Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Teacher Sets Example for Students When It Comes to Serving in Government
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Heidi Husbands loves the outdoors, but she’s willing to put the time in in the city council chambers.
 
Sunday, January 12, 2020
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

A government teacher at Wood River High School decided she couldn’t ask her students to do something she was not willing to do.

So Heidi Husbands threw her name into the ring to fill an absent seat on the Hailey City Council.

She will take her place on Hailey City Council tonight, pending city council approval, when Hailey’s new mayor Martha Burke takes the reins of the city.

Heidi Husbands, who has lived in Hailey for more than two decades, will fill Hailey City Council Seat No., 1, which was held by Burke since 1994.

Burke said that Husbands sealed the deal by demonstrating that she has held a lively interest in local government since moving to Hailey. Husbands also expressed a sound, balanced knowledge of Hailey politics, both past and present, she added.

“Her answers displayed a lot of common sense and logic. And she was extremely personable,” Burke said.

Husbands graduated from high school on a Friday night in 1985 and moved to the Wood River Valley the  next day from Salt Lake City, lured by the outdoors, the snow, easy access to the mountains and the community.

The daughter of Idaho natives, she worked for the summer at places like The Elephant’s Perch, then went off to college at Utah State University where she majored in political science.

“When I finished college, I thought I needed to live in Salt Lake and look for a real job. Then I realized I just didn’t want to live in a city and I moved back up here and I’ve been here ever since,” she said.

Save for a stint at Idaho State University in Pocatello where she got her teaching credentials, that is.

Husbands lived for a while in “Condo No. 6,” a 320-square-foot condo at the bottom of Baldy that forced her to be creative with her use of space. She stacked her washer and dryer, and pushed a futon underneath a loft.

Today she resides in northwest Hailey, an area of town not currently represented on any of Hailey’s boards. Her home is 1,200 square feet with two bedrooms and two baths—perfect for herself, her partner, her two chihuahuas named Snapple and Ginger, whom she says are super entertaining, and a cat named Egan.

“A smaller house means less stuff you have to accumulate, fewer things that you need to figure out where you’re going to put. I’m all about keeping things simple—around here who wants to spend their time maintaining the yard!?”

Husbands requires her students to do a government project, which involves attending city council or planning and zoning meetings and writing letters to City Hall.

“I figured if I’m holding them accountable then I probably should be held accountable myself,” she said. “I think you’ve got to have an interest in your community. You can’t just walk out the door, do your job, then come home and walk in the house and not ever check in. You’ve got to get away from your cell phone and electronics and see what’s actually happening in the world in which you’re living.”

Husbands says one of her goals as a council member will be to help figure out how to get more affordable housing.

“What does that look like? Where is it going to be? Who does it accommodate? Is it rental or is it home ownership?” she said. “Where are the businesses going to get the workers they need if the people can’t afford to live here? Hopefully we can make it so, if the kids I teach want to come back some day, there’s actually something available for them.”

DUSTIN STONE UP FOR A SEAT, AS WELL

Hailey Mayor Martha Burke will nominate Heidi Husbands as the first item of business during tonight’s city council meeting at 5:30 p.m. at Hailey City Hall. Two of three city council members must confirm her nomination for it to take effect.

The city council will then select a city council president from among themselves.

Burke will also nominate a planning & zoning member to fill the seat left open by attorney Sam Linnet, whom voters elected to the council. Burke said she will nominate Dustin Stone, a fifth or sixth generation Hailey citizen, who recently returned to Hailey after serving in the military for 20 years.  Stone is restoring his family home on Second Street, she added.

“Again, he provided answers that felt sensible and logical,” she said

 A dozen Hailey residents indicated their interest in serving on the city council and commission vacancies, Burke said.

“We had a wonderful sendoff for Mayor (Fritz) Haemmerle Friday night,” she added. “But it still hasn’t quite sank in that I’m about to preside over my first meeting as mayor.”

 

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