B.A. International Studies, University of Washington
Prior political experience
Director of Community Partnerships for the City of Boise, United Way of Treasure Valley board member, Treasure Valley Education Partnership core team member, Neighbors United planning team, Energize Our Neighborhoods strategic leadership team, Regional Housing and Homelessness Roundtable leader, Boiseko Gazteak (Children’s Basque Dancing) teacher
Years living in Idaho
I was born and raised in Idaho. I moved away from 1998-2012 for university and work and returned to raise our children near family.
Husband, Roger, and two sons, Henry and Julian
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I was born and raised in Ada County and then earned a degree in International Studies from the University of Washington. I was most recently the Director of Community Partnerships for the City of Boise, where I worked every day on tough issues like housing affordability, opioid addiction, and services for our veterans, kids, and elderly neighbors. Alongside key stakeholders, I’ve been honored to lead initiatives such as New Path Housing, Boise Pre-K Project, and a new push for permanent housing for local veterans. I have proven myself professionally to be a hard worker who shows up, collaborates, and listens. I’ve spent the last nine months talking to Ada County residents about their concerns and issues, showing up in every city in the county for open houses and listening sessions. I have funded my campaign without any corporate or county contractor money, and am ready to truly represent the interests and needs of the everyday people of Ada County.
My top priorities as Ada County Commissioner will be 1) charting the course for smart, sustainable growth that preserves our quality of life and open spaces, 2) saving money in the long run by investing in real solutions for our toughest problems, and 3) working with local leaders and community members to address our valley’s opioid crisis.
Put simply: I don’t plan on being a seat filler. I believe in ethical, transparent, and effective government that truly guides the way for a better community. I have a track record of proactive, focused, and determined problem-solving, and I know how to bring regional leaders to the table to tackle our toughest challenges. I will continue that work if elected County Commissioner.
Ada County is currently one of the fastest growing geographic areas in the country. And, regardless of their political affiliation, residents have serious concerns about our current rate of growth. Without focused planning now, unbridled development will erode our quality of life and unduly burden taxpayers. Ada County should work with development services staff to make sure that new growth is paying for itself with relevant impact fees. I’d also review current exemptions for validity so that everyone is paying their fair share, and that working families and seniors are not unduly burdened with the cost of growth.
To keep our community connected, thriving, and livable, our commissioners should be leading on a valley-wide comprehensive plan for smart, sustainable growth. Ten years ago, a regional growth plan was partially developed and, sadly, never came to fruition. I’m ready to take up that cause, and I've made this a central promise of my campaign. By bringing together city leaders, agencies, ACHD, and the Ada County Commission, we can collaborate, innovate, and truly steer our growth in a responsible, sustainable direction.
There's enormous room for improvement. "Leapfrog" developments (such as Dry Creek) out in the county create additional traffic congestion and degrade our air quality. They also burden existing taxpayers by requiring infrastructure improvements and public services in areas not contiguous to existing cities. Because of these financial and quality of life concerns, I will not support these types of developments in unincorporated Ada County.
Moreover, Ada County should be leading the way in collaboration with cities and ACHD to create a regional comprehensive plan. Doing so will require hard work, compromise, and difficult conversations, but I believe we owe it to ourselves and future generations. Our needs are too urgent and our growth too swift to delay this critical work.
I’m sensitive to keeping property taxes reasonable, especially for our working families and seniors on fixed incomes, and home affordability is one of my top priorities. I’m also eager to eliminate wasteful spending in the county government, and believe we can't ask taxpayers to fund costly mistakes by their elected officials. I have a track record of finding and implementing cost-effective solutions that save taxpayer dollars and improve quality of life.
Building codes are in place to protect the health and safety of residents. Unfortunately, the Idaho Legislature’s recent actions restrict the ability of local officials to tailor building codes to their communities, or even to meet widely accepted standards. This takes power out of the hands of knowledgeable professionals and has the potential to adversely affect local insurance rates.
In addition, should Ada County experience a large flood, wildfire, or other natural disaster, failing to adhere to accepted international building codes will affect Ada County’s ability to recoup losses through FEMA.
Ada County has a highly professional and high-functioning public defense department; however, there are always areas for improvement. Ada County Commissioners should keep a mindful eye on county caseloads and place an emphasis on appropriate training for attorneys and staff. Given the increasing complexity of our community’s issues, it is important that public defenders and their investigators have access to training to fulfill their vital constitutional obligations.
If Proposition 1 fails, it is time to bring Garden City leaders and other interested parties to the table to jointly and creatively re-envision how the Les Bois complex is used in the future. Garden City residents and leaders deserve the opportunity to have a voice in the plans for the heart of their city.
As Director of Community Partnerships for the City of Boise, I spearheaded regional efforts to develop Housing First solutions, such as New Path Housing and the recently-announced veterans housing development. Not only will I support efforts to implement these solutions, but Ada County residents can count on me to lead the way.
Chronic homelessness is not only a challenge for those who are homeless, it's also a burden to taxpayers. Research shows that homelessness costs our community more than 5.3 million dollars per year. The Ada County budget shoulders the bulk of that burden through use of emergency services, the indigent fund, and the county jail. Housing First solutions are both morally responsible and fiscally responsible. And, if the County Commission doesn't lead on this issue and push for cost-effective change, it will lead to homelessness at levels seen in other West Coast metro areas.
1970-B.A., Criminology from Boise State University
1997-Northwestern University Traffic Institute
Prior political experience
2005-2006- Appointed Chairman of the Board for Idaho Department of Correction by Governor Kempthorne,
2006- Appointed Idaho's first "Drug Czar" by Governor Rische,
2006-2010-Boise City Council,
2013-Present- Ada County Commissioner,
2013 to present- Precinct Committeeman for precinct 1706.
BSU Advisory Board for the School of Public Service,
EMS Advisory Board,
Past member of the Region 4 Behavior Health Board,
Bogus Basin Ski Association-Board of Director for 9 years,
Past member of the Ada County Human Rights Task Force,
Crime Stoppers Board of Directors,
Idaho Criminal Justice Commission,
COMPASS Board of Directors,
VRT Board of Directors
Years living in Idaho
Son and daughter in law- Sam and Erin
Son and daughter in law-Maili and Ryan
Grandchildren- Henry and Harper
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I am currently serving as the Ada County Commissioner for District 1. My past professional life prepared me very well to be a commissioner. I served 34 years with the Boise Police Department, retiring as Chief in 2004. Additionally, I served as a Boise City Council Member 2006-20110, Chairman of the Idaho Board of Correction, Idaho's first "Drug Czar", and state coordinator for the Rural Law Enforcement Methamphetamine Initiative. I have been actively involved with solving many community problems in an effort to make Ada County a great place to live.
My desire is to continue working towards establishing the highest standards in:
Public Safety and Public Service with Honesty and Integrity,
Open and Transparent Government,
Public Participation...Treating Ada County Citizens As Partners, Not Outsiders,
Logical Decision Making Based on a Common Sense Approach to Problem Solving,
Leadership Focusing on Effective Communication, Collaborative Effort and a Cooperative Spirit.
This is a very challenging time for county government. Almost everything county government does is required by the Idaho Constitution and/or State Law. Ensuring the mandated programs/services are adequately funded is a very real challenge where there is a growing population in a very dynamic environment. Ada County government is being stressed to the limit in order to comply with the mandates. The county is growing rapidly; residential and commercial development is off the chart. The county needs to continue marking smart decisions that comply with the law and managed growth philosophy. Ada County needs to continue working with the development and community stakeholders in a collaborative manner to ensure the excellent quality of life is not compromised. Ada County has completed drafting a Master Facilities Plan. This plan will help the current and future decision makers address growth issues and how it relates to county infrastructure...facilities and personnel.
Yes, I do believe the county works effectively with local cities when planning for the future. The County completed their strategic plan, Ada County 2025, in 2016. This plan includes the results of an extensive outreach effort to all of our land use partners and stakeholders. The issue of growth concerns caused by planned community development in unincorporated Ada County is simply not true. The planned community occurred long before the growth concerns became an issue. The truth is approximately 1,000 people are moving into Ada County every month and most of them are moving to the cities of Boise and Meridian. In those cases where an applicant is requesting approval for a development project that is in unincorporated Ada County but within a city's Area of Impact, Ada County will generally follow the city's Comprehensive Plan. Ada County Development Services staff has a long history of working well with the planning and development staff from the cities.
At the present time, Ada County is not considering any sort of tax relief. As a reminder, almost every service and program provided by county government is mandated by the State of Idaho. Counties do not have the flexibility to cut or reduce funding of those mandated programs/services. Let me provide a description of the revenue source for Ada County: 49% from taxes, 25% from fees for service, 13% from intra-governmental, 1% from licenses/permits, and 9% from the fund balance. Now, let me describe the allocations of Ada County: 41% for public safety, 17% for judicial services, 21% for general government, 12% for sanitation, 4% for recreation. As you can see, almost every tax dollar is used, and used wisely, to fund the mandated programs/services. However, if the State of Idaho addressed the expansion of Medicade in a manner that relieved the county of the responsibility to fund the Indigent Program, that might be an opportunity to reduce or eliminate the levy for that program...a savings to the taxpayer. Additionally, we need to think about the impact of increased taxes on our senior citizens; especially those living on a lower fixed income.
The short answer is we need to wait and see. The bulk of construction occurs in incorporated Ada County and is regulated by city governments. Ada County has it's own building codes and they are based on the law and best practices. The fact of the matter is, it will impact builders/contractors more. The role of government is to ensure the laws, ordinances and policies are followed and to offer guidance and assistance to help contractors achieve their goals.
Ada County has an excellent Public Defender program. The Ada County public defender is working cooperatively with the Idaho Public Defense Commission. Ada County has applied for and received grant funding from the Commission for the past two years. This has allowed for some positive changes in the PD office and includes additional attorneys, support staff and remodeling of the PD offices. Additionally, the grant funding has allowed for even more training for the attorneys and staff. The Board of Ada County Commissioners have been told by the Commission Regional Director that Ada County public defense program is in excellent shape.
If horse racing were to leave the Expo Idaho facility, new opportunities for use could become available. The Board of County Commissioners, the Director of Expo Idaho and the Fair Board have had preliminary discussions about what would happen if horse racing went away. At the present time, there seems to be strong support to maintain the site for public use, possibly some limited commercial development and expansion or modification of the current fair grounds footprint. Whatever happens in the future, the decisions should reflect the best and most appropriate use for Ada County citizens.
Ada County already supports Housing First. The Ada County Board of Commissioners approved $250,000 to fund the necessary "Wrap-Around Services" for the residents of New Path Community Housing.. Additionally, the residents could also be eligible for programs and services included in the Ada County Indigent Services Program.