Boise City Councilor Alan Shealy wasn't ready to say "Yes" when BW asked him, in February (BW, News, "City Councilors Still Thinking," February 7, 2007), if he planned to run for re-election to his council seat.
Now we know why: Among other things, Shealy is considering a run for the U.S. Senate.
"I'm talking to some people about it," Shealy, a Republican, told BW. "It's my prerogative to keep my options open."
The seat Shealy would target is now occupied by U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, a Republican who has yet to announce whether he plans to run for re-election in 2008. Already, Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez, a Republican, and former Congressman Larry LaRocco, a Democrat, have announced their plans to run for Craig's seat.
Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, a Republican who was governor last year for seven months, has said that if, and only if, Craig decides not to run, he will consider making the bid too.
Shealy's designs on the Senate originate, in part, from his frustration with the City Council's inability to get things done.
"The council is doing a lot of stuff it shouldn't be doing," he said. On any given weekend, he says, he takes home more than 500 pages of briefing material to prepare for meetings. Much of that material has to do with approvals of subdivision changes and alterations that, he said, ought to be handled at a lower level of city government than its top deliberative body.
"To me, that's a waste of time," Shealy said. "I'm really hard-pressed to commit myself to another four years of the same old, same old."
He did, however, defend the Capital City Development Corporation, the downtown redevelopment group that has come under fire and is now the subject of an audit, requested by Mayor Dave Bieter. Shealy sits on the CCDC board.
"It's much ado about nothing," Shealy said. "People are trying to make political hay about it." CCDC director Phil Kushlan's membership at the Arid Club, which has since been canceled, is "completely immaterial," Shealy said.
"Let's be honest. The CCDC has stepped in a cowpie or two," Shealy said, when asked about the problems getting developers to successfully put up a building in the languishing "Boise Hole" at 8th and Main streets. The latest developer, Gary Rogers, recently admitted he was in default on a $2.5 million loan.
"Every once in a while, people hit a wall," Shealy said. He was confident the project would be completed.