Missoula County Board of Commissioners

As your Missoula County commissioners, we know a thing or two about the importance of partnerships. Over the years, we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of city-county working relationships across Montana and have witnessed far too many examples of Montana’s 56 counties where county and municipal relations are poor and unproductive. Thankfully, under the leadership of Mayor Jordan Hess, this is not the case.

The coordination, collaboration, and partnership between the city of Missoula and Missoula County are at an all-time high. In fact, because of the leadership of Mayor Hess, Missoula and Missoula County stand out as one of the best examples of local government teamwork in the entire state, which is important, since the challenges shouldered by local government have never been greater. Here are a few examples.

Several years ago, the three of us traveled to Washington, DC, with Jordan and others to make our case to Congress for infrastructure grant funding. We were successful, securing a $13 million federal BUILD grant that literally paved the way for housing in the area between Mullan Road and West Broadway—housing that is being constructed as we speak and will make a significant dent in our projected need for housing over the next twenty years. None of this happens overnight. But rather than wringing his hands, Mayor Hess is consistently willing to roll up his sleeves and get to work with Missoula County and community partners.

Mayor Hess brings a wealth of transportation experience to the city. He chairs the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Policy Coordinating Committee, which is the gatekeeper for federal transportation funds flowing into the Missoula urban area. His experience working in transit at the University, and on transportation with the city of Missoula, have demonstrated his willingness to work across jurisdictional lines with the county on projects that benefit all Missoulians.

And if you agree with us that passenger rail is a component of Missoula’s transportation future, Mayor Hess is without a doubt the candidate to support. Mayor Hess has been a statewide leader on passenger rail expansion and he understands how important it is from an environmental, economic, and transportation equity standpoint to connect Missoula to the broader region and nation via rail. This is not wishful thinking. We recently traveled to Boise, Idaho, with Mayor Hess to participate in a meeting with the Federal Railroad Administration regarding potential reestablishment of Amtrak service through Missoula, and the presence of a Montana mayor—our mayor—in this discussion was critical.

We could go on with the long list of issues we’re tackling with Mayor Hess, from housing to houselessness, to climate change and clean electricity, to economic development and overhauling antiquated regulations and land-use codes. We obviously have a long way to go on some of these, but building upon our successes, in partnership with Mayor Hess, is key.

We consider a number of Mayor Hess’s opponents our friends, and Missoula is blessed to have an abundance of good candidates running for office. That said, as we know from working with Mayor Hess on a daily basis, many of the initiatives his opponents embrace are not novel and are initiatives currently supported and being implemented by Mayor Hess.

Mayor Hess is someone we trust. He’s humble, kind, smart, creative, and an excellent listener. He is exactly the leader we need at this moment in time and we can’t think of anyone we’d rather work with to keep Missoula the brightest star in Montana’s big sky. Please join us in electing Mayor Jordan Hess to continue serving as Missoula’s mayor.

Missoula County Commissioners Josh Slotnick, Juanita Vero, Dave Strohmaier