Ketchum Mayor Nina Jonas is the first woman to be elected mayor of Ketchum and a fourth-generation Idaho resident.
As mayor, she has emphasized creating a diversified year-round economy in the resort community, as well as more professional jobs to enable young families to stay in the area.
Another key initiative is creating a more sustainable environment. In keeping with this, she formed the Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee, which is undertaking a demonstration solar-energy project at the city-owned Ore Wagon Museum. Ketchum also was one of 12 communities in the nation recently invited to explore ways to create a solar-powered microgrid to support essential city and emergency services during a power outage.
Ketchum and the Wood River Valley also are the subject of a model study on the impacts of global warming by the Climate Impact Research Consortium at Oregon State University. In addition, the city has engaged a water consultant to recommend policies to encourage conservation and cope with the diminishing snowpack.
Making the arts a part of daily life is another focus for Mayor Jonas. She has worked with the Ketchum Arts Commission to install rotating exhibits in City Hall with works on loan by local artists. During her administration, the Commission also worked with Sun Valley Resort to create the first artist-designed “wrap,” similar to advertising wraps on buses, for a ski gondola in the United States. It also features the work of a local artist.
In private life, Mayor Jonas and her husband, Andreas Heaphy, have owned Rickshaw Restaurant in Ketchum for the past 10 years. She previously was a fundraiser for local nonprofits, including Sun Valley Adaptive Sports (now Higher Ground Sun Valley), Wild Gift and Winter Wildlands.
Before going to college, she spent a year on a walking tour of Africa, visiting countries including Kenya, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Tanzania and South Africa. It was one of her most formative experiences, she said, giving her a chance to see how people live when basic survival tasks such as getting water from a well take up most of the day.
She holds a B.A. from Smith College and studied for a year at the London School of Economics. The Idaho Mountain Express chose her as “Woman of the Year” in 2014.
A City Council member from 2009 to 2013, she was elected mayor by a 2-1 majority in the 2013 election.