My name is Amber Shaffer and I am running for Missoula City Council, Ward 1. Ward 1 encompasses the Northside, downtown, the Rattlesnake, the East Broadway corridor out to Easy Street, and the Canyon River golf community. A large, diverse and vibrant ward to say the least.
I was born in Missoula and grew up as part of a large Northside family. My grandparents ran Shaffer’s Market in that neighborhood for 26 years. Many remember my grandparent’s generosity in offering struggling families lines of credit to help keep their families fed, or for those my age, the wide variety of penny candy.
My grandmother Donna was also a city councilwoman for many years. Politics and headlines from the Missoulian were something we talked about each night around the dinner table. Throughout my adolescence and until her passing, neighbors came to our door asking her opinion about candidates or issues that were on the ballot. This taught me from a young age the importance of being involved in local politics, caring for your neighbors and making sure your voice is heard.
I thought about running four years ago but my boys were only 4 and 5, with my oldest being recently diagnosed with autism, and I felt I did not have the time necessary to fill the position. My boys are now a little older and I able to work from home, which allows me the time necessary to be a successful voice for our ward.
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The biggest factor in choosing to run at this time was our rise in property taxes. My dad is of retirement age and it is painful to watch someone who has worked so hard and been so generous his entire life stress about the ever-rising tax bills. This is a common concern I’ve heard at the doors and one that can’t be ignored any longer.
The second factor is the crime, addiction and homelessness we see in our ward. It is so awesome to have my two boys go to the same school I did. Unfortunately, the difference between my time at Lowell and theirs is that there is now a homeless shelter located just blocks from the school. A fence has been placed to separate the park from the playground upon insistence from the police to keep the playground safe. I do not think any student, teacher or administrator should be worried about their safety during the school day.
Last, but certainly not least, I would like to bring a voice of diversity to the council. I am a proud enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of South Dakota. We are a band of the Dakota Sioux nation. I would be the first Native American to be elected to the Missoula City Council. Living in Montana, we are home to seven reservations, and the Native voice needs to be represented.
Please follow my campaign at fb.me/ShafferForCityCouncil. If you would like to help contribute to my campaign, please make checks payable to “Shaffer for City Council,” mailed to Shaffer for City Council, P.O. Box 17601, Missoula, MT 59808. Any amount is greatly appreciated, however, the maximum allowed is $180 per person. I look forward to hearing your comments and concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.