BOISE — A resident of Boise’s housing development for the chronically homeless is shooting for a seat on City Council.
Troy Minton, 41, filed paperwork this month to run for the seat that will be vacated by City Council President Lauren McLean, who is running for mayor.
Minton’s major campaign priority is stemming the affordable housing crisis, improving public transportation both within Boise and the Treasure Valley as a whole, and cutting city spending.
Minton has been experiencing homelessness on and off for the last 11 years and has held a variety of odd jobs during that time, including wildland firefighter. He moved into Boise’s New Path Community Housing on Fairview Avenue at the end of 2018 with more than 40 residents who have been homeless for long periods of time. Minton said his experience trying to make it in Bosie without a consistent roof over his head for so many years is an inspiration for his campaign.
“I don’t want to see you or your family being on the streets ... and experiencing what I experienced being homeless,” he said. “I want to see people to be able to afford homes, afford where they’re living at, and they don’t have to work three jobs and not spend time with their family just to pay the rent.”
In order to help the working class in Boise’s increasingly competitive housing market, Minton said he wants the city to pass an ordinance preventing landlords from raising rent on tenants until they move, even if a lease was being renewed. He acknowledged that regulating rent this way is illegal in Idaho, but he would want the city to work with the state to allow Boise to enact this policy.
This is not Minton’s first try for political office. In 2017 he threw his hat in the ring to be the Democratic nominee for the 2018 gubernatorial race on a similar campaign centered around helping poor Idahoans. His campaign derailed after he was charged with petit theft in February 2017, which he said stemmed from accidentally writing checks for more money than he had in his bank account. Minton was charged for petit theft again in April of that year after another incident related to a “cellphone scam” as well as a probation violation related to the first charge.
He wanted voters to know that neither incident involved stealing items from stores or individuals and were “misunderstandings.”
“The checks thing could happen to anybody,” he said. “The cellphone scam could have happened to anybody, too.”
In addition to more stringent rent control in Boise, Minton would also like to see more bus service that connects the entire valley as well as a light rail system that connects localities stretching from Mountain Home all the way to Caldwell, Kuna, Meridian, Eagle and downtown Boise. To fund this project, Minton supports seeking local option taxing authority from the state to see if voters would approve a tax for the system, but he also wants to seek other funding sources.
“We got tons of big businesses here, and if we can ask one huge family here to see if they can donate the money and they can use it as a tax write-off or something so that way it’s not coming out of just the citizens,” he said. “Or we can see if we can get state funding for it.”
He is supportive of the main library project because of the age of the current building, but Minton supports a vote on the project for residents to give their final approval. However, he is much more mixed on the possibility of a public-private partnership between the city of Boise and developer Greenstone Properties to build a sports park.
Minton said he was concerned about the stadium project gentrifying the West End and making the area unaffordable for those currently living there, as well as the general feasibility of the project.
“I just don’t think the sports arena is a good fit for Boise right now,” he said. “Maybe in the future, but right now we’ve got more important issues we need to take care of before we even think about doing a sports arena. We need to fix our budget and quit spending money on stuff that doesn’t need to be spent on first.”
When asked to identify specifically what Boise is over spending on, he could not provide an example.