I met Jean Curtiss over two decades ago while I was a school board trustee. The board was grappling with the agonizing prospect of neighborhood school closure. Representing the Missoula PTA, Jean brought a calm and rational voice to the rancor, always advocating for the decision that would ensure the best education possible for all of the students in the sprawling district. She earned my respect.

Jean has demonstrated that same steady hand for 17 years as county commissioner, helping guide Missoula County through difficult economic times and dealing with the many complex challenges of unprecedented growth and change. Jean has always worked tirelessly to assure access to health care, childcare, good schools, clean air and clean water. She has never shied away from difficult decisions. She can take the heat.

Having grown up in the Swan Valley, Jean understands the needs of our rural communities. Her solid support for voluntary conservation of agricultural lands throughout the county reflects that understanding. Her advocacy for protection of key open space and recreational lands is unwavering. Her efforts have helped make Missoula County a model for community conservation.

We still need Jean’s steady hand as county commissioner.