Heights voters will select the successor to Councilwoman Angela Cimmino on Nov. 7: Either Frank Ewalt or Roger Gravgaard. Ewalt campaigned unsuccessfully for the Ward 2 seat two years ago; this is Gravgaard’s first run for public office.
A retired firefighter who now works in construction, Ewalt told The Gazette editorial board that he would bring a different perspective to the council. A 40-year Heights resident, Ewalt brings great knowledge of that area and the city. However, in less than an hour, he repeatedly told us about slights the Heights has suffered over the years and projects that were stymied long ago by lack of broader support. That sort of complaining is unlikely to move the Heights forward on an 11-member council representing the entire city.
Gravgaard works in sales after settling in the Heights in 2000. Before that, he taught and coached football in Glendive.
Gravgaard has experience in organizing people for projects, such as last summer’s Optimist District convention, and in negotiating consensus between colleagues as the head of a teachers’ association in Glendive.
Ewalt is especially concerned about gangs in Billings, but he said that more police won’t solve the problem because courts are lenient with offenders.
Gravgaard told a candidate forum audience last month that he is running for public safety and street improvements. He is concerned about Montana Avenue crosswalks that are hard to see and don’t seem to stop traffic.
“My No. 1 issue is safety,” Gravgaard told the editorial board. That includes relieving some pressure on Main Street, sidewalks to Medicine Crow Middle School, completion of the Inner Belt Loop, bike safety and trails.
Gravgaard also wants to encourage infill development in the Heights.
Both Ward 2 candidates are friendly, talkative, longtime Heights residents who have contributed to our community. But to get things done for Ward 2, we recommend Gravgaard. He is looking ahead to the future of the Heights while Ewalt is looking back. For more effective government that will build the infrastructure the Heights needs, put Gravgaard to work for Ward 2.