After graduating from Idaho universities, many of my friends and peers, born and raised in the Treasure Valley, moved away to more urban cities — places like Seattle, Denver, Portland, and Salt Lake City. These cities offer jobs with good starting wages and a more urban lifestyle, something today’s young workforce values. In today’s economy, people want to work, dine, recreate, and sleep in one setting. We want to offer this opportunity to young Idahoans so that they will earn college degrees and then return to our valley to continue building our economy and shaping our culture. In addition to young people, the same urban living trends can be seen with retired folks and the kind of car-free, yard-free life they want to live.
The key to creating a more sustainable, fuller future is by enabling a more urban lifestyle through building affordable housing in the areas where people eat, work and play, adopting innovative transportation plans to limit the burden of traffic and enable mobility, providing more open public spaces for people to foster relationships with one another, and ensuring that our city is investing in its future by providing an opportunity for every child to receive a quality education.
As our city becomes more attractive to those near and far, we need to ensure that access to affordable housing is attainable for everyone. The city is currently working to provide housing opportunities for those living in poverty, while long-time residents are seeing the values of their home skyrocket. This leaves many middle, working class residents in the gap, with housing that is not affordable or sustainable. We need to work with local organizations and developers to encourage more urban, affordable housing options.
In order to prepare Boise for the expected growth, we must consider the ways in which people move from home to work and all the places in between. I envision a future where more people live in the downtown area as we address the housing crisis by building up, meaning we must plan for more public transport riders. For now, we have to acknowledge the fact that cars are the main form of transportation for most folks in the valley. A valley that is well on it’s way to a million people should have more than one thoroughfare to connect us all. I want to ensure that the city is working with other levels of the government to build and design our roads for the growth that we can expect to see in the coming years.
Boise is a great place not only because of the people who call it home, but also because of the backyard that we share and enjoy. I want to ensure that our shared memories of floating the river, biking in the foothills and on the greenbelt, and enjoying the many public parks are the same memories that the next generation of Idahoans will one day have. We should do everything in our power to protect our waters, our open spaces and the wildlife habitats within our community. Let’s make decisions that positively impact our future environment.
Working families should never have to choose between putting food on the table and having a safe, affordable, high-quality early learning environment for their children. The numbers prove that investments in early learning programs for all of Boise’s children will ultimately save taxpayers money and have far-reaching social impacts. By integrating the city government, school district, parents and students, and other community-based programs, we can work together to build early-learning collaboratives that address the challenges specific to our community. I want to ensure that our city is investing in its future and providing an opportunity for every child to receive a quality education.