BOISE — A young candidate is seeking to unseat incumbent Mayor Dave Bieter and become the first openly gay mayor of Boise.

Matt Kilburn, 23, filed to run Feb. 26. His campaign will be focused on issues of housing, transportation and improving the lives of those experiencing homelessness.

“It’s time for young people and marginalized folks to bring their vision to the table and to step up where experience and the establishment has failed us,” Kilburn said. “It’s time for change, it’s time for innovation and it’s time to bring this community into the future.”

Kilburn graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho last spring with a degree in political science, with a focus in U.S. government. He drives for Uber in Boise full time.

On housing, Kilburn said he opposes any program that gives public funds to developers as incentives to build affordable housing. The city previously operated a downtown housing incentive program that largely funded high-end apartments and condos, and it’s currently working on establishing an incentive program for affordable housing citywide. Kilburn said he does not support either.

“I think it’s utterly ridiculous that the city gives out incentives to developers to build places to live,” he said. “That is a part of it (the city’s Grow Our Housing plan that) really does not sit well with me. The growth is happening, and developers are going to make money off of properties.”

Kilburn said he does not have a specific plan to address the housing crisis and is still looking at options.

He also wants to see different transportation solutions. Because of a lack of dedicated funding from the state for transit, he said he would support Bieter’s suggestion of campaigning for local option taxing authority to fund projects. If that did not work, Kilburn said he would like to see more robust conversations with the Ada County Highway District on how to fund transit infrastructure.

ACHD’s bylaws prohibit it from funding public transit, but officials disagree over if it can fund transit infrastructure.

Kilburn said he supports a unionized city workforce and would immediately open negotiations to start a union available to all Boise employees.

Another proposal would be to create either “a second city council” to expand the number of local elected representatives or create districts so members come from across the city. Officials are currently elected at-large, meaning they can live anywhere. Kilburn said this results in a council that does not represent all socioeconomic or cultural backgrounds of residents.

“It doesn’t take the highest political literacy to realize when people representing you don’t look like you,” he said. “Representation matters so much to me.”

Margaret Carmel covers the city of Boise. Follow her on Twitter @mlcarmel or reach her by phone at 757-705-8066.

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