Caldwell mayoral candidates talk growth, housing, crime

Posted at 5:21 PM, Oct 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-01 12:17:40-04

CALDWELL, Idaho — Current Caldwell mayor, Garret Nancolas, is stepping down after 24 years in office and voters will decide who will replace him at the polls.

Two current Caldwell City Council members are on the ballot to replace Nancolas: John McGee and Jarom Wagoner.

McGee was elected to City Council in 2019. He's also a former State Senator.

He resigned in 2012 amid sexual harassment allegations and after a DUI arrest in 2011, but McGee says the people of Caldwell are ready to move forward.

"Those are things that happened ten years ago and we're grateful that this community has supported us, you know, they voted in overwhelming numbers the last election so we're moving Caldwell forward."

McGee said growth is the top issue in Caldwell right now and he wants to make sure Caldwell is growing in the right way.

"That means making sure that our transportation system stays up to speed. My service as the transportation chairman in the Idaho Senate, that will help with that," he said.

McGee also said the city will need to keep up with water, sewer, and other infrastructure as well as transportation.

On crime, he said he will work with state legislators to add tools Caldwell Police can use to address gang activity.

John McGee Full Interview

Related: 2021 General Election voter guide ahead of Nov. 2

Another current City Council member running for mayor is Jarom Wagoner. He's also a current Idaho State Representative.

Wagoner agrees that growth is the top issue in Caldwell right now.

"I've never seen a more opportune time for the Mayor of Caldwell to be a planner, to understand growth, to understand you know how important it is to plan for growth so that we don't have issues with traffic or things like that."

Wagoner is referring to his background with land use and transportation planning in Canyon County, with the Ada County Highway District (ACHD), and with the City of Caldwell.

"The residents here are worried about transportation, about traffic issues, other negatives that come with growth. They want to make sure that we retain the feel and the environment of Caldwell, I mean Caldwell's a great little community," he said.

He said growth is a good thing, but he wants to make sure Caldwell sees sustainable growth.

On housing, Wagoner said working with the community to find the best way to address the issue is important.

"I think a big part of that is including the partners that we already have. Public Housing Authority is a huge partner the city has, so involving those agencies as well. I don't think it's something the city can solve by itself," he said.

On crime, Wagoner said retention of police officers is something he'll work towards.

"We have a big leaking system right now of police officers where they come, we train them and they leave us for other cities," he said.

He wants to address why police officers are leaving by increasing pay to be more competitive with other nearby cities.

"We're never going to get to what Boise pays their police officers, but if we can close that gap and with the wonderful community that we have, I think that we can start retaining those police officers which gives us more experience on the streets," Wagoner said.

Jerom Wagoner Full Interview

Nicole Hyland said she's running for mayor to keep Caldwell going in a family-friendly direction.

She said there are three top issues: keeping up with growth, fixing depleted emergency services and encouraging more of the community to come to downtown Caldwell.

To address growth she said she would take a long-term approach.

"We need to actually expand it out, make sure that it's sustainable and not only attainable but also affordable for the people that live here," she said.

To address emergency services Hyland said the city needs to protect those who protect the residents of Caldwell.

"Our emergency services as a whole are actually, they're depleted, and we actually need to make sure that they're expanded and funded to their capacity."

On community, Hyland said she wants to add more things for kids with a variety of interests and expand the senior center.

"Unfortunately not everyone is too keen on coming downtown so I want to get them to be able to experience that and expand downtown," she said.

On crime, Hyland said she would increase the police force.

"We're not defunding the police, we need to fund the police," she said.

Hyland also added, "I feel like I'm a little behind in this game. Not many people know that my son was hit and killed on August 27 of 2021. I put my application in August 26, the 27th the accident happened so we've been dealing with that, but I've always told my kids that when life gets hard, you don't quit and I know that I had to fulfill going through with the campaign."

As our media partners at the Idaho Statesman reported, a child was hit by a car while riding a scooter in Caldwell.

Nicole Hyland Full Interview

Chris Trakel was born and raised in the Treasure Valley, retired from the Marine Corps. in 2016 and moved back to Caldwell.

He ran for Caldwell City Council in 2019 but lost to Jerom Wagoner.

Now running for mayor, Trakel said property taxes and growth are the top issues in Caldwell, "Once this urban renewal expires, our property taxes are naturally going to drop and that should make us very competitive with our sister cities in drawing in new business, new homes and give us a form of growing naturally."

He said people he's talked to are concerned that Caldwell is growing too fast and outpacing the city's capabilities to maintain infrastructure and public safety.

To address housing, Trakel said he doesn't believe the government should be involved in regulating housing prices, but said local government has an influence on the market through zoning. His goal, he said, is to keep residential zones the way they are now so residents don't have to worry about their neighborhood becoming high-density housing.

"The only way to really address it is to have the government come in and say, "you can only sell your house for x amount of money," and do you want the government putting a price cap on your home that you invested into?"

On crime, he said the Caldwell Police Department has done a good job at lowering the crime rate, but there has been an uptick recently. He said this goes back to sustainable growth and that he would advocate for allowing the police department to catch up with the growth Caldwell has experienced.

Trakel also said if elected, he would hold monthly town hall meetings with City Council to listen to Caldwell residents.

Chris Trakel Full Interview

Jorge Arancivia is also running for mayor. He did not agree to an interview with Idaho News 6, but in an email said, "I can coherently string more than one sentence together. I can do basic math in my head. I have no family members who are colluding with foreign nations to launder money on my behalf."