Dave Bieter

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Dave Bieter
Dave Bieter 2009.jpg
Mayor of Boise
Assumed office
January 6, 2004
Preceded byCarolyn Terteling-Payne
Succeeded byLauren McLean (elect)
Member of the Idaho House of Representatives
from the 19th district
Seat B
In office
January 1999 – January 2003
Preceded byPat Bieter
Succeeded byAnne Pasley-Stuart
Personal details
David Harold Bieter

(1959-11-01) November 1, 1959 (age 60)
Boise, Idaho, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Julia Nemeth
EducationUniversity of St. Thomas, Minnesota (BA)
University of Idaho (JD)

David Harold Bieter (born November 1, 1959) is an American politician and attorney who has served as mayor of Boise since 2004. He is the longest-serving mayor in the city's history. He is a Democrat, though the office of mayor is officially nonpartisan. According to The New York Times, he is the only Basque-speaking mayor in the United States.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Boise, Bieter graduated from Bishop Kelly High School in 1978. He was third of five children born to John Patrick "Pat" Bieter (born 1930) and Eloise Garmendia Bieter (born 1925).

Pat was a Midwesterner of German descent; Eloise was the daughter of immigrants from the Basque region of Spain. A teacher and college professor, Pat became active in Boise's Basque community and started the Basque studies program at Boise State University, taking 75 students, seven faculty, and his wife and five children to live in the Franco-era Basque Country for the 1974-75 academic year, when David was a freshman in high school.[2]

Pat and Eloise Bieter were killed in an automobile accident in 1999.[3]

Boise is home to the largest Basque concentration outside of Europe. In addition to his native English, Bieter is fluent in Spanish and in the Basque language, Euskera, and identifies himself as ethnically Basque. He performed for many years with the Oinkari Basque dance troupe[4] and has served as a board member of Boise's Basque Center and Basque Charities. His brothers John and Mark co-authored "An Enduring Legacy," a history of the Basque people in Idaho.[5]

In 2005, Basque President Juan José Ibarretxe presented Bieter with an award for his work to promote Basque culture around the world.[6]


Bieter earned a bachelor's degree in international studies from University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and a law degree from the University of Idaho in Moscow.[7] He was admitted to the Idaho State Bar in 1986.[8]

Political career[edit]

Prior to entering politics, Bieter worked as a civil attorney for Bonner County in North Idaho. He later served as a land-use specialist in the Ada County Prosecutor's Office in Boise before opening a private practice, specializing in municipal law.[7]

In 1999, Bieter was appointed to the Idaho House of Representatives as a Democrat to succeed his late father, Pat Bieter, in District 19 (North Boise). Bieter was elected to a full term in 2000 and reelected in 2002.[7]

Mayor of Boise[edit]

In 2004, Bieter was elected Boise mayor in an open-seat, nonpartisan contest, defeating Republican Party activist Chuck Winder and Ada County Sheriff Vaughn Killeen. He was reelected in 2007 with 64 percent of the vote, defeating city councilman Jim Tibbs.[9]

Bieter easily won a third four-year term as mayor in November 2011, defeating David B. Hall with 74 percent of the vote.[10] He was the first Boise mayor to win a third four-year term since Richard Eardley in 1981.

Bieter won a fourth term in 2015, defeating Judy Peavey-Derr and Seth Holden with 69 percent of the vote.[11] Bieter is the first Boise mayor to win four four-year terms and the first Boise mayor to win a fourth term since R. E. Edlefsen in 1957. With the win Bieter became the longest-serving mayor in the city's history.

As mayor, Bieter has emphasized the need to protect and enhance Boise's livability to create "a welcoming city and a center for business, culture, education and outdoor recreation." He is credited with helping to expand Boise's parks system, championing the opening of four new neighborhood libraries, and promoting a "housing first" approach to combatting homelessness.[7]

Under Bieter, Boise has expanded the purchase of open space and easements in the foothills areas north of the city to protect wildlife habitat, water quality, and recreation opportunities. In 2015, a ballot measure authorizing additional property taxes to support foothills preservation passed with 74 percent approval; two years later the same measure, resubmitted to voters to correct a clerical error, passed with 83 percent approval.[12]

In 2015, Bieter was instrumental in creation of Trailhead, a non-profit business incubator supported by the City of Boise, its redevelopment agency, and local entrepreneurs. He also worked with the Boise School District to launch Idaho's first public preschool program; after just two years, a study showed a sizable increase in reading scores.[13]

Boise's generally progressive city government has found itself at odds with the much more conservative Idaho Legislature, which has moved to prohibit cities from raising the minimum wage or regulating real-time ride-sharing services.[14]

Bieter was an early supporter of Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.[15] He was a Hillary Clinton delegate for Idaho at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.[16]

Bieter ran for a fifth term as mayor in the 2019 Boise mayoral election, finishing second place behind City Council President Lauren McLean in a field of seven candidates. As no candidate won 50 percent of votes cast, McLean and Bieter competed again in a runoff scheduled December 3, 2019.[17][18] McLean defeated Bieter, earning 65 percent of votes cast to his 35.[19]


Bieter married his wife Julia in 1998, and they have one daughter.[7]


  1. ^ John O'Connor (August 24, 2012). "Herding Sheep in Basque Country (Idaho)". The New York Times. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  2. ^ "Archives West: Pat Bieter Papers, 1956-1998".
  3. ^ "Idaho's Basque torch passes to Boise's mayor and the Bieter family". Idaho Statesman. July 17, 2015.
  4. ^ "Basque to the Future". Boise Weekly. May 28, 2014.
  5. ^ "Boise State University Faculty Authored Books: An Enduring Legacy".
  6. ^ ""El euskaldun Dave Bieter ha sido reelegido como alcalde de Boise"". Deia, Noticias de Bizkaia. November 5, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e "About the Mayor". City of Boise.
  8. ^ "Boise Mayor Dave Bieter".
  9. ^ Bieter beats Tibbs in Boise mayor race Retrieved October 29, 2008. Archived July 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Election Results Archived 2012-10-12 at the Wayback Machine, adaweb.net; retrieved December 10, 2011.
  11. ^ "Boise mayor, City Council incumbents win their races". KTVB. November 4, 2015. Archived from the original on November 8, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  12. ^ "Thomson, Woodings, Sanchez secure Boise City Council wins; open space levy reaffirmed". Idaho Statesman. November 8, 2017.
  13. ^ "BSU study hails success of Boise pre-K pilot program". Idaho Education News. October 18, 2017.
  14. ^ "Bieter took a dig at Moyle, talked politics, Basque influence with FiveThirtyEight". Idaho Education News. March 28, 2017.
  15. ^ "Boise Mayor Dave Bieter Endorsement". Archived from the original on January 28, 2008.
  16. ^ "Idaho Democrats Convention: National Delegates and National Committe-Members - Idaho Democratic Party". Idaho Democratic Party. 2016-06-22. Retrieved 2017-05-01.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Early voting for Boise mayoral runoff begins". KIVI. 2019-11-19. Retrieved 2019-11-19.
  18. ^ Staff. "Election 2019: Boise Mayor's Race Heads To Runoff, Local Results From Around Idaho". www.boisestatepublicradio.org. Retrieved 2019-11-19.
  19. ^ "Lauren McLean beats out Mayor Bieter in Boise runoff election". KIVI. 2019-12-04. Retrieved 2019-12-04.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Carolyn Terteling-Payne
Mayor of Boise
Succeeded by
Lauren McLean