I am honored to have the chance – the chance for a mom, wife, friend, small business owner, and citizen – to make a difference in our city.

Ward 4 is made up of the academic centers of Rocky Mountain College and Montana State University Billings as well as residential neighborhoods of professionals, retirees, and families. Economic development and safety are the biggest concerns. Ward 4 residents want a thriving economy, safe streets, good schools, and a welcoming community. They appreciate higher learning and opportunities for growth and innovation. Ward 4 residents are always looking towards the future as they think of their professional careers as well as the opportunities for their kids and grandkids. They see Billings the way that I do: as a place for everyone – from babies to seniors. Our two elementary school-aged children are my inspiration for running for City Council. They drive me to work hard for their future so that they may have a city that offers more than just family ties.

Let me tell you a little bit of my background. I have a BA from Washington University in St. Louis, a MBA from the University of Cincinnati, and a masters in project management from the University of Chicago. I have been here for 11 years. We moved to Montana because we wanted to raise our children in a place that loved the outdoors.

We moved to Billings because we had the chance to own a private practice in health care. Prior to being a small business owner, I worked as a consultant and project manager in many different industries: energy, retail, construction, telecom, and insurance. Throughout all those experiences, I know what it takes to run successful initiatives – a clear vision and business case, facts, cost analysis, stakeholder management, communication, and a most importantly: risk management.

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I am not afraid of conflict, nor am I afraid of compromise. I am excited to bring these attributes to City Council to help resolve issues thoughtfully and effectively.

Essentially, we should emphasize initiatives that keep our city safe, encourage economic development, attract and retain talent for our workforce, and keep our city manageable, livable, and relevant to all ages. In order to do this, we need to think strategically and not reactively. We need to capitalize on the industries that are going well and identify new opportunities for growth. We know that 40,000 people are heading towards retirement in the next 10 years. Who will fill the shoes? How will we ensure our city’s economic viability? I support One Big Sky District that looks to build up our hospital corridor, support options for residential housing, as well as open the possibility for new industries such as tourism and technology.

We must drive decisions based on the city vision, analysis, and risk. If we do the heavy lifting now so that we can translate risk into opportunity. With smart, strategic planning and communication, we can effectively mitigate risk. With a clear vision, we can strategically incorporate concerns about public safety, economic development, infrastructure, recreation and community in a way that is proactive and saves the community money versus a reactive approach that responds with mill levies, ineffective communication, and confusion.

Years from now, when my kids are adults, I want them to consciously decide to move back to Billings — not only because their family is here but because the city continues to be a great place to establish roots, enjoy the community, and celebrate the beloved natural landscapes that have defined their Montana experience.

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Opinion Editor

Opinion editor for The Billings Gazette.