Editors note: This is the first in our series of profiles featuring candidates running for the two open seats on the Great Falls City Commission.
Hello E-CITY BEAT Readers:
I have been fortunate to call Great Falls my home for 40 years. Our community has excellent education opportunities, world class hunting and fishing, the River’s Edge Trail and seemingly unlimited year-round outdoor activities, not to mention some of the friendliest people in the world.
I served in the US Navy, was honorably discharged in 1980, and I have been an entrepreneur and active member of our community. I’ve owned six different local businesses starting in 1985. Since that time, I’ve employed hundreds of residents. One of my most satisfying accomplishments is providing employment and helping citizens of Great Falls support their families and community.
Entrepreneurship presents many challenges and not all businesses can be successful. One of my businesses received the high honor by Inc. Magazine as one of the “500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America.” Yes, that happened in Great Falls Montana.
Community service has always played an important role in my life. I’ve served on many local, state and national organizations. I also had the privilege of representing the people of Great Falls in the Montana House of Representatives for four consecutive terms.
Now you know part of my background. Why should you select me to serve Great Falls as a City Commissioner?
I am excited to do my part in moving Great Falls forward. My goals are simple but will not necessarily be easy to reach. It will take community teamwork to accomplish these ambitions.
- Economic Development
- Affordable Housing
- Safe Neighborhoods
My primary goal is economic development, and I will encourage the City Commission to support recruitment and expansion of Primary Sector companies. These companies provide the type of employment that create products/services to out of area customers but bring jobs and payroll to Great Falls. Some examples are: Avmax, ADF, Centene as well as value added agriculture producers such as Pasta Montana, the Malt Plant, etc. Primary sector jobs bring ‘”- new money – ‘” to Great Falls. This is one way to grow our economy, providing jobs, expand the service industry, and local tax base.
City Commissioners do not have all the answers, and the City Commission does not create jobs in the private sector. What the Commission can do, however, is remove oppressive red tape and onerous delays. We have many smart, motivated people in this community. Too often the Commissioners pat themselves on the back for being “business friendly” while those who are actually trying to open and operate businesses tell a contrary tale. Our local government does not need its finger in every pie, regulating (and adding expense) to many local businesses’ decisions.
But it is the Commission’s responsibility to provide the vision, leadership and build a team of talented like-minded persons, to create an environment and mindset for growth. And then get out of the way.
With a focus on less regulation more development will occur, which should increase the supply of housing and decrease costs. Growing communities are usually prosperous communities. With prosperity comes resources to shore up public safety such as police and fire departments.
My background as a military veteran, entrepreneur and four-term lawmaker in the Montana House of Representatives will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Great Falls City Commission.
I look forward to serving our community.
Joe McKenney www.facebook.com/mckenneyforgreatfalls