Landquist Promises to be a Good Listener

Via Missoula’s Choice 2008, the University of Montana School of Journalism online publication covering both local and statewide candidates.

by Will Melton

Michele Landquist is running for Missoula County commissioner because she has “witnessed citizens walking away after participating in the public process feeling distraught, as though their concerns, opinions and ideas were being heard by not listened to.”

She says that she will listen to the people of the county and feels that her experiences as a resident of Lolo, rather than Missoula, make her better attuned to the problems facing rural Montanans. She says her experiences as a farmer and her work on watershed and land-use planning issues will be a beneficial addition to the commission.

Her victory in the Democratic primary over much better-known candidate Dennis Daneke by 42 votes caught many political observers by surprise.

Landquist rejects the notion that her victory was a surprise and says she won by using her standing and popularity in Lolo and other rural areas along with a strong grassroots campaign to springboard her to victory.

Landquist said that her main priority is creating more affordable housing and that the key is to create more jobs that pay better.

In order to create more of these jobs, Landquist would create tax incentives for companies that pay more than the living wage and offer health care and other benefits.

Landuqist said now is not the time for the county to be asking for more bonds for anything, including the new 911 call center, a $16 million issue that is on the November ballot. While she doesn’t oppose the center, she doesn’t think taxpayers should have to pay more for it. When asked how she would pay for the center, she said that without delving into county budgets it’s difficult to say how to come up with the money.

Landquist also supports county-wide recycling, increased open space, improvements to watershed management and hiring an information officer for the county.

Landquist fits in a Schweitzer-esque mold of a rural famer with populist tendencies. Despite her insistence that she isn’t a political nobody, she knows how to play the outsider, populist card: “I don’t think you should try to be this well-known name out there to be a public servant and that you shouldn’t need to have some haughty-taughty education to serve the people.”

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  1. goof houlihan

    “Landquist also supports county-wide recycling”

    What does that mean? Will she force people to pay so that others can recycle? Will she use county general fund tax dollars to drive a collection truck to the farthest portions of the county? Where’s the carbon friendliness of that? Will everyone be required to recycle, with garbage can inspectors?

    anybody recycle, they just have save it up and dump it off.

    “you shouldn’t need to have some haughty-taughty education”

    all in all it’s just another brick in the wall…

    “Landuqist said now is not the time for the county to be asking for more bonds for anything, including the new 911 call center, a $16 million issue that is on the November ballot. While she doesn’t oppose the center, she doesn’t think taxpayers should have to pay more for it. When asked how she would pay for the center, she said that without delving into county budgets it’s difficult to say how to come up with the money”

    Why vote for a commission candidate with no comprehension of county budgets? She isn’t going to find 16/20 million dollars a year in the county budget.

    You might not need a “hoity toity” education, but some familiarity with the subject of local governance should be apparent.

  2. Pogo Possum

    “Landquist Promises to be a Good Listener”

    The problem for Landquist is that many who have attended meetings with her, including me, report she is much more of a “talker” than a “listener”.

    The people Michele mentions walking away “….feeling distraught, as though their concerns, opinions and ideas were being heard by not listened to” are probably referring to her and her tendency to lecture and blame others instead of listening.

    Though a very nice person who obviously cares about her community, Michele still needs to learn that being an effective community leader involves listening to the public’s issues and concerns, not just lecturing others about hers.




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