Every January, the President gives his State of Nation address and Governors chime in with their State of the State presentations. Similarly, many Idaho mayors give State of the City speeches.
Here are some of themes advanced by four Idaho mayors:
Mayor Steve Widmyer, Coeur d’Alene
Widmyer’s first state of city address (he was elected in 2013) focused on a commitment to improving a quality of life “second to none”. He noted the opening of the revamped McEuen Park on Lake Coeur d’Alene, an agreement to purchase 20 acres of right of way on the Spokane River and replacement of three key city officials. Widmyer encouraged support for an upcoming school bond and bragged about the quality of city employees. He ended with a pitch for the community to work together, noting: "There is an old African proverb that best sums up this message: 'If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.' Let's go far.” CDA is Idaho’s seventh largest city.
Mayor Rebecca Casper, Idaho Falls
Having won her first election in 2013, Casper started off by arguing that Idaho Falls is the most complex city in Idaho to manage with a passenger airport, 11 city divisions, a city utility company and full responsibility for local roads. She highlighted efforts to improve relationships with neighbors citing the recent Hitt road agreement with Ammon. Casper also noted a decline in the local crime rate in 2014 but touted creation of a citizen review committee for the police department to head-off any future loss of public trust. She pushed a regional approach to economic development Casper also cited a forthcoming bike path plan to boost such by 300%, a new park on the Snake River and a forthcoming wayfinder signage program for tourists. Idaho Falls is Idaho’s fourth largest city.
Mayor Bob Henry, Nampa
Another first time message was delivered by Mayor Henry. Displacing former Mayor Tom Dale in 2013, Henry urged city residents “Share Your Ideas” though a link on the city website, vowed to phase out the City’s urban renewal program as lacking support, and boasted of a reduction in drive-by shootings from 211 in 2006 to a mere five in 2014. Henry also highlighted various higher education facilities in the area and encouraged voters to back an upcoming school levy. Returning to his campaign theme of contesting the local taxation, he stated that citizens of Nampa should not pay more in taxes. Nampa is Idaho’s third largest city.
Mayor Brian Blad, Pocatello
As he has in the past, Mayor Blad (re-elected in 2013) delivered his state of the city address in the form of a pre-recorded video presentation. He noted the significant announcement that Amy’s Kitchen (which could bring 1,000+ jobs) set to open at the former Heinz facility, growth of the airport business park, the addition of a a solar farm at the airport, completion of the new animal shelter, park & zoo improvements, expansion of recycling programs. Pocatello is Idaho’s fifth largest city.
Of note, Mayor Tammy de Weerd of Meridian (Idaho’s second largest city) is set to deliver her address on February 4th. Mayor David Bieter of Boise, who is arguably the highest ranking Democrat in Idaho, last year delivered his report to local citizens part way through the year. Both are up for re-election in 2015.
Steve Taggart is an Idaho Falls bankruptcy attorney, mostly dealing with farms and businesses, who loves politics and public policy.