As a fourth-generation Billings resident, I would be honored to serve as mayor. It matters who the mayor is, and that’s why I’m running. Decisions made by the city in the next few years will affect the daily life of every Billings resident and the city’s ability to thrive in changing times. The city needs a leader with courage, innovative ideas, and vision to help guide these decisions.
I envision a Billings that is one of the finest small cities in America ― a beautiful, healthy, diverse, prosperous place designed and managed for one purpose: to provide an excellent quality of life for its citizens.
How do we get there? The Chamber of Commerce’s strategic priorities for economic development (e.g., improving air service, developing “River to Rims” parks and attractions, strengthening the workforce, and improving convention space) are an important part of the answer.
In addition, we must address three issues now at a tipping point ─ urban growth, equality, and our ability to live in a sustainable way ─ that are fundamental to the success of all other efforts. These are quality of life issues increasingly cited by businesses, millennials, medical professionals and visitors to our city as determining issues for where they choose to live, work, travel and invest.
The future essence of Billings depends upon how we grow. Will we be a compact, efficient city that is livable, manageable, and cost-effective? Or will we repeat the mistakes others have made, growing through widely spread, low-density development? Such development doesn’t generate enough tax revenue to pay for the cost of required city services; we all subsidize it with our tax dollars. It’s a growth pattern the city simply cannot afford. As mayor, I will be a strong leader on growth issues, working with the City Council, city departments, developers, neighborhoods, and residents for compact, cohesive development that supports economic growth AND preserves our landscape and quality of life.
Billings is the only major Montana city without a nondiscrimination ordinance, or NDO. As mayor, I will actively support an NDO to address discrimination not covered by state law. Without an NDO, we are at a competitive disadvantage. Across the country, cities have lost convention and tourism business due to discriminatory practices and intolerance. In light of events in Charlottesville, Virginia, it’s more important than ever to stand against discrimination and hate; every resident of Billings deserves to feel safe and welcome.
Lastly, as resources become more scarce, Billings must become a more sustainable, “green” city. As mayor, I will encourage development of a comprehensive plan to conserve land, water, energy, and materials in city operations and facilities, and to help residents cut their personal resource use. This would include considering options for citywide recycling through public/private partnership and other means.
My knowledge and experience, including the following, set me apart as the right person to get the job done on these issues for Billings:
• Nationally recognized architect, urban planner and green building expert
• Downtown developer of residential, restaurant, retail and office space
• “A” grade for support of Chamber of Commerce strategic priorities
• Chamber’s highest award for civic leadership for work on urban growth, historic preservation, economic development, and other issues
• Founder, High Plains Architects
• SBA Montana Small Business Person of Year
• 25 years working with city government on building design, city planning and local development
I would deeply appreciate your vote in the Sept. 12 primary election for mayor. Let’s work together to make our city even better than it is today. Let’s be extraordinary!