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New names added to Missoula City Council ballot

New names added to Missoula City Council ballot

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Mike O'Herron only sounds fueled by his unsuccessful attempt two years ago to lock in a Ward 5 seat on the Missoula City Council.

"I met a lot of people, and I have more support this time, and I'm hoping I can push it over the top and win it," O'Herron said this week.

This is an election year for the council, and six seats are contested.

Council president Ed Childers said Wednesday a primary election will not be held. The filings didn't trigger a mandatory one, and Childers said he and Councilwoman Renee Mitchell are the only ones who responded to the question of whether an optional primary should take place; both said no.

That means voters will select their ward representatives on the November ballot, and the list has several new names. Here are brief introductions to the remaining newcomers; profiles of all candidates will run later this summer in the Missoulian.

In Ward 5, O'Herron is trying to unseat incumbent Mitchell. In the 2009 city races, O'Herron lost a close race against Ward 5 incumbent and former state legislator Dick Haines. O'Herron earned 48.51 percent of the vote, and Haines eked out 50.98 percent for a win.

So O'Herron isn't new to city elections, but he'd be new on the council and said he'd be a strong and effective advocate.

"We tend to be fiscally conservative, and our residents are working class people, and we want to make sure there's jobs," said O'Herron, who works for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

He'd like the local government to be business friendly and boost companies such as high-tech firms and those using wood products and harvesting sustainably. He's met with Jim Bowman, new president of the Missoula Economic Partnership.

O'Herron touts his position as a moderate: "The problem-solving usually happens in the middle, and that's where I'm strong."


In Ward 3, Councilwoman Stacy Rye isn't running for another term, and three candidates are vying for the seat. Sean Ives did not return multiple requests for an interview, but Alex Taft and Paul Bohan said they're ready to represent the ward.

Taft's presence already is common in City Council Chambers when transportation issues are hot, and his credentials are long. He's a board member of the Bike/Walk Alliance for Missoula, past vice chairman of Missoula Transportation Policy Coordinating Committee and past board chairman of the Mountain Line Transit System.

Taft, though, has interests beyond wheels. The retired urban planner likes birds and is treasurer of the Montana Audubon Society. He and a friend are building an airplane, too, a Zenith Zodiac nearing its first flight.

"I think a lot of people don't know that I'm a Vietnam veteran," Taft said.

He served on a U.S. Navy ship off the coast and said the war helped inform the political views he and his siblings and cousins share. Family members on his father's side are all Republicans, but he and his generation are Democrats.

"I think it was the Vietnam War that made the difference in our political views," Taft said.

Bohan also wants to nab the Ward 3 seat, in part because he believes councilors should leave some issues to the state. The council, for instance, adopted a resolution that supported the Medical Marijuana Act.

"I think the council has taken such a partisan stand on a lot of issues that I really think should be left outside of the council chambers," Bohan said.

Bohan used to work for Beach Transportation and he also coached track and field and cross country at Hellgate High School. He is currently unemployed but does volunteer work.

He'd like to bring more transparency to the city budget planning: "When you bring projects in, you need to not only plan for the initial costs, but you need to plan for the followup."

He's lived all over the ward, and he's a fan of the district and its treasures like Rose Park and Bonner Park.

"For me, it's close to everything. It's close to downtown, it's close to the campus, it's close to the golf course and Mount Sentinel," Bohan said. "I can walk anywhere I want to go."

In Ward 6, Shane Stack is running against Councilman Ed Childers and Peggy Miller, who talked about her priorities in an earlier story. Stack, who works for the Montana Department of Transportation, did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.


Here's the list of candidates, who are running for four-year, part-time terms:

Ward 1:

Generally the Rattlesnake, downtown, parts of the Northside.

Jason Wiener, incumbent

Mary "Maer" Seibert

Ward 2:

Generally Grant Creek, the Westside, and west of Reserve Street and north of the Clark Fork River.

Pam Walzer, incumbent

Adam Hertz

Cynthia Wolken, incumbent

Ward 3:

Generally the University area, the Slants, the Hip Strip and the Old Sawmill District.

Alex Taft

Sean Ives

Paul Bohan

Ward 4:

Generally the Lewis and Clark neighborhood, the Pattee area, and south of Kent Avenue and east of Hillview Way.

Lyn Hellegaard, incumbent

Caitlin Copple

Ward 5:

Generally Miller Creek, west of Hillview Way, and south of Mary Avenue.

Mike O'Herron

Renee Mitchell, incumbent

Ward 6:

Generally west of Russell Street between the Mary Avenue and the Clark Fork River including the River Road area.

Ed Childers, incumbent

Shane Stack

Peggy Miller

Reporter Keila Szpaller can be reached at @KeilaSzpaller, 523-5262, or on


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