Diana Lachiondo is a fourth-generation Idahoan who is passionate about working to support inclusive democracy in her home state. A graduate of the University of Washington, Diana previously served as Vice President at Idaho Business for Education, Director of Community Partnerships for the City of Boise, and as an elected Commissioner for Ada County.
How did you become an elected official?
When I graduated from college, I knew that I wanted to work in the non-profit space, especially around helping children and young people. I worked in Boston, Seattle, and Denver for a while, but always knew I wanted to get back to Idaho to be close to my family.
Once I got back to Boise, where I grew up, I loved getting to work on issues I cared about — like education, homelessness, and refugee integration — but eventually, I got frustrated by the lack of urgency I saw from our leaders in confronting the opioid epidemic. That led me to throw my hat into the ring and run for office as an Ada County Commissioner.
How did that translate into becoming an activist for inclusive democracy?
As a Commissioner, I served on our local public health board, and I was passionate about finding ways to address community health issues in our area. But that became a much higher-profile job when the pandemic struck. It was a tough time, and some people were angry about decisions made by the board. That’s fine, but eventually, the threats were aimed not just at me but at my family.
That was my first experience with political violence. I’ve always been committed to the idea that we’re strongest when we come together to solve our problems, and that might doesn’t make right. My experience, and my family’s experience, made me realize that principle is under threat in this country, and it needs to be defended.
What are you looking to accomplish as a Senior Fellow with Western States Center?
My mom’s family came to this state as homesteaders. My dad’s father came to Idaho at 16 as a Basque sheepherder. Idaho is my home, and it’s given me a lot. The Idaho I know, and love is generous, respectful, and kind — and I believe that the vast majority of Idahoans share those values.
I’m excited about the chance to work with my neighbors to lift up those values and push back against those who promote bigotry and violence. That’s not what Idaho is about, and it never has been.