Missoula mayoral interviews: Elder seeks fresh ideas, looks to build collaboration
Martin Kidston/Missoula Current
Calling it important and dignified work, Jacob Elder outlined his plans for Missoula if appointed to serve as the city's new mayor, saying he'd work to build a coalition with City Council and various departments in moving forward.
Elder, who went first on Wednesday to interview with the City Council, said he wouldn't start the job to make drastic changes but rather, he'd start by observing, learning and listening. He'd also look for ways to reduce spending while seeking new revenue.
His resume can be read by following this link.
“I believe we have a bit of a spending problem that we ought to address. It's always important to bring in fresh ideas and have a new start so we don't plateau,” he said on the question of taxes. “We ought to adapt to the changes we're having in Missoula. I don't believe there's ever one solution. I believe there are always trade-offs, and we ought to make the most common-sense decisions.”
Elder, who ran unsuccessfully for the job against the late Mayor John Engen, took a centrist response to most of the questions, saying often that he'd start by learning more about the issues and working with those in the know.
On housing, however, he said the city needed more of it and regulatory change would be a good place to start.
“We ought to recognize that we have a supply and demand problem,” Elder said. “I'd work with the Development Services office immediately to improve the planning and permitting process. We will try to eliminate redundant regulations and red tape. We will create understandable and reasonable regulations that support sustainable and equitable development.
Each applicant for the job of mayor was posed 10 published questions during their allotted 50-minute interview, which was moderated by the Montana League of Women Voters. Elder took roughly 35 minutes to complete his responses and offer his closing statement.
“I'm proud of my development, and I'm proud of the man that I am. I don't mean to be a purest, but by all means, I try to uphold ethical standards,” he said. “My life is public. Everything I've said and done over past elections has been to serve Missoula, because I have a vision for our community that I strongly believe in. It's an honorable position, a dignified position and it's highly important. We're making decisions about people's lives.”