Stakes are high for upcoming city election

By: 
JACQUES RUTTEN

 

 

Ten names will appear on the ballot for the Lewistown City Commission election this fall. That is the highest number of candidates those of us at the newspaper office can recall for a city election. There are contested races for all three city wards as well as the at-large position. 

The strong turnout of candidates is good news for the people of Lewistown. A government by the people and for the people does not work without people willing to serve and lead. 

By way of comparison, in the last Lewistown election, there were three open spots on the commission and just four candidates. Unfortunately, elections like that have been the norm the past few decades for Lewistown and some of our surrounding communities, where important positions in local government are often uncontested and occasionally go unfilled. When city positions are uncontested, it means important city issues are not discussed.  

We understand the reluctance to run and serve. City commission candidates open themselves up to scrutiny from their friends and neighbors as well as the local media. It’s a position that requires a lot in the way of time and dedication and little in the way of financial compensation or gratitude. 

It’s also an extremely important position - one that can play a major role in determining the future of our community. 

For those reasons, we want to thank all of the candidates who have tossed their hats in the ring. We appreciate your courage to run and your willingness to serve. 

 

So why all the interest in this year’s Lewistown election? 

Well, it depends on which coffee group, barstool or social media chat you attend. Some say the city has new energy and they want that momentum to continue. They point to examples such as the Creekside Marketplace and Pavillion, Big Spring Skatepark and new business developments as examples of how we are moving forward. 

Others say Lewistown needs a change in leadership; its residents are over-taxed, Main Street is struggling and the current city government is steering us in the wrong direction.  

If there is one thing all sides agree on it’s that there is a lot at stake in this year’s city election. 

In the coming weeks, we hope to find out in which direction the local candidates hope to take our city during the next few years. Beginning next week with Ward 1 and continuing through the middle of October, the News-Argus will feature all four contested races in written forums in the newspaper.  

We have sent each candidate a series of questions about issues facing the city, including why they think they will be a good city commissioner and how they view the relationship of city commissioner and city manager.

Our hope is that readers will come away with a better understanding of where the candidates stand on the issues and what direction they want to take our community. 

This is shaping up to be an exciting city election. We have a large and diverse group of candidates. Now it’s time for the Lewistown voters to do our part, by learning about the people who hope to represent us and making informed decisions when we cast our ballots this fall. 

 

Jacques Rutten is the publisher of the Lewistown News-Argus. 

 

Lewistown City Commission Candidates

Ward 1: Richard Battrick, R.E. Krillenberger, Diane Oldenburg

Ward 2: Joseph Paul Kern, Patty Turk

Ward 3: Alexzandra Dunnington, Johnny Maier, Elizabeth Putnam

At Large: Clint Loomis, Jonathan Moor 

All mail election. Ballots sent out Oct. 20. Must be returned by Nov. 7. 

 

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