Elaine Clegg isn’t a shouter.
Sure, you’ll see her at the various events announcing some new initiative for the city or a park opening. And she’ll make her voice heard in a City Council meeting, especially if it has to do with a land-use dispute.
But she doesn’t normally do the rah-rah thing. For the most part, she’s a mechanic who focuses more on policy than politics.
That’s what made Friday so unusual. Clegg and a few supporters, including some members of her family, Mayor David Bieter and councilwomen Maryanne Jordan and Lauren McLean, gathered at the Boise Depot at 4 p.m. to officially launch her campaign for a fourth term on the council.
It was a high-profile location for the event. She even had a public address system.
Clegg has a challenger who might be serious. Andy Hawes’ biography on the city’s elections web page says he’s an attorney for Western Pacific Timber in Boise. He says he’s “a member of a Pioneer family with deep roots both in Boise and in Idaho.”
Politically, though, Hawes is an unknown. Incumbents in local, non-partisan elections like this one typically are pretty safe as long as they don’t screw up in some deep and attention-grabbing way. On the other hand, a lot of incumbents started out as challengers in positions similar to the one Hawes is in.
Clegg used Friday’s event to outline her priorities for her next term: improving transportation, especially transit options; helping entrepreneurs get new businesses started; and working out more efficient ways to move freight into, out of and within the city.
In another month or so, we’ll have a better idea of how serious Hawes is — and how serious a threat Clegg thinks he is. For now, all we have to go on is Clegg’s announcement.