I have seen Jeff Essmann’s billboards around town, touting his “real leadership” and “real results.” So let’s talk about those things.

As a leader in the Republican Party and the Montana Legislature, Essmann aligned himself with extreme right wing ideologues and proven lawbreakers Art Wittich and Jason Priest, putting wealthy and dark-money interests ahead of the interests of ordinary Montanans. His leadership style is partisan and divisive.

And as for results? Under Essmann’s “leadership” our state unnecessarily spent over $750,000 to hold last year’s Congressional election, because Essmann opposed a mail ballot because he thought it would benefit Democrats. So much for fiscal responsibility. Essmann also tried to suppress voting by forbidding anyone from picking up and delivering ballots for elderly or disabled persons. While he was their leader, Republicans refused to pass a much needed infrastructure bill, supported legislation that would harm the most vulnerable among us — kids in foster care, disabled persons, and veterans — and squeezed our education system while taking care of wealthy out of state cronies.

The mayor’s job is supposed to be non-partisan. Realistically, most everyone identifies as either Republican or Democrat, but Essmann does so with a vengeance. He is a divisive and ideologically driven politician and cannot be trusted to fairly represent our city.

Republicans have an alternative to Essmann in Bill Cole, a respected lawyer who holds conservative views on social issues but who is not an extreme career politician like Essmann.

Anyone but Essmann!

Karen Jarussi