Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) The field of candidates vying to become Missoula's next mayor grew deeper on Thursday when Andrea Davis announced her intent to run for the job.

Davis, who serves as the executive director of Homeword, joins current Mayor Jordan Hess and city council member Mike Nugent in seeking the post.

“What excites me most about serving Missoula as the next mayor is that I will bring my working knowledge of sustainable home solutions, transportation services, and economic development expertise to ensure that all Missoulians have a prosperous future,” Davis said in a statement announcing her campaign.

After the passing of the late mayor John Engen, the Missoula City Council named Hess as his immediate replacement. As such, Hess will hold the post until voters select a new candidate this November.

The winning candidate will serve the remainder of Engen's term, which expires in two years. Whoever wins the race in 2025 will serve a full term as the city's mayor.

In announcing her candidacy, Davis spoke of her experience as the director of Homeword – a nonprofit focused on building affordable housing. The organization has built or preserved more than 1,300 homes in 13 communities.

Davis also spent five years at the Missoula Housing Authority working as the director of planning and development. She currently serves as chair of Neighborworks Montana, which provides lending and preservation of manufactured homes.

Davis said affordable housing was the biggest issue facing the city, along with childcare.

“Housing and childcare are both foundational to economic development,” said Davis. “We’re making progress on the former. We need to do more to improve childcare options for working parents.”

Like Davis, Hess and Nugent have also campaigned on the need for affordable housing. The issue remains a central challenge in Missoula, which has seen the gap between median incomes and housing prices widen in recent years.

All three candidates also have expressed their support for public transportation. Davis has served on the board of directors for Mountain line and supported Zero Fare and the expansion of transit services.

“Mountain Line is a vital piece of our community infrastructure,” Davis said. “Along with a fresh perspective, I have the experience and skills to successfully lead Missoula forward.”