Editors note – last month we asked each of the six candidates running for the Great Falls city commission to submit a profile for publication (exactly as submitted and without editorial comment) including the reasons they are running and what they want to accomplish if elected.
Kim Rodriguez, Terry Thompson, and Rick Tryon responded with submissions. Bruce Pollington responded after the August 21st deadline. However since Pollington only missed the deadline by one day we will publish his profile as well.
Tracy Houck, Jasmine Taylor, did not respond.
I moved to Great Falls in 1969 after receiving my bachelor’s degree from Montana State University. Since then I have worked in broadcast television, commercial video production, commercial photography, healthcare and at non-profit organizations. Although I occasionally served as a community volunteer for most of my time here, I began to increase my volunteer commitments as I got older. By 2019, I was heavily involved as a member (and President) of River’s Edge Trail Foundation Board of Directors. In addition, I was a member (and Chair) of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for the EPA Superfund project in Black Eagle and the former copper smelter site. Last Fall, I was elected as the sole Member at Large of Missouri-Madison River Fund Board of Directors: a foundation that awards access, recreation and maintenance grants along the river corridor from Fort Benton to the headwaters of the Missouri.
I decided to run for Great Falls City Commissioner soon after I learned that Bill Bronson had chosen not to run for re-election. I have known Bill and his wife, Carol, for several years and was sad to hear that he was ending his service as Commissioner. I always appreciated his well considered and thoughtfully presented comments and perspectives. While I previously had not considered running for the Commission, the prospect struck me as an opportunity to utilize my experience working with various City Departments and the City Commission to help make our community a better place to live, work and play.
Soon after I decided to run for City Commission, I opted to resign as a member of River’s Edge Trial Foundation and as a member of the EPA TAG to avoid conflict of interest concerns that might arise from those memberships. Conversely, I have chosen to remain a member of the Missouri-Madison River Fund Board based on assurances from our City Attorney’s Office and from the River Fund group that my continued service on that board poses no conflict of interest concerns while serving as a City Commissioner.
I am well aware that this opportunity also brings a great deal of responsibility. City Commissioners are first and foremost charged with ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our citizens. To that end, the Commission must continue to work toward addressing chronic staffing shortfalls as well as equipment upgrade and maintenance needs in both the City Police Department and Fire Department. In addition, the Commission is charged with ensuring that City Government functions properly and meets the needs of our community, that it raises and spends our tax dollars conservatively and efficiently, that it encourages healthy growth and support for tourism and our business community, and that it protects and maintains publicly owned assets.
City assets are not static. If they are not properly protected, maintained, improved or replaced as needed, they will decline. For example, long term deferred maintenance forced permanent closure of the Natatorium. Without extensive repair and maintenance work, our Civic Center is headed for the same fate. That is a fate we cannot afford. Yes, repairing it will be unavoidably expensive. However, continuing to postpone essential repairs while damage continues to accumulate and accelerate will prove to be considerably more expensive.
I believe that fifty years of work experience in this community combined with almost that many years volunteering on community improvement projects such as River’s Edge Trail and EPA TAG has helped prepare me for service as a City Commissioner. I am looking forward to representing and serving the people of Great Falls as their Commissioner.