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The city council race in Twin Falls could determine the next mayor

Twin Falls City Hall
Rachel Cohen
Boise State Public Radio
Twin Falls City Hall

The city council race in Twin Falls this November could decide the next mayor.

Twin Falls has a council-manager style government in which a non-partisan city manager acts as the chief executive, and handles the day-to-day operations of the city.

The elected city council chooses the mayor amongst themselves, usually in the January after the election. The current mayor, Suzanne Hawkins, who was voted in last year, is not running for her council seat.

“For us, any candidate that gets elected to any of the seats could potentially be mayor," said Perri Gardner, an associate professor of political science at the College of Southern Idaho. "So in a way, that makes it more important to pay attention to each of those choices that you make.”

Twin Falls has three open council seats — one with five candidates, another with four, and one incumbent council member, Chris Reid, is running unopposed. Along with Suzanne Hawkins, Greg Lanting is not running for reelection.

The candidates for the open seats include a downtown business owner who arrived in Twin Falls as a refugee, a Twin Falls Canal Co. engineer, a facilities director at the College of Southern Idaho and a Miss Idaho 2022 contestant.

Gardner said a top issue for Twin Falls is growth.

The Twin Falls city population increased by about 15.5% over the past decade, according to 2020 U.S. Census estimates.

“The new city council will be dealing with a lot of things that have to do with becoming a small, metropolitan city,” she said.

That includes affordable housing issues and transportation. The census results put Twin Falls just over the official metropolitan planning organization threshold of 50,000 people, which requires the city to develop plans for a public transportation system.

The complete candidate filing list for elections in Twin Falls County:

As the south-central Idaho reporter, I cover the Magic and Wood River valleys. I also enjoy writing about issues related to health and the environment.