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Holli Woodings

Boise councilwoman-elect on buses, a proposed stadium and having 100 new best friends


Holli Woodings didn't look exhausted after winning a seat on the Boise City Council by an overwhelming margin—she rarely does—even though she had just mounted a successful campaign and had been shuttling between Boise and Bend, Oregon, where her mother was hospitalized following a bad car accident.

"She has a broken neck, broken back, broken ribs and broken clavicle," said Woodings. "She's not paralyzed, which is a miracle."

Woodings had dropped everything and rushed to Oregon, but her campaign was never put on hold. Due to the good graces of friends and volunteers, the door-knocking continued, which ultimately led Woodings to a win with 52.3 percent of the vote, compared to her challengers Caleb Hansen (28.8 percent), Michelle Doane (10.2 percent) and Nicholas Jones (8.6 percent).

How's your mother doing?

They're going to perform a medical transport to the St. Luke's Inpatient Rehab, so she'll be closer to us. They're going to see if she can heal a bit more before considering surgery. She'll probably be there for 10 to 12 weeks.

I want to read you something you told me once: "The more I thought about the possibility of running for the Boise City Council and the more people asked, the more I thought I should consider it." That was November 2014.

And I kept thinking about it. It just makes sense. I went from serving my neighborhood to serving in the Idaho Legislature. I know city issues and we have so many things going on and there is so much opportunity to make things right.

Let's talk about some of the things that will be before you soon after you're sworn into office, like a downtown circulator.

I love the idea and I like the route they're considering. I'm a little less convinced that it needs to be a rail system.

Some cities are using driverless vehicles in their circulators.

We've heard that more people would ride a trolley instead of a bus because a trolley has a cool factor, but imagine having a cool driverless bus.

Mayor Bieter will tell anyone, anywhere, at any time that if we lose the current A-10 mission at Gowen Field, we should support the effort to attract an F-35 mission to Boise, but a fair amount of people in the Vista area get a little nervous about that.

One of their questions, which is super valid, is: Will the mission create an uninhabitable zone near the airport? We already have a housing shortage, a pretty significant one. We have to look very hard at how an F-35 mission would affect habitable zones in our city. And we need to operate off the facts, not emotions or assumptions.

Can you weigh in on the proposed sports stadium west of downtown?

I hear again and again about conversations about this, but they're outside the public domain, and I think that's a valid frustration. That said, I think the sports park is a great idea and west of downtown is the right spot for it. It's an underutilized section of the city. But ultimately the main question is: How is this going to be financed so that Boise taxpayers aren't left on the hook if it's not successful?

What does the City of Boise need right now that it doesn't have?

We need our buses to run on Sunday[s] and evenings. I heard this time and again from citizens throughout the campaign. I kept hearing that our transportation system isn't reflective of the size of our city and the needs of our residents.

Valley Regional Transit would love to do that but they're going to turn to Boise City Hall and say, "You're going to need to pay for that."

I'm anxious to get working on that with my fellow council members.

Can I assume you've heard from a lot of people since your win?

It's like having another birthday. My inbox is full.

The week after you're elected it's "Congratulations." A week later it's, "We have to meet and talk about my ideas."

I've been advised to be prepared to have 100 new and very best friends.