Two more candidates have filed for seats on the Billings City Council, making for competitive races in at least two wards this year.
Mike Yakawich, chairman of the Southside Task Force, has filed to run in Ward 1, where Councilman Jim Ronquillo is stepping down because of term limits.
Information technology consultant Darin "Shaun" Brown has filed to run in Ward 5, which has already drawn one other candidate.
The other candidate in Ward 1 is Angelo Bianco, who is retired from active service in the military. Yakawich is the owner of Yakawich Gifts and retired two years ago as pastor of the Family Church, which he founded.
He also serves on several boards, including the Suicide Prevention Coalition for Yellowstone County, and he is the organizer of the annual March Against Drugs and Violence. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2009.
In Ward 5, the incumbent is Mark Astle, who was appointed to the position to fill a vacancy in 2008, then won a four-year term during the 2009 elections. He said Tuesday that he will not seek re-election.
"I think six years is long enough," he said.
Brown is director of operations for Morrison-Maierle Systems Corp., which provides computer, network and web services. He is making his first run for elective office.
He said he doesn't have a particular agenda, but would like to "get back to common sense" in dealing with problems facing the city.
The other candidate in Ward 5 is Dennis Ulvestad, a former chairman of the West End Task Force who is making his third run for that seat.
Mayor Tom Hanel has already filed for re-election and has no challengers so far. Two incumbent council members are also running again, with no challengers as yet. Angela Cimmino is seeking re-election in Ward 2 and Rich McFadden in Ward 3.
Alvin Swanson is making his first run for office in Ward 4, where the incumbent, Ed Ulledalen, is term-limited out.
Municipal Court Judge Sheila Kolar is also running unchallenged so far.
The deadline to file for the City Council election is June 27.
If a primary election is needed it will be held Sept. 10. There will be a primary only if there are five or more candidates in any one race or four candidates in half the contested races.
The general election is set for Nov. 5.
There are five wards in the city, each with two representatives serving four-year terms. One representative of each ward is up for election in each biennial election. The mayor, who is a voting member of the council, also serves a four-year term.