Who we elect matters, especially when protecting our clean air and water, our public lands, our wildlife and our climate. It is vitally important that our elected leaders understand that Montana’s outdoor amenities are a cornerstone of Montana’s culture and economy. Getting people elected who appreciate this and fight to conserve our environment is what Montana Conservation Voters is all about.

The City of Missoula will be facing some tough decisions in the upcoming years. Undoubtedly, Missoula will continue to grow. Keeping Missoula the special place it now is will be dependent on how we grow. Responsible land use and transportation planning will be critical. Support for parks, trails and key open spaces will be imperative. Energy efficiency and green buildings will be essential.

With the Missoula City Council election right around the corner, Montana Conservation Voters wants to make sure voters know which candidates earned our endorsement. They are Heidi West for Ward 1, Mirtha Becerra for Ward 2, Gwen Jones for Ward 3, Amber Sherrill for Ward 4, Alex Fregerio for Ward 5 and Nick Shontz for Ward 6. We have found that all of these candidates have a firm grasp of the outdoor and environmental issues facing the City of Missoula and the desire to roll up their sleeves and find common sense solutions to address these issues.

Our future depends on an informed electorate. Montana Conservation Voters urges voters to learn more about the candidates running for our local City Council. Visit the candidate’s web sites, call or e-mail them, then cast your ballot. These local elections are often won or lost by just a handful of votes, so make sure your vote counts. You can check your registration status at the Montana Secretary of State My Voter Page or by going to the elections department at the Missoula Fairgrounds between business hours.

Missoula’s stunning beauty, economy and outdoor way of life are at stake in this election. Please vote for these Montana Conservation Voters-endorsed candidates. Let’s help keep Missoula the special place that it is.

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Dave Dittloff is president of the Missoula Chapter of Montana Conservation Voters.

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