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Lauren McLean makes history as she is sworn in for the office of Boise mayor

Posted at 9:29 PM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 01:00:17-05

BOISE, Idaho — It's official: the largest city in Idaho is under new leadership. History was made Tuesday night as Lauren McLean became the first elected female to take office as the Mayor of the City of Boise.

And as the sun set over Boise, so did former Mayor David Bieter's 16-year, four-term run as the mayor of the Gem State capital.

"I wish nothing but the best to the new mayor and council members. God bless you ladies and gentlemen, and God bless the great city of Boise. Thank you very much," said Bieter.

Bieter worked to open branch libraries, bring down the crime rate, and he even coined Boise as a “welcoming city.” But starting now, new leadership will be at the helm.

"I will faithfully discharge the duties of the mayor of the City of Boise to the best of my ability," said McLean, reciting the words of her swearing in speech.

But the landscape and role McLean steps into -- is not without its complications. Skyrocketing growth made issues that were once minuscule -- or even non-existent -- huge. Taxes are soaring as the the quick increase in the market price of housing leaves many residents homeless or on the edge of it, and public transit remains minimal.

"We have to be clear that we're gonna continue growing, that we can't stop it," said McLean. "We can create a community where we show that we roll up our sleeves, get back to the basics, work really hard, build community and try new things -- that we can be that shining city, that model city."

Many Boiseans are demanding more transparency in their city government. For the recent November ballot, more than 5,000 Boiseans signed their name on the dotted line to get a vote for multimillion-dollar library and stadium projects.

"We innovated -- we failed -- and we tried again," said McLean. "And that's what it's time to do here. And we're gonna do that, by opening the doors of City Hall -- by coming up with new ways to communicate, and connect people to people."

These are expectations and challenges Mayor McLean says she feels ready to take on.

Also sworn in tonight are new Boise city councilmembers Patrick Bageant and Jimmy Hallyburton, as well as returning councilmember Elaine Clegg.