an accountant, and she lives on the Boise Bench.
If elected, Arnold would be Boise’s first elected female mayor. Carolyn Terteling-Payne was appointed mayor in 2003 after Coles resigned the day the state attorney general filed two corruption charges against him, but she did not run for election that year. Bieter did, won, took office in 2004 and has won re-election three times since.
Arnold’s past political experience also includes time as president of the Idaho Association of Highway Districts. She ran briefly for lieutenant governor last year as a Republican before dropping out of the race. Arnold also ran unsuccessfully to be a Fourth District judge in 2014.
The election is Nov. 5. If no mayoral candidate gets at least 50% of the vote, there would be a run-off vote in December.