Rebecca Arnold, the Ada County Highway District Commission president running for mayor of Boise, grew up poor in a small town near the Ohio River west of Paducah, Kentucky.
How poor? Arnold’s family bathed in a long galvanized tub placed in the back yard and heated by sunlight. Her mom would run Arnold and her four siblings through the same bathwater.
She was 13 before her family got indoor plumbing, around 1970. Before she was old enough to go to school, she remembers standing on a foot stool, washing dishes with water pumped from a well outside into the kitchen.
“Some people considered us white trash because we were very poor,” Arnold said in an interview. “We didn’t have a lot, and education was not something that was valued, especially for girls, so that was a challenge.”
Despite her humble beginnings, Arnold graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. She later earned a master’s degree in business administration from Murray State and a law degree from the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri.