BOISE — A previous City Council candidate is the first to throw his hat in the ring to challenge incumbent Mayor Dave Bieter in the upcoming November election.

Adriel Martinez, 28, filed to run Jan. 8. He told the Idaho Press his campaign will focus on scaling back urban renewal, discouraging suburban sprawl and opposing the new main library and sports park projects.

Bieter, mayor since 2004, has lost touch with the city’s needs, Martinez said, and instead caters to big developers.

“When you stop hearing the voice of the people and start doing whatever you want, a lot of people get mad,” Martinez said. “A lot of people are unhappy right now, and I want to represent the little people like myself.”

Alongside Bieter, Council President Lauren McLean and Council President Pro Tem Clegg are up for reelection. There is also an open City Council seat that will be vacated by Councilman Scot Ludwig, who said he isn’t running again. Boise Bicycle Project co-founder Jimmy Hallyburton told the Idaho Press Thursday he plans to run for the open seat.

Martinez works at FedEx at the Boise Airport and drives for Uber and Lyft. He served in the U.S. Army for four years and worked for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign in the lead-up to the Iowa Caucus in 2016. He holds an undergraduate degree in political science from Boise State University.

He unsuccessfully challenged Ludwig in 2015. He decided to challenge Bieter this year because of his opposition to his policies and a desire to bring a change.

The city’s current administration, he said, has not done enough to encourage denser development like apartment buildings and townhouses closer to the city’s core instead of sprawling subdivisions on the outskirts of the city.

When asked about the city’s “Grow Our Housing” plan, which will establish an affordable housing trust fund and change zoning code to allow denser development in some areas, Martinez said he was unfamiliar with the plan. He wants to see the city making bolder changes toward combating the growing affordability crisis.

“All of (the developments being built) are for wealthier people, and they are unaffordable for most people who live in Boise,” he said. “When are we going to see action from the city? Boise is more liberal than other cities in Idaho, but I don’t ever see the action behind that.”

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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