Mike Cooney

As Montana’s former lieutenant governor I don’t generally weigh in on local political races, but this situation is different.

Missoula is a city I love, and Mayor Jordan Hess is a leader I trust and respect.

Talk to him for a few minutes and it’s clear that Jordan’s enthusiasm for Missoula and all that makes it great is genuine. You also realize that he’s thoughtful, kind and as smart as a whip.  He truly loves his job and is deeply committed to it.

I grew up in Butte and, like Mayor Hess (who grew up in Helena), fell in love with Missoula while I was a student at the University of Montana. I had some previous ties to town, too: My grandparents lived in the home that now serves as Sussex School. Missoula has always been special to me, and remains so.

Jordan, like so many UM graduates I’m envious of, opted to stay in Missoula. I don’t blame him. Your city has so much to offer. But Jordan has done a lot more than simply enjoy the pleasures of living in your community, he’s worked hard to give back to it through his 10 years of public service.

Jordan has been an innovative and creative leader for Missoula. While on City Council, he helped create Montana’s first local Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which has helped build hundreds of homes Missoulians can afford, including housing for our veterans. In a tight budget climate, he’s also been skilled at leveraging outside dollars to Missoula’s advantage, including tens of millions of dollars to build new roads, water mains and sewer lines.

He also was a key supporter in Missoula’s fight to gain control over its water utility, which has paid off in greater accountability to ratepayers while safeguarding Missoula’s water for future generations.

Mayor Hess is committed to helping Missoula stay strong and resilient in the face of climate change. As transportation director at UM, he helped introduce electric buses to Missoula and, as mayor, he is keeping the City of Missoula on track to achieve 100% clean electricity by 2030.

As a former state leader, I’m impressed by the way Mayor Hess continues to stand up for Missoula in the face of a hostile state legislature. He called legislators out for their shameful treatment of Rep. Zooey Zephyr and their hateful attacks on Montana’s LGBTQ+ citizens.

Mayor Hess also is fighting to reform Montana’s broken tax system, which puts undue pressure on homeowners. The legislature has prevented Montana cities and towns from tapping into tourist dollars as a way to provide tax relief to local residents, and Mayor Hess is working with his fellow mayors and others across the state to help change that.

If elected, Mayor Hess will continue to stand up for Missoula’s interests and values. That’s good not just for Missoulians, but for our entire state. I firmly believe that a strong Missoula is good for Montana. For that reason, I urge you to vote for Jordan Hess for mayor.

Mike Cooney served as  lieutenant governor of Montana from 2015 to 2020. He previously served in the Montana House of Representatives (1977–1981), as the secretary of state of Montana (1989–2001), and in the Montana Senate (2003–2011).