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Turning of the Wheel:

The interplay of the Unique and Universal

A Digital Collection of Events from the Humanities Colloquium Series, Turning of the Wheel,
University of Idaho | Moscow, Idaho | 2011-2012

Colloquium Talks > Nancy Chaney

Nancy Chaney, Mayor of Moscow, Idaho

Colloquium Talk, April 10, 2012, Idaho Commons

Adventures of Time and Space Travel Aboard an Amazing Machine: The Wheel as Political Metaphor

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As I contemplated Rodney Frey's tantalizing invitation to join this humanities exploration, with its symbolic wheel hub, rim, and spokes symbolism, I got stuck on the image of a wheel as a static horizontal shape. Wheels move. They roll. They are integral parts of the vehicles that transport us. They are part of the momentum of life. From the political perspective, the hub is "us," here and now ... ourselves as individuals, the "we" of our communities, the factions and composite of a nation, a generation of people. The spokes are our experiences and connections to each other over generations, spanning disciplines, across neighborhoods, countries, and continents, the temporal nature of being ... the ultimate of mobile networking. The rim in this model is the wholeness of being, the collective impacts of existence, the planetary ecosystem that supports us, and the emotional, social, and spiritual blanket that swaddles all. Accordingly, I will focus on life's journeys, incremental destinations, and some of the traveling companions who influence policies, places, and our future.


Nancy Chaney was elected Mayor of Moscow in 2005, after serving on the City Council for two years. She has an eclectic background, with undergraduate degrees in Nursing and Psychology from Boise State, and a Masters degree in Environmental Science from the University of Idaho. She has worked as a nurse, archaeologist, editorial- and administrative assistant and small business owner. She is a partner in Veterinary Ophthalmic Specialties, Inc., with worldwide sales of products related to animal eyes. She lives in Moscow with her husband, Gary Bryan, Professor Emeritus from Washington State University. She has five grown stepchildren and ten grandchildren. Elected President of the Association of Idaho Cities in 2011. Member of the National League of Cities' Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Steering Committee. Chair, NLC University Communities Council. Serves on boards of the Latah Trail Foundation; Stepping Stones, Inc.; Latah Economic Development Council; Moscow Chamber of Commerce; and Vice-Chair for Moscow-Pullman Regional Airport. Serves on Palouse Basin Water Summit Planning Committee. Member, North Idaho Mayors Coalition and Moscow League of Women Voters, and co-chair for LWV Poverty on the Palouse study group. Founding member Palouse Road Runners. In 2010, selected as a CLAIR Fellow to Japan.

"In 2002-3, I had the wonderful opportunity to serve as the Administrative Assistant/Coordinator for a Humanities Fellows Program that addressed Sense of Place in the Pacific Northwest from a variety of cultural & disciplinary perspectives. That experience enhanced my appreciation for the cultural, economic, and geographic diversity in our region, and solidified lasting friendships with colleagues who shared that rare adventure. The multi-faceted demands of my role as Mayor regularly draw on knowledge and experience from that eclectic background."

During her tenure as mayor, Moscow has initiated a rewrite of the Comprehensive Plan; implemented a Water Conservation Ordinance and tiered rate structure; identified prospective sites for surface water retention to compensate for the declining aquifer; launched and branded the Knowledge Corridor regional economic engine; expanded support for public transit and development of an intermodal transit center; introduced biodiesel to the municipal fleet; established the Mayor's Earth Day Awards, Arts Awards, and WiseScape water-conserving landscape awards; started an award winning Green Building Program; offered insurance benefits to domestic partners of City employees; created new positions including an Information Systems Director, a Grants Coordinator and a Sustainability Intern, among others; enacted the Large Retail Establishment "Big Box" Ordinance and Design Manual; instituted a Sustainable Purchasing Practices Policy; established baselines and targets for greenhouse gas emissions; instituted "Renewing our focus" inspirational messages to start each City Council meeting; opened Phase 2 of Alturas Research and Technology Park; approved Legacy Crossing Urban Renewal Project between the UI campus and downtown; adopted a 1% for the arts funding mechanism for public art; and joined the Let's Move! campaign to reduce childhood obesity.

Her hobbies include bicycling, alpine skiing, travel, wines, writing, and gardening, and she is a recovering runner.

For more information: Rodney Frey