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News >  Idaho

CdA council member says housing is No. 1 issue while her opponent says city needs change

UPDATED: Fri., Oct. 29, 2021

By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

Coeur d’Alene City Councilwoman Kiki Miller said she has needed experience to help the city with housing and growth demands.

Her opponent in her re-election bid, Elaine Price, said she’ll be a voice for the middle class.

While Price has never held a political office, she ran unsuccessfully for City Council Position 3 in 2019 against Christie Wood. Miller has served two terms in Position 6.

Miller grew up in Dillon, Montana, before moving in 1975 to Coeur d’Alene, where she graduated from high school.

She worked for Hagadone Corp. for about 15 years, where she oversaw the carriers at the Coeur d’Alene Press and the North Idaho News Network. She also oversaw the Hagadone directories for a year before she opened her own publication, marketing and promotions firm Kagey Co. Inc., in 1992.

She, too, was a political novice when she first ran for City Council. “It was during a time when there was a recall in Coeur d’Alene,” she said.

Miller said she was trying to recruit people to run for City Council. Several people who turned her down suggested she run herself, and she decided to take the leap.

“I really thought the community was being divided, and I really wanted the ability to get in front and help unite the community,” Miller said.

She said the community did seem more united in her first five years or so.

“Folks were working better together and some great projects got done,” she said.

But in recent years, Miller said, divisions have increased. One of those divisive issues was a City Council vote last year to require a mask mandate in Coeur d’Alene when the local health district did not. Miller said she voted for it even though she thought it was unenforceable because she was swayed by the input of local doctors and health officials who said a mandate was needed.

“It was a different time, and we didn’t know as much as we do now,” she said. “I don’t think the City Council should be voting on a mask mandate. That’s a health issue.”

Price said she disagreed with the council’s decision at the time.

“I’m for medical freedom,” she said. “It’s not the government’s responsibility to be in someone’s personal medical freedom.”

Miller said she’s proud of several things she’s worked on as a council member, including the ability to put public libraries in schools and preserving the waterfront at the old Atlas Mill site for public use. She also helped form a local Historic Preservation Commission and started a regional housing and growth interest partnership. She said it’s important to her that key local workers, such as teachers, firefighters and police officers, be able to afford a home in the community where they work.

“That’s been my passion, and it will continue to be,” she said. “It’s housing, but it’s all the growth complications. It affects everybody. It is the No. 1 priority we need to come up with some solutions for.”

Miller said she wants to serve another term on the council so she can continue her work.

“I have these unfinished projects,” she said. “We are just putting forward a historic preservation plan.”

She also wants to continue working on housing.

“I believe I can bring good solutions to the challenges we’re facing right now,” she said. “I’m passionate about making it a great place to live.”

Price grew up in Manson, Iowa. She and her family moved to Coeur d’Alene in 1990. She ran a day care out of her home for two years, managed a Perkins Restaurant for two years and then worked for Fred Meyer for 18 years. She was a bookkeeper and office manager for Edgewood Log Homes before she and her husband opened their store, Spartacus Coins Bullion in 2014.

Price first ran for office two years ago because she was against a local apartment complex proposed for her neighborhood, and she felt she and her neighbors weren’t listened to. That hasn’t changed, she said.

“The council did not change the direction they were going in that election,” she said. “I just really don’t feel like the middle class and citizens of Coeur d’Alene are represented.”

Price said she believes part of the city’s housing problem is that developers promise to build affordable housing and the city is powerless to do anything if they go back on their word.

“Their solution for affordable housing is high-density housing, and I don’t think that’s the solution,” she said. “I don’t feel the City Council can create housing. That’s not their job.”

The city should focus on improving streets, parking and emergency services, Price said.

“I think we just need to focus on the basics,” she said. “None of this stuff is keeping up with the growth. I don’t think we should approve high-density zone changes until we have those issues fixed.”

In her previous election, Price received 37 percent of the vote. She said she feels like she has more support this time.

“There’s an establishment in Coeur d’Alene, and I’m not establishment,” she said. “I’m for the local people of Coeur d’Alene, and I’m for change. If they vote for the incumbent, they’ll get the status quo.”

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