Yesterday, former City Commissioner Fred Burow filed to run for mayor, challenging incumbent Bob Kelly.
It would be wise for anyone interested to ignore the “non-partisan” designation of these offices, and especially the pablum that the people who run for them regurgitate in order to conceal their true political leanings.
The two men running to lead Great Falls exist on very different ideological planes, and everyone deserves to know it. Without question, Fred Burow is a Republican and Bob Kelly is a Democrat.
In 2006, Burow ran as a Republican for Cascade County Commission, losing to Peggy Beltrone.
Kelly, on the other hand, has a considered history of supporting left-wing causes and candidates. A quick look at FEC records show a 100% donation record to Democrats and progressive organizations.
So, what does Kelly’s liberalism have to do with the City of Great Falls? A lot, it turns out.
In terms of official commission business, Kelly has operated like a typical elitist, big government liberal — he’s taxed and spent as a matter of course, dispensed gushy proclamations in support of the virtue-signaling cause du jour, arrogantly crushed small businesses that appalled his patrician sensibilities, handed out gobs of money to woke, local non-profits, and oversaw (and personally participated in) conflicts of interests with his lefty buddies — and earned a rebuke from the federal government in doing so.
Impressive, no? At least all of the above was “on the books.”
Perhaps more obnoxious, though, is Kelly’s freelance advocacy. He has shown a penchant for operating beyond his purview as an office-holder and invoking his title as “Mayor” to drag the City into his personal and partisan initiatives — often without the public’s knowledge or consent.
Who can forget Kelly signing a petition urging then-President Trump to send Syrian refugees to Great Falls? Or his lobbying in Helena to increase the state gas and diesel tax? (By the way, has Kelly ever voted “No” on a proposed tax increase?) God knows what else he has done.
Worst of all, he did all of this without ever obtaining, or even attempting to seek a resolution from the City Commission, presumably because he knew that the citizens of Great Falls would have hated his progressive adventurism.
In 2020, Republicans won every legislative district in Cascade County. Our excellent Sheriff left the Democrat Party just yesterday.
If Fred Burow works hard, don’t be surprised if the City Commission flips red in November.