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Elaine Clegg, 2020 Women of the Year

Council President and Project Coordinator

Boise City Council and Idaho Smart Growth


Elaine Clegg, 2020 Women of the Year honoree.

16-year veteran of the Boise City Council, Elaine Clegg has earned a reputation for being smart, hardworking and passionate about making cities and town great places to live.

Recently elected to her fifth term, Clegg is now working as president of the council. For 15 years, she’s also worked for Idaho Smart Growth (ISG), a nonprofit focused on keeping communities vibrant and lands healthy by way of education, advocacy and assistance.

In both roles, she is focused on helping communities grow in a planned, thoughtful way. And the effects of her work are known and appreciated throughout the Treasure Valley and beyond.

“First as a neighborhood association president, then a member of the Boise City Council, we see her tireless work everywhere we go in our fine city,” wrote Idaho Sen. Maryanne Jordan, D-Boise, in a letter of recommendation. “Boise is so fortunate to have this amazing woman working on its behalf!”

Clegg’s penchant for advocacy started back in high school, when she lobbied to allow boys to be on the cheerleading squad. Later, starting in 1985 with the North End Neighborhood Association, she worked to protect the Hulls Gulch area from real estate development. She also helped protect mature trees throughout the neighborhood, advocating for policies to require public notice before trees were felled by city workers.

Her appetite for effecting change has been apparent in dozens of efforts over the years, including her time advocating for gifted students when her own five children were in school.

“I was frankly in awe of how well she understood the issues and how well she knew how the legislative process and how legislative committees function,” wrote Marti Agle, a teacher in Boise School District who worked with Clegg on ITAG (Idaho Talented and Gifted), in a letter of recommendation. “She did her homework, and she was willing to put in the hours to make change happen.”

Clegg, now a grandmother to 10 and a continuing force for change throughout Idaho, said the will to work hard came naturally.

“I just can’t imagine not caring,” she said, explaining what drives her to work so hard for her community.

Click on the cover to view the digital edition of the 2020 Women of the Year publication.

Clegg’s other accomplishments include advocating for transportation improvements throughout Idaho and facilitating the Idahoans for Transportation Choices coalition with ISG. She also contributes to master plans and helps craft policies that are good for residents and business alike, and believes thoughtful development can bene t everyone.

“I believe markets always respond well to good regulation that’s consistent and predictable,” she said.

In her time on the city council, Clegg is proud to have helped develop 16 park sites, four branch libraries, four community centers and to have added services in a dozen schools. During her tenure, the council also saw a re station, re training center and police administration building constructed, all with only $17 million in public debt.

Clegg is also particularly proud of finding a way to add 2,430 units of housing in one neighborhood close to downtown Boise, she said (only 70 were in the original plans), and of her recent efforts to bring more public input into transit planning and budgeting.

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