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ACHD incumbent Goldthorpe faces challenger Durrant for SW Ada seat

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Ada County Highway District Commissioner Kent Goldthorpe hopes to win a third — and he says, final, term on the ACHD Commission, while Kuna farmer Neil Durrant hopes to replace him.

Goldthorpe and Durrant are both on the ballot for ACHD Seat 4, which covers southern Meridian, Kuna, and the lion’s share of the county’s unincorporated areas south of Boise. Only voters who live in the district can vote for the seat.

BoiseDev generally interviews candidates on the phone or in person for election profiles. However, Goldthorpe was suffering from COVID-19, and we extended an invitation to answer questions by email. Durrant did not respond to a number of requests to be interviewed for this story. We have included comments from his voter guide page on the Idaho GOP site as well as answers he gave at a forum held by the Boise Bicycle Project earlier this month.

The ACHD race is non-partisan. Both Goldthorpe and Durrant are Republicans.

Neil Durrant

Neil Durrant has lived and worked in Kuna for his entire life, working on the Big “D” Ranch.

“I’m a fourth-generation Idaho, grown and raised in Kuna,” he said at the Boise Bicycle Project forum. “I see transportation as one of the most necessary things we need in our lives. I see it as transporting goods from one side of the state to the other.  The reason I’m running for ACHD is because I see gaps. I see where our roads aren’t where they need to be. Growth is coming, but our roads haven’t been able to keep up.”

Durrant said safety should be the top priority for the road agency. He also says he’d like to see it plan ahead.

“It does not make sense to go redo a road tomorrow and go do it again in five years,” he said. “We have to visualize what we want the future to look like and make those priories happen and make sure they are safe and sound transportation needs.”

Of ACHD’s five districts, Seat 4 is the most rural. Durrant said that means the approach to bike lanes might be different in his area.

“My district is very unique, we are south of the freeway,” he said. “You have some subdivisions and areas that bike lanes do make sense. But we have some areas that are really rural, and you have to look at where you need bike lanes and where they make sense. You have rural areas where you go a mile without seeing another house, and do you need to have bike lanes there?”

On the GOP voter guide, Durrant said his top issues are keeping a focus on maintaining roads, eliminating red tape, and ensuring highway projects meet deadlines.

“To (sic) many times driving around you see road signs stating when the road is supposed to reopen, and more times than it should it gets postponed,” he wrote. “This causes headaches and frustrations with drivers in our county. We all have deadlines at work and when work is supposed to be completed. If it is not completed we need to have larger consequences or penalties if the road is not open when scheduled.”

Kent Goldthorpe

Kent Goldthorpe describes himself as a retired businessman, and said he owned livestock and breeding operations in the 1980s. He was first elected to ACHD in 2014, reelected in 2018 and said that this would be his last term on the panel if he wins.

“I’m running again for a couple of reasons, the biggest being that I see some great progress being made, county-wide, with transportation, as well as in my district, with much more money being spent in Meridian and Kuna on projects either completed or in the works being a real benefit to my district,” he wrote. “Nowhere near enough was budgeted in my district prior to my being elected in 2014. I feel that with 4 more years there will be a solid foundation built from which the southwest portion of the county infrastructure can grow to the benefit of all transportation users, including kids and others not utilizing cars as their primary means of transportation. “

Goldthorpe said that adding millions of dollars in funding to make “it safer for kids to get to school or other places safely” is his biggest accomplishment.

“I have budgeted tens of millions of additional $$$ for regular road projects in my district which would not have been budgeted otherwise,” he wrote. “The recently completed 10 Mile project is an example.”

Goldthorpe said in the next term, he can build on and extend what he’s done to date.

“Over the past 8 years, and with my emphasis on educating the public, ACHD has been able to begin to get ahead of the development curve instead of seeming to always lag behind,” he wrote. “Areas such as the 10 Mile Crossing and the infill projects along Overland Rd in Meridian have allowed for growth in areas with already ‘built out’ infrastructure, allowing ACHD to concentrate projects in areas anticipating new developments coming in sooner instead of having to wait until the developments are built before improving the roads.”

Goldthorpe feels he’s made an impact.

“I realize my limitations, have made a huge effort to become better educated in my position, and don’t care to just hear myself talk but, rather, ask questions, ponder alternatives, and made decisions that haven’t been plagued with ideology, political or otherwise,” he said. “This isn’t a career to me, it’s an opportunity to make a difference, one that I take seriously and hope to continue for another four years.”

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Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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