Boise’s city council meeting veered from its usual form Tuesday night, for an evening of speeches, oaths of office and even a few surprising political moments.
The Maryanne Jordan City Council Chambers saw a packed house. Four Boise mayors attended, including outgoing Mayor Dave Bieter, incoming mayor Lauren McLean, and former mayors Carolyn Terteling-Payne and Brent Coles. Elected officials including ACHD President Rebecca Arnold and Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiando, as well as meeting room namesake and state senator Jordan.
Here are some of the voices from Tuesday’s transition of power in Boise.
Dave Bieter, Boise mayor: “Fire codes be damned. We’re going to have a great night tonight. Welcome everyone. Thanks for coming.”
The council attended to some business before the night’s festivities began.
The Boise Police Department’s bagpiper unit performed. Girl Scouts read the pledge of allegiance. A member of the Boise Valley People gave remarks. The Star-Spangled Banner was sung.
Then, council member Scot Ludwig gave his closing remarks as a member of council.
Bieter: “I want to acknowledge and express our deep gratitude … I’ve served with a lot of different council members. I don’t know that anyone brought as much fun — as much love for life than Scot Ludwig.”
Ludwig: “In this city, it’s such an amazing city and the talent level is so high and the citizens care so much – there is no way the city won’t continue to be an amazing place to live. I’m looking forward to being a constituent, and I think Jimmy (Hallyburton) and Patrick (Bageant) bring an amazing (energy) to this job too. The members here on this dais are bright and they have nothing but selfless effort in mind, including my colleague Lauren who has been an amazing colleague of mine for five years. I want to thank Mayor Bieter for the last sixteen years of service. I’m excited for him to be in a different industry or private sector. His daughter Josie hasn’t known him as anything but a mayor. I want to really tell Lauren McLean that I’m excited for her new visions and she is bright and intelligent and I’m excited to see what she sees in this community going forward and I fully support her.”
Bieter: ‘God Bless the City of Boise.”
Then, Bieter gave his closing remarks as mayor.
Bieter: “I just want to say, when you are fortunate enough to be able to serve in a job that you love as much as I’ve loved this job – you don’t accept thanks for that, you give thanks for that. That’s really what I want to do.
He thanked his family, city employees, department heads and those he’s served with in elected office.
Bieter: “Thank you most of all to the citizens of Boise, for allowing me the privilege of being the mayor of my hometown, at all – but for sixteen years – that’s more blessings than I could imagine. I wish nothing but the best to the new mayor and city council members. God bless you. And God Bless the City of Boise.”
To a sustained standing ovation, Bieter and Ludwig exchanged hugs with other members of the council. They then exited down a back entrance.
Then, McLean was sworn in and gave the oath of office. She started by thanking Bieter. She then thanked her husband Scott, and her kids – one who is away at college and watched on Facetime, and another who was there in person.
Here are a condensed version of her remarks:
McLean: “We were lucky enough to find this place at a young age – and take a chance and land here. The city and this community became our family. We’re a growing city with new challenges. It’s so important that we acknowledge they are real. It’s important that we name them. We are going to continue to grow.
This is a critical moment in our city’s history. We’ll continue to grow. We’ll continue to find challenges in that growth, to bemoan the changes, as we seek to protect the essence of this place that we all love. You’ve recognized, as I have, that we are at a crossroads. But make no mistake. We can succeed in preserving what we love, while continuing to grow and welcoming new people to our community. But no one woman can do this alone. This work and these solutions need each of you, our City Council, community leaders and residents block by block joining us to move forward.
It requires us all to roll up our sleeves, challenge ourselves, think creatively, take risks, admit mistakes, to welcome all comers and ideas.
And we’ll do that by opening the doors of city hall, creating ways to connect directly to share a vision for the future while having frank conversations about our present challenges. Where we’ll have lively community discussions and not always agree – and through that our solutions will be better, our community more connected, and the people involved more reflective of the diversity that surrounds us.
We can be that shining city, that model city. I look forward to looking to the next four years and waking up every day thinking about that. As we continue to grow, making sure Boise is that place that we continue to know and love.”
Clegg’s next term
Next, council member Elaine Clegg was sworn in for her fifth term in office.
Aferwards, she shared remarks.
Clegg: “Taking the oath of office… is one of the most humble, most solemn, most moving things you can do in your life. It’s a big responsibility. Living up to it isn’t easy. For the next four years, I promise to all of you that I won’t take it at anything but that.”
Clegg chose Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiando, a former City of Boise staffer, to administer her oath.
Clegg: “I did that because we are not just as a community of Boise, but a region. How we can face this moment of growth that can avoid some of the mistakes that places across the country made that grew before we did. Yes, it’s a beautiful place. Gosh, the river, the foothills, the urban spaces, the more rural spaces – they are near and dear to all of us. What makes Boise special is the people. The people up here, the people out there. It’s the (children) that are growing… this special place takes special people.
Bageant joins the council
Patrick Bageant shared a story of coming to Boise from McCall 17 years ago.
Bageant: “I remember thinking then what a wonderful, beautiful, welcoming community it seemed to me at the time. I’m thankful to the City of Boise. For being the kind of place that be people want to dig in and be engaged in. The kind of place people want to live in. I am grateful to be part of it and I’m thankful to Boise for being Boise.”
Hallyburton starts with stories
Jimmy Hallyburton took the oath of office from new Mayor McLean. Hallyburton talked about his 97-year-old grandfather, who was in the room.
Hallyburton: “My grandpa was one of the first people I told I was running. I went up to his ranch in Idaho City, and he said ‘you are going to need something nice to wear to city council meetings,’ and he went back and got me this bolo tie. We have a lot of obstacles ahead in our city. I call them opportunities. I can tell you right now, we are not always going to agree. What I’m asking you to is to find the things we can agree on, to build on those things – and make those the things we rally behind.”
Hallyburton recounted coming to talk to Bieter about launching the Boise Bicycle Project. He briefly did a Bieter impression and noted how encouraging he was.
Hallyburton: “I want to acknowledge that door he opened to me, and the door that he opened to so many in the community. Thank you to all of the freaks, the outcasts, the weirdos – you are my people. Thank you.”
The council moved on to leadership elections, producing some controversy – see our separate story here.