Missoula City Council to interview 8 applicants for Ward 2 seat

Ward 2 includes the fast-growing area on either side of Mullan Road, on Missoula’s western edge.

Eight of nine applicants for the Missoula City Council’s open Ward 2 seat survived the first round of cuts Monday night.

Only Lailah Jannell, a self-described entrepreneur and child-care provider, was not given an interview.

Council members did not express their reasons for selecting one applicant over another on Monday. Instead, they each said the name of one person they wanted to interview from the list of nine who applied to fill Ruth Ann Swaney’s seat.

Swaney has resigned effective Nov. 7, and intends to move back home to North Dakota to work in the tribal education department for the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation.

Ward 2 includes city neighborhoods west of North Russell Street, including Pleasant View, 44 Ranch and Flynn Ranch, Ranch Club Estates, Grant Creek and Missoula’s Westside. Here’s a link to the ward map.

Here are the applicants who were selected, as well as the date and time of their interview with the City Council’s Committee of the Whole and information from their application. All interviews are conducted in Council Chambers and are open to the public.

Swaney’s successor will be selected during the regular City Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 6. (There is no council meeting next Monday, Oct. 30.)

Jason Krumbeck: A physical therapist for the U.S. Public Health Service on the Flathead Reservation, Krumbeck has lived in Missoula and Ward 2 for two years, 11 months. He is a Special Olympics of Montana volunteer and recently completed a year as director of membership services for the Montana Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association.

“My interest is in representing the constituents of this ward and their unique concerns,” Krumbeck wrote. “This is a district with a large number of young families and is mostly a working class area of Missoula. I hope to strike a balance between finding long-term, high-return investments in the city, and avoiding unnecessary property tax increases. I would also like to look into efforts to shift the tax base away from a dependence on property taxes so that the city can have the funding it needs without pricing people out of Missoula. This would give the city more flexibility and improving affordability.”

Krumbeck will be interviewed at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Mirtha Becerra: A Ward 2 resident for the past 12 years, Becerra is a land use and transportation planner. She has served as a board member and president of Homeword.

Here are the reasons why Becerra said she wants to be appointed to the council: “I have called Missoula my home for the past 15 years and have been a homeowner in Ward 2 for more than a decade.

“I have witnessed the changes in our community and would like to use my professional experience as a tool for guiding future development in Ward 2 and the community at large. I believe Ward 2 is a unique and diverse area that has and will continue to face issues regarding transportation, natural resource conservation, business and affordable housing development. Working more closely with the community on these issues is something I have always been interested in.”

Becerra will be interviewed at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Mark Storud: A semi-retired employee of the Ranch Club Golf Course, Mark Storud has lived in Ward 2 for 22 years. His community service work includes United Way, Habitat for Humanity and Little Grizzly football. He was the stadium announcer for  Big Sky High School football games for seven years.

Storud said he wants to be on the City Council “to represent the people of Ward 2 and Missoula. It is my hope to be the voice of the citizens residing within Ward 2 and Missoula, and to help shape and keep Missoula one of the best places to live. To work together to make Missoula not only a great place to live and raise a family, but also a place where businesses want to do business as well.”

Storud will be interviewed at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Jay Arthur Raines: A retiree, Jay Arthur Raines has lived in Ward 2 for three years.

Raines said he has “the unique advantage of having started off life as a female and have now transitioned to male, so I have the experience of being and working with both. I am involved and support my community. I am good at working with others and know the art of compromise.

“I look forward to working to keep Missoula a wonderful place to raise a family as well as a wonderful safe place to go to college and then to work in and ultimately to retire in while also making it a travel destination. Missoula has the potential to be the best garden city in the world.”

Raines will be interviewed at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Ronald Barker: A Ward 2 resident since July, Barker is an addiction and mental health counselor for the Missoula Assessment and Sanctions Center of the state Department of Corrections, Probation and Parole.

He is on the board of the Poverello Center, is a member of Missoula Lodge No. 13, and a member of the Missoula County Veteran Treatment Court, where works with mentors to provide education on the mental health and addiction issues faced by veterans.

“Missoula is one of the most beautiful and unique cities I have ever lived in,” Barker wrote. “To me, it quickly became home and allowed me to plant my roots and raise a family a six. With such a beautiful city, it comes with its set of challenges common to many U.S. cities. Where I lack in financial knowledge, I gain in understanding many critical populations in the city – especially the impoverished, veteran, addiction/mental health riddled and criminal justice populations over a variety of races. I also have access to many resources and contacts to bridge the gap in access to services.”

Barker will be interviewed by the City Council at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Jim Polk: A teacher at Arlee High School, Jim Polk is a 12-year resident of Ward 2. This is his last year of teaching, he said. He has worked as a classroom and coaching volunteer at Hellgate Elementary School as well.

“I have lived in this part of Missoula for 12 years,” Polk wrote. “We have many friends, family and neighbors that we care about and would like to serve. I have grandchildren that go to school in this district. I have worked in schools for the past 26 years and am concerned with the quality of schools and community that Missoula provides for our children, let alone my own grandkids. I like to be informed on issues and be involved. I will do my best for Ward 2 and Missoula.”

Polk will be interviewed at 12:05 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

Jack Metcalf: Previously a candidate for the Ward 2 City Council seat, Metcalf withdrew from the race against Swaney this past summer. Now he has applied for appointment to the vacant seat. He has lived in Ward 2 for two and a half years, and works at the University of Montana and Al and Vic’s Bar, and is a self-employed artist.

Metcalf is very involved in a number of community groups: “In addition to solely directing and funding a community art center (Real Good Art Space), my interests are diverse and I regularly volunteer/support the following local organizations: North Missoula Community Development Corporation, Missoula Art Museum, Zootown Arts Community Center, Home Resource, The Roxy Theater, Boys and girls Club of Missoula, KBGA College Radio, KUFM Montana Public Broadcasting, Clay Studio of Missoula, Hellgate Rollergirls, Missoula Downtown Association, Ecology Project International, Conscious Pursuits.”

He explained his interest in serving on the council in this way: “My teaching experience, community involvement, and even my retail customer service experiences have exposed me to a broader cross-section of real Missoula – a more diverse spectrum of the people who live here. As a single father and homeowner with a modest income in Ward 2, I’d serve my constituents with open ears, and feel my experience credentials me as a strong and empathetic candidate for City Council. I am invested, both financially and emotionally, in Ward 2. I would be honored to guide our future to a place where all residents can succeed in this extremely class-diverse ward.”

Metcalf will be interviewed at 12:35 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

Madison Schroeder: An insurance salesperson, Madison Schroeder grew up in Missoula and has only left once briefly – to play golf on scholarship at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. She missed Missoula, though, and returned here to complete her degree at the University of Montana.

“My name may sound familiar as I did originally file to run for the office of mayor,” Schroeder wrote. “I did withdraw my candidacy in order to endorse Lisa Triepke. I have since removed myself from assisting with her campaign. I would be glad to speak with you more regarding this issue. The bottom line is I do love my community and want to help foster the growth and care of Missoulians. I grew up here and have seen immense change, experiencing it first-hand as a child and as an adult. Ward 2 needs a strong voice. I will represent the daily realities of Ward 2 by advocating with my neighbor Jordan Hess.”

Hess is the other representative of Ward 2. At Monday’s meeting, he advocated that council members advance all nine of the applicants to the interview stage.

Schroeder, too, lists many community groups on her resume: “I currently serve as an executive board member for Boys & Girls Club of Missoula County and am extremely proud to do so. I am on the subcommittee for their annual giving campaign as well. I have also volunteered with Flagship at Lowell Elementary, for Special Olympics Montana.”

Schroeder will be interviewed at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1

A majority vote of the entire City Council membership is required for an applicant to be appointed. The term of office will begin upon the swearing in of the council’s appointee.

Swaney was appointed to the council seat in January, after former councilman Harlan Wells moved to Helena to take a job in state government. Her name will appear on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, as her resignation came after the ballots were printed.

It was also too late for anyone to file for the seat as a write-in candidate.

The Ward 2 seat will again be on the city general election ballot in November 2019, open to all qualified candidates. The person elected in 2019 will serve a four-year term of office that will begin on the first Monday in January 2020.

City Council members are paid $1,249.23 per month, plus city benefits.