Homeownership is an important step towards securing financial freedom. My husband and I own our home and our mortgage is significantly less than it would cost to rent a similar house for our family. This frees up money for us to invest and enjoy. For this reason, I would like all people to have the opportunity to own a home. When growing cities enact policies that intentionally stifle the housing supply so that it cannot meet demand, middle class families cannot purchase homes and are eventually forced out.
On any given night in Missoula over 200 people are homeless, including dozens of homeless children. Reaching Home: Missoula's 10- Year Plan to End Homelessness is an ambitious plan to end homelessness in our community in ten years. I currently work to help Missoulians have permanent shelter as a board member for the Missoula Housing Authority. As a City Councilwoman it will be my duty to see significant progress on the Ten Year Plan in my first term.
Water is a basic human right and as such should be publicly owned. Missoula is the only city in Montana that does not own its municipal water supply. When water is allocated through the free market we run a risk that the poor will be priced out. This is one of the most pressing issues facing the city.
I look forward to working on the following issues that particularly affect women in our community.
1. The City of Missoula should enact policies that enable women to have positive experiences with law enforcement. Implementation of the agreement with the Department of Justice will improve the City's response to sexual assault. Prevention work is much less expensive than crisis intervention.
2. The Gender Pay Study seeks to discover if the City of Missoula has policies that allow women access to higher paying City jobs such as firefighters and police officers, has fair promotion practices, and supports employees with families and children.
3. Parks are an investment in quality of life that are primarily used by women and children.
4. Women are currently underrepresented on City Boards and Commissions and often need a peer or friend, like a City Councilwomen, to recruit them to serve.
Missoula’s economy is recovering at a faster rate than the rest of the country. This is because small business owners have invested in Missoula and residents support them by spending their income locally. The City should both nurture this entrepreneurial spirit and recruit companies that offer high paying jobs. The Missoula Economic Partnership was recently formed out of the Best Place Project to focus this effort. I support the City joining a wide range of local businesses and organizations in this endeavor.
The best way to move people, goods and services quickly is to promote connectivity throughout Missoula so drivers are not all forced onto the same few roads, causing stress, accidents, and congestion. Safe and usable bicycle and pedestrian routes are an investment that the City should continue to take seriously. This year Mountain Line is celebrating 35 years of service; transit not only helps people get to places like work and the grocery store, it also helps lower our carbon footprint and increase the life cycle of our roadways.
Quality of Life
In Ward 3 our quality of life is wonderful because we live in traditional neighborhoods that encourage meaningful contact with our neighbors. We have great trails, parks, open space and recreational opportunities provided by the City. The City of Missoula, the Associated Students of the University of Montana (ASUM), and the University of Montana can work together better to ensure students and homeowners live together harmoniously. The recently signed Community Quality of Life Initiativeseeks to address this and is a good starting point.
Missoula is growing, but not so fast that we can’t prepare and incorporate that new energy into the patterns that make Missoula an attractive place to live. Long-term planning, design standards, and zoning regulations are tools the City should utilize to maximize our ability to live agreeably in an urban setting. Title 20 (Zoning Ordinance of the City of Missoula), the Urban Fringe Development Area (UFDA), the Missoula Greater Downtown Master Plan, and other growth documents are roadmaps for the future that keep us on course and help the City to leverage resources to bring in additional funding.