By Donald Seibert
Last evening Leila and I attended an event entitled “Candidate Meet and Greet” held at the Mayflower Congregational Church. The meeting was excellent. The following candidates were there:
- Ward 1
- Brent Cromley (Incumbent)
- Ward 2
- Walt Donges
- Jeremy Rindahl’s wife, Jeremy was working
- Ward 3
- Karen Moses
- Becky Bird (Incumbent) had an operation that day and was not able to attend
- Ward 4
- Bill Brown
- Ward 5
- Ken Crouch (Incumbent)
There was a woman, a candidate, who came in midway through the discussion; I don’t know her name nor which Ward she was running in. Her comments were similar to the other candidates.
Announcement – Karen Moses said that Becky Bird would be running and that she, Karen will not run, but rather will be supporting Becky Bird. Karen only put her name in the hat because she was not sure Becky would be running. Because of the present time frame, Karen’s name will still be on the ballot.
Each candidate said that they supported many of the present City Council initiatives or areas they felt the City Council should support. These included (to the best of my recollection):
- Infill the vacant land in the city of Billings rather than expanding to the West – Cromley, Donges, Rindahl, Moses, Brown, Crouch
- Non-Discrimination Ordinance – Cromley, Donges, Rindahl, Moses, Brown, Crouch
- City growth – Cromley, Donges, Crouch
- Conservation – Donges
- City Parks – Cromley, Crouch
- Reduce the use of water on city properties – Donges, Crouch
- Fair pay for city employees – Donges, Rindahl
One person in the audience said that he had a problem with each City Council meeting starting with a Christian prayer. I do not recall any candidates addressing this practice, but it appeared to be well received by many in the room.
The Billings Gazette, Friday, July 10th ran an article in the Local & State section entitled “Crowded ballot will face Billings voters in September.” This article gave additional information about each candidate. Also the Last Best News ran an article entitled “Troubling phone calls reported in City Council race,” which outlined additional information about the various candidates.
As you know in each Ward the top two vote getters in the September 15th municipal primary ballot will run against each other in the election in November.
You need to be aware that the Tea Party and Republican conservatives are working to get out the vote for their candidates. Two persons last evening stated that several conservatives are running only to stop a Billings Non-Discrimination Ordinance. Also, this morning at the Democratic Breakfast, Tom Towe mentioned the same thing. He also said the Tea Party is focused on getting their candidates elected to stop a Billings City Non-Discrimination Ordinance from being approved by the City Council.
I strongly suggest the following be done in our Fellowship:
- An article be published in the Valley Voice about the importance of voting and being involved in our great community.
- The Board needs to take a strong stand on the City Council election.
- Individuals within the Fellowship need to write editorial comments to the Billings Gazette and the Outpost regarding our position on electing positive, open-minded persons to the Billings City Council.
A second “Candidate Meet and Greet” session will be held on:
Wednesday, August 12 from 5-7pm at the Q 360 Health, 50 – 27th St. West
The 7:00 am Wednesday morning Democratic Breakfast will introduce the candidates at each Wednesday in August and the first Wednesday in September. One Ward will be presented each week.
I do not have the schedule for which Ward will be presented on which Wednesday.