Councilwoman Savage: Nugent the change Missoula needs
On the night of the mayoral appointment in September 2022, I voted 22 times for Mike Nugent to become Missoula’s mayor. I did not waiver in my support for his thoughtful leadership that night and I’ve not waivered since.
In a field of exceptional candidates, Mike is the best person to serve as our next mayor.
I first met Mike when we were both running for City Council in the summer of 2021. I was a latecomer to politics and admittedly had no real idea what I was doing. I was running on an equity platform in a very grassroots campaign spurred by an interest in elevating the voices of my Northside neighborhood.
During that campaign, I found Mike to be observant, genuinely interested in the issues affecting every Missoulian and deeply knowledgeable about housing both from the perspective as a realtor and from having served on the boards of the Missoula Housing Authority and the United Way. During our weekly meetings, I quickly realized Mike is humble, smart and an extremely hard worker. He also has an excellent sense of humor which, for a city official, is essential.
Serving with Mike on City Council has only reaffirmed my initial impressions. Mike is a natural leader, a consensus builder and is willing to work across political ideologies to craft policy that benefits all Missoulians. He is respectful of every council and staff member. This is rare, I’ve found, and so important.
No one cares about Missoula more than Mike and there is no greater evidence of that than on the night of the mayoral appointment when Mike chose to put Missoula first and vote for another nominee because we, as a council, were stuck. When Mike spoke to the community that night, I knew beyond any doubt that Missoula needs him as our next mayor.
No one is better positioned than Mike to serve Missoula as we move forward on the significant issues before us. Houselessness, home affordability, livability, climate catastrophe, widening inequities – these are not easy to solve but I see Mike approach these seemingly intractable issues strategically and with vision. He innovates, gets creative and finds solutions. He doesn’t get caught in “we can’t because” instead, he looks in every quiet corner for actions we can take.
Over the past few months, I’ve had countless conversations about the upcoming mayoral race. I’ve been amazed to the wide range of people who are supporting Mike in this race. I’ve talked to people who grew up in Missoula with Mike and his four siblings, who went to the University of Montana with him, who run small businesses here and those who are raising kids alongside Mike and his wife, Staci.
I’ve talked to firefighters, police officers, school teachers, little league parents, dance parents and hockey moms like me who have fought hard and worked many, many jobs for years to stay in Missoula. Support for Mike is far-reaching, crosses party lines and gives me so much hope because his is a fresh perspective that Missoula needs.