Today, Montana Conservation Voters (MCV) announced its endorsement of Dave Strohmaier for the 2016 Missoula County Commission race. The local Missoula Chapter of MCV sent questionnaires to, and interviewed, Stacy Rye and Dave Strohmaier, the two Democratic candidates running for the County Commission District 2 seat. Following those interviews, the Missoula MCV Chapter chose to endorse Dave Strohmaier. MCV’s reasons are set out below.
Protecting Missoula’s critical agricultural lands is one of the Missoula Chapter of MCV’s top priorities. MCV worked with the County Commission (Commission) and Planning Board for nearly a decade to design the best possible plan to protect irreplaceable agricultural lands in the county at the point of subdivision. Despite years of working with the Commission and Planning Board, and believing consensus had been reached regarding the Planning Board’s proposal, Commissioner Stacy Rye abruptly voted down the Planning Board’s recommended agricultural land protection policy. Given MCV’s years of work on this issue with the County Commission and Planning Board, MCV was blindsided by the Commission’s last minute vote against protections for county agricultural lands. Commissioner Rye was appointed to the Commission last April to fill Commissioner Bill Carey’s seat, which she assumed in September. After Rye’s appointment, MCV sent two letters to the Commission requesting approval of the Planning Board’s recommendations for protecting critical county agricultural lands. MCV had conversations with Commissioner Rye, and based on those conversations, believed she supported the Planning Board’s policy.
MCV’s endorsement of Dave Strohmaier is a direct response to the Commission’s decision to dismiss roughly a decade of hard work crafting a policy to improve protections for Missoula’s essential agricultural lands.
“We expect strong leadership from the Missoula Board of County Commissioners with respect to planning for growth,” said State Board Rep. Brenda Lindlief Hall. “Missoula is on the precipice of significant development. If we aren’t at the forefront of planning for growth, we are acquiescing to the loss of critical agricultural lands.”
MCV Board Vice-Chair Robin Saha said, “MCV is one of the few groups that makes endorsements in primaries. When we do endorse candidates, it is because there are significant differences between the candidates. Dave Strohmaier is committed to being a leader on our conservation priorities, including planning for growth so we maintain a Missoula community we are proud to call home.”
The primary election for the 2016 Missoula County Commissioner race is June 7th. Ballots will be mailed out in Missoula after Friday, May 13th. For more information on Montana Conservation Voters endorsement, contact Field Director Ross Prosperi at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 406.542.1055 ext. 2. Contact the Missoula County Elections Department to check your voter registration status at 406.258.4751.