Two-term Billings City Council member Angela Cimmino has announced her candidacy for mayor, the sixth person to file for the Sept. 12 primary election.
Cimmino, 57, has been dealing in recent months with the sickness and ultimate death of her son Dan, a 28-year-old former television newsman.
“With the filing deadline looming, I knew it was my son’s wish for me to continue,” she said by telephone Thursday. “He said, ‘Mom, it’s time for you to carry on the Cimmino name.’ In a time of mourning, I see this campaign as an amazing opportunity. I know I will work hard and that it will be good therapy for me.”
“I jumped off a cliff the other day,” she said of her decision to enter the race. “The support and love of family and friends will be my parachute. I am going to go for it.”
Cimmino said she plans to return to Billings following her son’s second memorial service, to be held in Orlando, Florida, on June 24.
Dan Cimmino did reporting for television stations in Billings, Missoula, Los Angeles and Orlando.
She said she’s “ecstatic” that, to date, 17 people have filed for mayor or one of five open city council seats.
“That tells me our citizens are engaged in the community,” she said. “I’m not running against any one candidate. I am running in support of our community, because I believe Billings is on the brink of explosive growth and I’m enthusiastic about the opportunities for new businesses coming to town.”
Also in the race for mayor are spiritual adviser, musician and producer Danielle Egnew; Realtor Danny Sandefur; Bill Cole, an attorney; former Republican Party Chairman Jeff Essmann; and Randy Hafer, of High Plains Architects.
Cimmino is single and is retired from an engineering firm. “I’m a full-time homemaker and advocate, devoted to my family and my community,” she said.
Noting that 43 people have been mayor of Montana's largest city — all of them men — Cimmino said her campaign theme will be “history in the making.”
In a news release announcing her decision to enter the race to succeed the term-limited Tom Hanel, Cimmino said her main goals “include supporting all residents, public safety, transportation, parks and trails projects, and collaborating with organizations promoting economic development.”
She said she’s been “encouraged by many constituents over the years to pursue continued service.”
Two candidates for each contested council seat and the two top vote-getters in the mayoral primary will make their way into the Nov. 7 general election.
The filing deadline is Monday.