This city election, Billings is fortunate to have a number of excellent candidates for the position of mayor. Unfortunately, Jeff Essmann is not one of them.
One need only look to his record in the Legislature where he has repeatedly demonstrated his lack of support of Billings interests. His unfortunate success in killing a bill which would have allowed for all mail-in ballots in the last statewide special election cost the citizens of Billings and every county in Montana, for that matter, thousands of unnecessary dollars. The vast majority of country election departments, including Yellowstone County's, strongly supported the all mail-in issue. Unfortunately, this seemingly didn't concern Essman, fiscal conservative that he claims to be, in the least.
Of course, the real reason Essmann opposed the all mail-in ballot was his blatant and uncompromising partisan belief that it would harm his own party's chances in the upcoming election. We have every reason to believe that Essmann would bring the same toxic partisanship and rancor to city politics that is currently tearing this country apart, to city government. We don't need that in Billings. Just as troubling was Essman's opposition in the Legislature to a local-option tax which would allow the citizens of Billings to tax themselves, based on citizen input and vote, to improve their city in any number of positive ways.
Curiously, it appears Essmann has no confidence in the people of Billings determining their own expenditures and quality of life, yet he purports to trust them to vote for him for mayor. A glaring contraction if ever there was one.
Honestly, folks, if you want Billings to continue on a positive and progressive path in city government, you won't vote for Jeff Essmann for mayor. You have far better choices.
Gerald R. Kessler