Subscribe for 17¢ / day

For the fifth time since 2009, Dennis Ulvestad will seek a Ward 5 seat on the Billings City Council.

Ulvestad, a member of the city’s Zoning Commission, lost City Council races in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015.

In a news release issued Tuesday, Ulvestad noted he’s also chaired the West End Task Force and co-chaired the city's Animal Control Board.

On Thursday, candidates can begin filing for mayor or for one of five council positions being contested. The deadline to file for the Sept. 12 primary election, if it’s required, is June 19.

The filing fee is one percent of the office holder’s annual salary — $92 for mayor and $72 for City Council members. Terms are four years; the mayor and council members are limited to serving two consecutive terms.

Mayor Tom Hanel and a pair of council members, Angela Cimmino and Rich McFadden, are term limited.

Three council members — Shaun Brown in Ward 5, Al Swanson in Ward 4 and Mike Yakawich in Ward 1 — are eligible to seek re-election in 2017 after serving a single four-year term. Yakawich has indicated he'll seek re-election.

Bret Rutherford, Yellowstone County elections administrator, said the presence of five candidates in any one of the six Billings City Council or mayoral races would automatically trigger a primary election, as would four candidates filing for three or more of the six races.

The general election, which could include a race for municipal court judge, is Nov. 7.

In his news release, Ulvestad said his first priorities if elected will be “to get a program in place” to remove snow from secondary streets, complete “the greatly needed Inner Belt Loop” and ensure that priority-based budgeting “is used properly.”

The city’s budgeting process includes ranking projects and programs to help ensure adequate funding for those items receiving the highest scores.

In a phone call, he said he’s been learning about the job he seeks during each election cycle and by frequently attending council meetings.

He said he was his wife Cille’s caregiver during the last two years of her life before her death in 2015.

“After she passed, I felt I could pay more attention to running for office,” he said. “When I ran before, I think her health greatly affected me. This time, I believe I will win. I am confident because I can put more focus on getting the job.”

Ulvestad was born in Glasgow and moved to Billings with his family in 1957. He’s a 1968 graduate of Billings West High School.

He served in the U.S. Navy for two years during the Vietnam War era. Following his service, he earned an associate degree in business management from Dawson Community College in Glendive.

He was twice elected to be senior vice commander of VFW Post 1634.

He has three children and 11 grandchildren.

Subscribe to Daily Headlines

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.


City Government Reporter

City reporter for The Billings Gazette.