Prosperity

Job creation can be fostered through recruitment and cultivation of existing assets. Retention is a matter of discovering barriers and attempting to surmount them consist with community values. Missoula’s efforts at this have historically been unfocused and inadequate to the task, as the Garner Economics and NCDS reports commissioned by the Best Place Project revealed. Establishing the Missoula Economic Partnership throught the Best Place Project will focus and intensify our efforts to get the basics of recruitment, retention and entrepreneurship right; the effort has raised $2.3 million so far, including $100,000 appropriated in the FY11 city budget and pledges from a broad spectrum of local businesses and institutions. The strategies outlined at bestplaceproject.com emphasize Missoula’s educated workforce, high quality of life and impressive open spaces. These attributes kept me in Missoula when I finished my graduate degree and eventually led me to found a small business so I could afford to stay here; they have the same appeal to businesses that are the right fit for a city that doesn’t have to sell itself cheap to prosper. While the City plays a role in facilitating business development by coordinating economic development grant applications for businesses like Advanced Technology Group and Rivertop Renewables that are adding jobs, the City more crucially stewards the built environment and community assets that persuaded the leaders of those companies choose to locate their workforce here.

Transportation

Transportation systems cannot be isolated from the land-use patterns they inhabit. Bettering Missoula’s transportation system requires prudently planning growth. When we do build roads, the roads should accommodate all modes of traffic and make possible the broadest array of transportation options while preserving the utility of roads for automobile drivers, who have an essential interest in a robust transportation network.

Roads are not the only answer either. Addressing Missoula's transportation future will require an integrated network of bike lanes and trails, expanded bus service and, eventually, interlocal rail service. Also important are comprehensive neighborhood plans: residents should be able to live, work, shop and recreate near their home. As Reserve Street demonstrates, building bigger roads to bigger shopping centers simply creates bigger traffic jams.

Growth

Missoula is growing for good reason: the city is a great place to live. Keeping it so means connecting the daily process of policy making with our long-term goals and values. Missoula’s open spaces, environmental quality, community-oriented development, and commercial prosperity all depend on a commitment to choosing better than lowest common denominator policies. The tools are there. City Council must embrace the work of shaping growth with zoning regulations, design standards and long-term land-use planning. I am running to represent Ward One on the next Missoula City Council because I want to keep Missoula the sort of place we love right on into the future.

Housing

As Missoula grows, so should its commitment to housing residents of every economic status. Affordable housing means, at a minimum, that a family ought to be able to afford suitable living quarters on no more than 30 percent of their household income. More importantly, and less technically, affordable housing means the people who power Missoula’s economy and community ought to be able to live here with the reasonable hope of purchasing a stake in the future of our city by buying a home.

There's more than one way to make this commitment. A highlight of the 2005-07 council session was unanimous approval for the new Mill Site Special Zoning District. As yet, though, none of 900-some residential units to be built are designated for affordable housing. An ordinance requiring affordable housing to be built as part of market-rate development would implement Missoula’s commitment to housing that works for everyone.

Answering Missoula's housing needs will require more than just ordinances. Land-trust housing facilitates initial investments by lower-income residents in rising real estate markets, enabling equity accumulation that keeps those residents in the market for a lifetime. The city should encourage such projects, which the North Missoula Community Development Corporation has already successfully pioneered in Missoula. Urban renewal plans—starting with the downtown riverfront—present our next best chance to open the Missoula housing market to all residents.

Communication

As a member of City Council, I have fostered communications within the council and with my constituents by being active, being available and being articulate.

My original campaign originated in my long-standing participation in municipal government. As an alderman, I have continued to attend the broadest array of public events so that I may hear and understand what matters most to the residents of Ward One and all Missoulians. Using the skills honed in my prior work as a financial analyst and journalist, I have identified and articulated the issues most important to municipal government through repeated opinion pieces in local newspapers.

To have a stake in their government’s success, Missoulians need to know what their government does and why. As an alderman, my highest responsibility will be to help the people I serve understand the connections between City Council policy decisions and the deeply-held values of our community.

Agriculture

I support sustainable local agriculture as a volunteer farm hand, home gardener, community organizer and enthusiastic eater. I have long volunteered with Garden City Harvest, I subscribe to a community supported agriculture “wintershare,” I shop at the farmers’ markets, and have helped to design a website for the new Missoula Community Market. Even in winter much of the food I eat is preserved from the fall harvest.

As a member of the Missoula City Council, I will support local agriculture by protecting vital working lands from development pressures. This means growing smarter and more sustainably—measures we need to maintain our quality of life and connection to our community. On this subject, I support an ordinance to allow city residents to raise hens for meat and eggs.