Support Montana Conservation Voters’ endorsed candidates in the 2011 City Council and Commission Elections!
You can make a huge difference in the outcome of these often-ignored elections by voting by mail or at the polls on November 8th for Montana Conservation Voters' endorsed candidates.
Why should you care? City officials make decisions about our quality of life, alternative modes of transportation, how our communities grow in the face of development pressures, and whether city government reduces energy use of city buildings, street lights, vehicles and equipment. Some local officials run for higher office, and weigh in on critical state and federal policy as well.
Consider this: The Montana State Legislature was taken over by radical legislators who in the 2011 session advocated policies allowing polluters to regulate themselves. They tried to roll back energy conservation and renewable energy policies, voters' twice-approved ban on new cyanide mining and Montana’s unique and successful constitutional right to the clean and healthful environment.
The best way to prevent Montana’s city government from going the way of the legislature is to vote for Montana Conservation Voters’ endorsed candidates featured here. MCV members and staff have interviewed candidates, reviewed questionnaires about where they stand on critical city conservation and environmental issues, and assessed voting records and community involvement.
These endorsed candidates meet MCV’s criteria, and have pledged to translate their conservation values into policy priorities, if elected.
The five-person City Commission features two races, one for City Commission and Mayor, the winner of whom serves as Deputy Mayor for 2 years, then becomes Mayor. MCV has endorsed in the Commission race. Neither mayoral candidate, Jeff Kraus (current mayor) nor his opponent Spang (also running for U.S. President) sought endorsement.
Commissioner Cyndy Andrus
Contact Cyndy and contribute:
Mail: 3247 Gardenbrook Lane, Bozeman, MT 59715
The five-person City Commission features elections in two seats elected at large, an open seat vacated by Commissioner Paul Cartwright (MCV endorsed), and the seat of Commissioner Matt Elsaesser, elected with MCV’s support in 2007. Matt is running for re-election, and two other candidates, Katherine Haque-Hausrath and Lorabelle Belmer have also filed for the two seats. All three candidates participated in MCV’s endorsement process and two have been endorsed.
Commissioner Matt Elsaesser
Katherine Haque-Hausrath is an attorney for the Montana Department of Environmental Quality in the Remediation Division, where she works to require polluters to clean up contaminated Superfund sites. A Montana Conservation Voters’ member, her involvement in several area non-profits and in government led her to run for the Commission. If elected, she would like to increase infrastructure for multimodal transportation like complete streets for bikers, increase support for local Helena farmers and growers, and identify more locations for community gardens. She strongly supports curbside recycling and other policies to make recycling easier. Katherine grew up in Boise, Idaho, where she “saw firsthand the effects of sprawl and uncontained growth. She graduated from the University of Montana with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. Katherine volunteered her time for the Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front, and is a member of Montana Environmental Information Center, Prickly Pear Land Trust and several other civic organizations.
The eleven-person Billings City Council includes a mayor (not up for election) and two Council members from each of the city’s five wards, wherein one position from each ward is up for election every two years. MCV’s Yellowstone County Chapter hosted a “meet the candidates” night as part of its 10th Anniversary BBQ and membership gathering to help inform endorsement decisions.
Billings Ward 1 – Brent Cromley
Brent Cromley is seeking his first term as Ward 1 Councilman. He has lived in Billings since 1968 and is a former state legislator, serving in the State Senate in 2003 and 2005, when he earned an 81 percent and 100 percent rating on the MCV Legislative Scorecard, respectively. MCV endorsed his candidacy for the Senate. He also served in the House of Representatives in 1991, earning a 60 percent scorecard rating. Brent is a lawyer who is now “of counsel” with Moulton Bellingham. His civic experience includes service on the RiverStone Health Board, the State Bar of Montana, the Yellowstone Area Bar Association, Camp Fire, Billings Kiwanis Club, Little League, Billings Studio Theatre, as well as volunteerism on various projects such as picking up trash as part of the Great American Cleanup. He holds a degree in mathematics from Dartmouth College and a law degree from the University of Montana. Brent served in the Peace Corps in the ‘60’s in India. He is running against Frank Keele and Todd Royal.
Contact Brent and contribute:
Mail: PO Box 2545, Billings, MT 59103
Billings Ward 3 – Becky Bird
Contact Becky and contribute:
Mail: 117 Ardmore Dr, Billings, MT 59102
Billings Ward 5 – Ken Crouch
Ken Crouch is making his first bid for Billings City Council Ward 5, an open seat vacated by term limited Council member Dick Clark. Ken just retired as the Associate Minister at Mayflower Congregational Church and brings a wealth of experience from involvement in the Billings Domestic Violence Task Force, the Safe School Coalition and PFLAG. He has also been a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, the Billings Food Bank, the Interfaith Hospitality Network, has served as a substitute teacher for Billings Public Schools and was involved with the West End Task Force. Ken wants to bring his leadership and community building skills to the Council. He and his wife Carolyn are MCV members. Also running for this seat are Dennis Ulvestad, who sought MCV’s endorsement, and Jennifer Olsen, leader of Montana Shrugged, who did not.
The twelve-person Missoula City Council features elections in one of two seats in each of the city’s 6 wards, plus an election in the second seat in Ward 2, where MCV member Cynthia Wolken (MCV endorsed) is running unopposed after being appointed in 2010 to serve the remainder of former Council person Roy Houseman’s term in 2010. MCV has also made 4 other endorsements, including newcomer and Missoula MCV chapter founder Alex Taft.
Missoula Ward 1 – Jason Wiener
Councilman Jason Wiener is seeking re-election to another 4 year term on the Council. Jason provides computer tech-support through The Techxorcist. On the Council, Jason has been a strong advocate for increasing options for multi-modal transportation and promoting complete street configurations that accommodate cyclists. His 100% score on MCV’s 2009 Missoula City Scorecard is a clear testament of his support for smart growth, responsible planning, clean air and water. Jason was an editor at the Missoula Independent, an English composition Instructor at the University of Montana and an Integration Engineer at eSpeed. He completed his undergraduate degrees at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana and got his Master’s degree in philosophy, concentrating on the philosophy of law, from the University of Montana. Jason is facing opponent Mary Seibert who did not seek MCV’s endorsement.
Missoula Ward 2 – Councilwoman Pam Walzer
Pam Walzer is running for re-election to Ward 2. She works as a self-employed jewelry artisan and a substitute teacher. On the Council, Pam has served on the Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund Committee, the Local Emergency Policy Committee, the Employee Benefit Committee, the Urban Wildlife Subcommittee, Chair and the Public Arts Committee. She has been proactive in addressing the wildlife-urban interface in the Rattlesnake by keeping bears out of garbage receptacles. Pam received a 90% on the MCV Missoula City Scorecard in 2009. She also has been identifying ways to reduce traffic and congestion through responsible growth planning, more bike and pedestrian paths and increasing Mountain Lion bus routes. Upon coming to Missoula, Walzer earned a science teaching certification at the University of Montana. Walzer grew up outside Cleveland and Pittsburgh and earned a degree in biology with a chemistry minor. She then studied biochemical genetics in graduate school. Pam has worked as a research assistant at USU, in Utah for a solid rocket manufacturer as a quality control laboratory scientist and later as an environmental, hazardous waste management engineer. She also spent five years on Johnston Atoll in the middle of the Pacific, first for environmental management of the military base and then for managing wastes generated by the prototype chemical weapons incinerator. Pam faces newcomer Adam Hertz, who did not seek MCV’s endorsement.
Contact Pam and contribute:
Mail: 1329 Sherwood St, Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 327-8660
Missoula Ward 2 – Councilwoman Cynthia Wolken
Cynthia was appointed to the council last year and is running unopposed. She graduated in the top 10% of her law school class and began working with low-income clients at Montana Legal Services Association with a prestigious two-year Skadden Fellowship. She recently worked for the Montana Democratic Women’s Legislative Caucus to help advance issues important to women at the state legislature. She also works for the Montana Women Pipeline Project – to help recruit and elect progressive women to public office. She was recently appointed by Governor Schweitzer to the five-member Montana Human Rights Commission – which oversees discrimination appeals. She is a proud member of the Missoula Food Co-op. She serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Montana Human Rights Network – MHRN helped organize support for Missoula’s recently-passed non-discrimination ordinance. She also served on the Board of Directors of Working Toward Equality and Economic Liberation (WEEL), an organization helping low-income women advocate for better economic policies.
Mail: 1316B Cooper St, Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 465-3376
Missoula Ward 3 – Alex Taft
Alex Taft, Ward 3 brings a wealth of local government and community experience to his campaign. Alex has worked professionally in the transportation sector for nearly thirty years including as the Executive Director of the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Washington, D.C., the Executive Director of the Wilmington DE Area Planning Council, the Transportation Director of the City of Wilmington, DE, as a Senior Associate at Cambridge Systematics, and as the Transportation Advisor to Boston Mayor Kevin White. His community experience includes being a founding board member of the Missoula County Chapter of Montana Conservation Voters, Treasurer of the Five Valleys Audubon Society, a member of Missoula Advocates for Sustainable Transportation, past Vice Chairman of the Missoula Transportation Policy Coordinating Committee, past Board Chairman of the Mountain Line Transit System past member of the University District Neighborhood Council Leadership Team. Alex moved to Missoula upon retirement in 2004 and currently serves on the board of Bike/Walk Alliance for Missoula and the Missoula Food Bank, and the Montana Audubon Society. His policy objectives include “preserving a good portion of our lands through open space easements and purchases, providing our food and other resources locally, where possible, providing transportation options of driving, transit, biking and walking to workers and residents.” His opponents are Sean Ives and Paul Bohan. The latter sought MCV’s endorsement.
Missoula Ward 4 -- Caitlin Copple
Caitlin Copple, the Montana Regional Development Organizer for the Pride Foundation, brings tremendous community and non-partisan experience to her race. From Nampa, Idaho, she received a B.A. in History and International Political Economy from The College of Idaho, and then obtained her Master’s in Journalism from the University of Montana. She has also worked for the Montana Innocence Project and as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the YWCA Missoula. Copple has also volunteered for various organizations like NCBI Missoula, the GUTS! Program, Forward Montana, and Montana Women Vote. She is an advocate for maintaining our open spaces, smart growth, urban farming, buying local foods and alternative modes of transportation to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Copple faces incumbent Lyn Hellegaard, who received a 22% on the MCV Missoula City Scorecard and did not seek MCV’s endorsement.
Ward 6 City Councilman Ed Childers
Childers, retired, is running for his fourth term on the Missoula City Council where he currently serves as president. His broad experience includes service on the Montana League of Cities and Towns, Missoula Community Television Advisory Committee, Bitter Root Economic Development District, and the Missoula Saturday/People’s Market. Ed hopes to continue his service on the council and work to maintain and improve Missoula’s roads, parks, trails, sidewalks, bike lanes, and our open spaces. Ed faces a more difficult re-election with a three way race including Shane Stack, an engineer with the MT Department of Transportation, and Peggy Miller who operates a medicinal herb shop out of her house and sought MCV’s endorsement.
The six-person Whitefish City Council features elections in 3 seats elected at large with an open Mayoral seat. John Muhlfeld, who MCV endorsed for City Council in 2007, is now vacating his council seat to run for Mayor against Turner Askew who also vacated his council seat. The third seat is open because Ryan Friel, (MCV-endorsed in 2007) is not seeking re-election. MCV is endorsing 3 out of the 6 city council candidates for the 3 open seats, and a candidate for mayor. Mary Vail, Doug Wise and Life Noell are the other candidates and did not seek endorsement for the Whitefish City Council.
Mayor - Deputy Mayor John Muhlfeld
Muhlfeld is the current Deputy Mayor of Whitefish and a five-year veteran of the Whitefish City Council. John is the President and co-owner of River Design group, based in Whitefish and operating in Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. On the council, Muhlfield is the Vice Chairman of Whitefish Lakeshore Protection Committee and he counts water quality as one of his central campaign issue. He also serves on the Whitefish Trail Steering Committee, is a board member of the Whitefish Lake Institute, and is on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Path Committee. Muhlfield was originally appointed to the council in 2006. He hopes to continue his service to preserve the unique character of Whitefish, expand the local economy, and maintain the quality of the natural environment, especially water. Muhlfeld is a hydrologist and his company worked on the Miltown Dam reclamation project. He has a degree in hydrology and geosciences. In the mayoral race he faces Council member Turner Askew, who sought endorsement.
Contact John and contribute:
Mail: PO Box 4293, Whitefish, MT 59937
Phone: (406) 250-9301
Whitefish City Council -- Frank Sweeney
Frank Sweeney, who was appointed to the City Council in January of 2009 but lost his election that November, is an attorney who has lived in Whitefish for over ten years, during which time Frank was Chair of the Whitefish Planning Board, served on the Glacier Institute Board, was Chair of the Foys to Blacktail Trails and served on the planning committee for a Trail Runs Through It. Frank has also been a strong voice for water quality, standing up for the Lakeshore Regulations, the Critical Areas Ordinance and evaluating problems with existing septic systems and the city-owned facilities. He also supports the Growth Policy as a viable tool for encouraging infill development and preserving open space. He received his law degree from the University of Houston and has 30 years experience as an attorney.
Contact Frank and contribute:
Mail: 350 Lost Coon Trl, Whitefish, MT 59937
Phone: (406) 862-6451
Whitefish City Council -- John Anderson
John Anderson is the chairman of the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce, is a local business lawyer, and previously worked as a logger and held positions in engineering and operations of high-tech companies. John supports Whitefish’s growth policy and its vision for future growth and development and understands that water quality is critical component to the community’s long term economic viability. He is encouraged by the community’s resourcefulness and dedication to each other during the recent economic challenges, and is confident that the future holds more promise simply because of the people who live in Whitefish. Anderson sees Whitefish transitioning into a more diverse economy with opportunities in knowledge-based business and light manufacturing.
Contact John and contribute:
Mail: 2 Willow Brook Close, Whitefish, MT 59937
Phone: (406) 862-3922
Whitefish City Council -- Richard Hildner
Richard is a high school government teacher in Whitefish and has been a very proactive participant in Whitefish City Council meetings for many years lending him a clear, in depth knowledge of current and past city issues. He most recently helped coordinate the referendum that will allow Whitefish city voters to decide this fall whether to reverse the recently revised interlocal agreement for joint city-county governance of Whitefish’s two-mile “doughnut” area. Hildner is an ardent advocate for the City of Whitefish. He has defended water quality through the Critical Areas Ordinance, the Lake Shore Regulations and the projected Burlington Northern-Santa Fe clean up of oil sheen and responsible development and planning with the Whitefish Growth Policy.
Contact Richard and contribute:
Mail: 104 E. 5th St., Whitefish, MT 59937
Phone: (406) 862-2831
Kalispell has an eight member council comprised of two members elected from each four wards, with one person from each ward elected this year. MCV has only endorsed Randy Kenyon for Ward 3. Kalispell is also one of the few municipalities still conducting polling place elections.
Kalispell City Council, Ward 3 -- Councilman Randy Kenyon
Randy has lived, worked and been a homeowner exclusively in Kalispell for the past 33 years, and has been a member of area conservation groups for several years. Serving on the Council since 2001, he values community stewardship and good neighbor relations. He understands that the Flathead has seen great change, but does not want to risk allowing the growth and prosperity now enjoyed to jeopardize Kalispell’s outstanding natural assets. Kenyon was an endorsed candidate for his previous races for City Council and currently his opponent, Walter Keathly, has dropped out of the race, though his name will still appear on the ballot.
Contact Randy and contribute:
Mail: 403 7th Ave. W., Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-4362
The 5 member commission features 2 open seats elected at large. Five candidates are running for these two seats, Lisa Adams, Nancy Adkins, Tom Bitt, Mel Friedman, and Adam Stern.
Adam Stern, is the father of four young children, and an engineer for the Bozeman-based optics company Resonon Inc., He graduated from MSU in 2001. He brings community experience including service on the Livingston’s Urban Renewal Agency (URA), Planning Board, and Urban Transportation Committee. As Secretary of the URA, he has helped developed long-term infrastructure improvement plans, and helped implement a downtown Street Arts Program, and a Parking Lot Improvement Program which installs trees into downtown parking lots. “These projects are tangible efforts at economic development,” Stern said. “They were designed to increase revenues into our community, enhance the downtown district for local shoppers and tourists alike, and funnel funds off I-90 into our businesses.” He coaches youth sports in soccer and baseball, and is also the Teeball League Director. In 2009 he formed the Livingston Ice Skating Association, which built Livingston's first and only ice hockey rink. His wife practices family medicine at Community Health Partners in downtown Livingston.
Contact Adam and contribute:
Mail: 208 S. F Street, Livingston, MT 59047
Paid for by Montana Conservation Voters Political Action Committee:
PO Box 63 Billings, MT 59103. Tracy Lakatua, Treasurer.