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State of 208: One-on-one with with Mayor-elect Lauren McLean

Posted: 8:27 PM, Dec 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-12-15 22:39:55-05

BOISE, Idaho — "No, I didn't get here and say this is my plan, I didn't have a plan a year ago to be honest," said McLean.

McLean said when she moved to Boise over twenty years ago, she fell in love with the city and quickly got involved with a fight to save the Boise foothills. Never thinking it would lead to what happened on December 3rd - beating Dave Bieter by almost a 2 - 1 margin.

"What I take from those numbers is a clear mandate from the people of Boise that they want a leader that will listen and engage them in different ways. And recognize that our city is at a crossroads and we need to try to tackle new solutions," said McLean.

That's why McLean entered the mayoral race in the first place - she felt people wanted a change.

For example, McLean said throughout the campaign, she heard from people who were in favor of a new public library, but felt they weren't involved in the process. Something she feels still could happen.

"So, yes. Once I'm settled, we will definitely have those conversations again about what type of library, what's included in that and what's right for our city. I look forward to being part of those conversation," said McLean.

And as far as her priorities go: "In so many ways I feel like a broken record. We talked about this so much but it's because it's important to the public and that is to address affordable housing and transportation," said McLean.

McLean is anxious to hear how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the Boise camping lawsuit over an ordinance that banned homeless people from sleeping in public places.

"Prior to the election, I didn't anticipate pulling that case because that ship has sailed. It's moving forward. The Supreme Court heard it on Friday and now we have to see what to do," said McLean.

Even though she said she won't allow camps to come together, some critics have labeled her a radical liberal.

"There was interesting, unfortunate, an disappointing mail and phone calls that were conducted right before this election that attempted to lead people to believe me to be someone other than someone who came here in here early twenties, have served this city in many capacities for many years. I love this place deeply and I'm so excited to get to work reflecting Boise values of justice, compassion, and kindness," said McLean.

When asked if she ever gets mad over these types of accusations -

"Me? Yes, I do get mad," said McLean.

But in the same breath, she said she has to be ready to hear it all, and that it's important to stay centered and focused on what's important - like finding a new police chief.

"There is a search committee underway. I met in advance of the election with the search firm and had another conversation today with the cities chief operating officer and it's moving forward," said McLean.

She's also looking into how impact fees could effect future growth.

"We have impact fees right now so that is what is really important related to the cost of growth. So, that's something I'll have our impact committee review to make sure we're charging the right amount," said McLean.

One common theme from the thousands of people Lauren McLean met on the campaign trail was that Boise residents want transparency and they want to be engaged - something she noticed right up until election night.

"I can't believe you're here, and she pulled me into her house and then a whole bunch of people came in and talked to me and she promised to go register to vote the next day," said McLean.

Time will tell how the McLean administration maps out the future for Boise.