2019 Boise Mayoral Candidates: Each candidate’s take on the growing housing market

The race for Boise’s next mayor is crowded with candidates who have big plans for managing Boise’s booming population growth. From incentivizing density to stopping newcomers altogether, each candidate has a different vision for the city’s hot housing market—but you only have one vote. With the 2019 elections coming up on November 5th, 208.properties reached out to all the mayoral candidates to bring you their perspectives on managing sustainable growth in Boise and Ada County. 

As renters, property managers, and real estate investors, you want to choose the candidate you feel will act in your and Boise’s best interests. The race for mayor includes a total of seven candidates, each with their own views on one of the Treasure Valley’s most controversial topics: growth and how it impacts housing. 


Here are the candidates and their plans for Boise’s housing market:

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Rebecca Arnold

Rebecca Arnold joined the race in September and brings with her plenty of government experience. As acting commissioner of the Ada County Highway District, Arnold works to ensure the smooth functioning of the county’s highways. She was first elected as commissioner in 2004 and has since won re-election three times. Rebecca Arnold joined the race in September and brings with her plenty of government experience. As acting commissioner of the Ada County Highway District, Arnold works to ensure the smooth functioning of the county’s highways. She was first elected as commissioner in 2004 and has since won re-election three times.

In an interview with Idaho Press, Arnold expressed that her main concern for Boise’s housing market is the high property taxes that are pricing some citizens out of their homes. Through lower property taxes and a desire to increase wages across Boise, Arnold hopes to make housing more affordable if she is elected mayor.

In an interview with Idaho Press, Arnold expressed that her main concern for Boise’s housing market is the high property taxes that are pricing some citizens out of their homes. Through lower property taxes and a desire to increase wages across Boise, Arnold hopes to make housing more affordable if she is elected mayor. 

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Dave Bieter

Dave Bieter has been mayor of Boise since 2004, making his 15-year tenure the longest served by any of the city’s mayors. In that time, Bieter has made Boise’s livability a goal through his commitment to projects like New Path Community Housing, a levy fund to protect Boise’s open space, and much more.

If he wins re-election, Bieter would continue his dedication to sustainable growth. For him, this means density over outward growth, with a focus on convenient pedestrian transportation.

“Growth is a natural result of a successful city,” said Bieter, “but with new growth comes the responsibility to grow smartly. Compact, mixed use developments that prioritize walkability and bike-ability while increasing density and decreasing sprawl must be the model we use for all new developments across Boise.”

To achieves these goals, Bieter plans to continue implementing the Grow Our Housing initiative by:

  • Establishing a land trust that would create permanent home ownership and rental opportunities

  • Aligning public and private resources to maximize the affordability and investment opportunities of Boise housing

  • Expanding incentives for developers to build affordable housing

  • Maximizing land use allowances of Boise’s zoning code.

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Brent Coles

Brent Coles served as Boise’s mayor from 1993 to 2003, winning re-election twice before resigning in light of misuse of public funds charges. In the private sector, Coles worked as a real estate developer and a real estate agent, but he’s hoping to return to public life as mayor with a second chance to prove he’s right for Boise.

If elected mayor, Coles plans to come together with the community to first invest in public services essential to growth, like police and fire stations, while working to create more affordable housing options in the city. Boise’s housing market is an integral part of Coles’ experience in both his public and private life, and for him, managing growth is about collaboration.

“You see my approach is to engage the city in a major movement to meet as neighborhoods, property owners, and renters,” said Coles, “using the resources at Boise State University to facilitate and study best land use practices, transportation practices, and economic impacts for renters, landlords and investors.

Coles cited his past success in creating affordable housing. He hopes to continue that work while collaborating with the city’s neighborhoods to bring about effective growth.

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Adriel J. Martinez

Adriel J. Martinez has spent his post-military life serving the community and engaging in the public sphere. Working and volunteering for both local and national campaigns, Martinez has gained insight and experience that he hopes to bring with him to Boise’s mayoral office.

As mayor, Martinez’s main goals would be to promote density while managing affordability of housing. He plans to regulate both short- and long-term rentals so that renters are not at a disadvantage and owners are still making a profit. Martinez hopes to achieve this through tighter regulations.

Under his guidance, Martinez said, “Rental application fees and security deposits would be heavily regulated along with rent caps determined by the city and county.”

Through regulation and ordinances, Martinez would incentivize developers to build denser, mixed-use properties with the goal of “more realistic costs for the consumer.”

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Lauren McLean

Lauren McLean is an active member of the Boise City Council, where she has served since 2011. In the private sector, she has served as a board member for a variety of organizations including Capital City Development Corporation.

McLean wants to use the office of mayor to increase the affordability of housing in Boise while protecting existing affordable units and incentivizing efficiency. Her website lists 6 major points in her plan for housing:

  • Investing in a Community Housing Land Trust to bank land for affordable units

  • Providing tax relief on home ownership

  • Incentivizing the building of accessory dwelling units

  • Protecting existing affordable housing, such as mobile homes and small multi-family units

  • Creating common-sense licensing practices for short-term vacation rentals

  • Easing access to energy efficiency upgrades like solar energy for homes

“Our city is at a crossroads,” said McLean, “and if we want to remain a community where you can buy a home, build a life, and seek opportunity, we will need to address our new challenges with new energy, urgency and ideas.”Lauren McLean is an active member of the Boise City Council, where she has served since 2011. In the private sector, she has served as a board member for a variety of organizations including Capital City Development Corporation.

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Cortney Nielsen

Cortney Nielsen currently works in sales and merchandizing and wants to bring her people-focused personality to Boise’s highest office. Her focus as mayor would be on the services like transportation that works in conjunction with growth and raising wages to compete with rising costs.

“I would ensure that growth was in appropriate areas of Boise and that city services were adequate to support that growth,” she said. “It's all about balance.”

Nielsen’s first approach to supporting growth would be the creation of a passenger train system that would quickly and efficiently transport commuters and cut down on traffic congestion.

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Wayne Richey

Wayne Richey is an auto body technician who has been making waves with his single-issue campaign. Richey’s primary interest in running for mayor is stop Boise’s growth as much as possible in order to avoid the problems that come with growth. He looks at the newcomers buying up homes while some long-time residents are having to sell due to higher property taxes and sees a broken system, one he would start fixing with a restructured property tax.

Under Richey’s plan, property taxes would rise for new home buyers only. Richey wants to make Boise less attractive and keep the city off any Top 10 lists by doing “anything and everything to slow down the invasion of newcomers.”

Election Information

On November 5th, you will be able to vote for one of these seven mayoral candidates, as well as city council candidates competing for three open seats. Find your polling place or register to vote by clicking the links on the city’s website here.

The candidates have outlined some big plans, but it remains to be seen how exactly they might coordinate with Boise City Council and with voters to make their visions a reality. Do you think any particular candidate has the right ideas? Voting is your way to influence the path your city takes in managing growth and the housing market, so be sure to get out and vote on November 5th.

208 Community

Housing and the challenges of growth are huge issues in this year’s elections. Which candidate do you think has the best vision for managing Boise’s growth? How else do you think the mayor and city council can keep the housing market working for everyone? Find 208.properties on social media and share your thoughts, comments, and experiences.