Jeff Essmann, candidate for mayor of Billings, does not embody the spirit of our Billings City Charter. In their collective wisdom, the framers of our charter and the people of Billings created a non-partisan form of city government. This way of operating has helped the Magic City avoid the partisan controversy that we see in the U.S. Congress and the Montana Legislature. Because of the way we operate, the mayor and the city council are able to discuss and resolve important issues from a common-sense point of view instead of from the point of view of any political party. Jeff Essmann has been extremely partisan in official statements and his attitude is not appropriate for the mayor of Billings.

When the State of Montana was facing a special Congressional election earlier this year, Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Great Falls, introduced legislation to allow mail-in ballots. Rep. Jeff Essmann, who was serving as Chair of the Montana Republican Party, actively worked against the idea. Essmann felt that such legislation would enable more Montanans to vote, and if more Montanans vote it would give Democrats an advantage. Even though prominent Republicans refuted Essmann's opinion, Essmann was successful in defeating legislation to allow more Montanans to vote.

The City of Billings does not need a mayor who works against encouraging more citizens to vote. We do not need a highly partisan mayor who would work against common-sense solutions proposed by common-sense Republicans and Democrats.

Jeff Essmann does not embody the spirit of our Billings City Charter. Do not entrust Jeff Essmann with the leadership of our beautiful city.

Jim Larson