Want Your Voice to be Heard? Vote Michele Landquist for County Commissioner

by jhwygirl

My disdain for the negative reaction thrust upon those seeking public input on issues before the Board of County Commissioners, by the Board of County Commissioners, is something readers of this blog know well. It’s not something new, and goes back, even, to a post I wrote back nearly 2 years ago over at Left in the West.

More recently, the open pit mining issue facing the Lolo area once again raised my ire. The very real possibility of gravel pits being located in residential areas – unzoned as they may be – and the very real possibility of having multiple pits in your neighborhood (or in your backyard, front yard, side yard) has existed now for more than 2 years, and our County Commissioners have failed to act.

When one was proposed in the Lolo community, our Board of County Commissioners once again failed to act until they were backed into a corner. For months they ignored crowded public meetings and stacks of papers submitted by the neighbors, instead saying that they could rely on DEQ to do its job. Or perhaps I should say that the BCC failed to its job, granted to them through the zoning powers of the Montana Constitution, that allowed them to protect the health safety and welfare of its citizens.

One Lolo resident at the forefront was Michele Landquist, a 35 year resident of Missoula County, advocating for both her and her neighbors, but more importantly, the air and water quality of the neighborhood.

Much of Michele’s campaigning has been out in the rural areas of the county – not just Lolo, but Evaro, Clinton-Bonner, Miller Creek, Orchard Homes, Big Flat, Target Range, Grass Valley, Seeley and Frenchtown. She tells me that she has been well received.

Landquist has been a supporter of trying to find solutions through the Board of County Commissioners to create opportunities for more jobs in Missoula – which is one reason why the Indy’s endorsement of Larry Anderson has perplexed me. Saying we need to have a voice for business on the BCC (as if one doesn’t exist with both Jean Curtiss and Bill Carey.) Please!

Read between the lines there, and the suggestion by the Indy is that Curtiss and Carey are not voice for the business community. Does anyone who read this think that is true? That Jean Curtiss and Bill Carey are anti-business?

In Michele’s own words, she is running because:

I am running to make sure everyone’s voice is heard and everyone is treated with the respect they and their issues deserve. People bring problems to the BCC to solved. I want to work harder and think outside the normal box to find more win-win solutions for ALL the people.

Maybe Landquist isn’t the seasoned poltico that Anderson is, but everyone has to jump into the water somewhere to take that swim. Michele has been on the Lolo Watershed Committee (or whatever that is called), and any landowner with water rights knows that those committees aren’t exactly the most docile things going – Michele will give a fresh face to a good ole’ boys-and-gals club that has been the BCC for wayyyy too long.

I did, in fact, ask Landquist about the reasoning in the Indy, that she wasn’t experienced enough. Here’s what she said:

I would very much like the opportunity to swim. Living out in the county, how many choices/opportunities do I have to get involved politically? The future is now, this is a six year term and it will effect our future. The H20 work I did was with both the Watershed Education Network (WEN) as a Field Coordinator and with the Lolo Watershed Group (LWG) where I served with in a number a capacities the last title was Interim Executive Director. I worked myself through to that position by first being Co-coordinator, Coordinator, Project Manger and finally Interim Executive Director.

That’s not small potatoes in terms of experience now, is it?

County Commissioners are elected to office for 6 years. Ask yourself – do you want more of the same? Have you been happy with what has occurred over, say, the last 5 years? Did Anderson do anything different since he’s been on the BCC for more than a year now?

Do you want to be stuck with more of the same for the next 6 years?

Do you want to know that your voice will be heard when you want to speak?

2008 is looking to be the year of big change. Let’s make 2008 the year that the citizens and communities and neighborhoods of Missoula County get a true voice – and an open ear – on county issues.

Vote Michele Landquist for County Commissioner.


  1. goof houlihan

    Since I live in a town with zoning, by choice, I really have very little sympathy for those who have sprawled out into the county chasing cheap land in an unzoned area. If they get the pig farm or chicken ranch or strip joint or gravel pit, well, how less unsightly is that use of the land from the weed patches and mcmansions that conflict with traditional agrarian uses?

    Lots of farmers and ranchers supplement their agriculture with a gravel pit. And truth be told, I’d rather see a gravel pit on a ranch than a subdivision of daily commuters.

    It’s a little bit like the subdivision on the rural county road clamoring for bike lanes and bus service.

    Want urban protections and amenities? Live in town with the real environmentalists.

    Now I gotta walk to work.

  2. Ruthlmm

    On the commissioner race, I’ve gone back and forth and back and forth and back and forth on the Landquist/Anderson race.
    My thoughts: Anderson might add balance to an otherwise 100% Democratic board; he’s run a business, I gather, so he has the information on those challenges, including effects of taxes; But, does party balance even matter when Anderson and Cary BOTH seem to just cow-tow to Curtiss’s bulldog leadership?; Landquist brings a rural viewpoint, much needed; Also, from my few meetings with Landquist, I feel she would NEVER play ‘follow the leader’ to Curtiss. She’ll make her opinions known and put up a fight on issues she feels warrant a firm stand.; but, she also seems to have a “let’s all come together and get the job done.” attitude; BUT, I haven’t heard her say anything about helping homeowners ( rural and city alike) remain in their homes. Many of us are being taxed out the them with property tax add-ons from the wealthy elite or oblivious renters voting in more bonds an levies.; Having seen ( Thanks, MCAT !) Curtiss’ dismissive and rude treatment of the citizenry at public hearings, especiallly the seniors show come before BCC, I think the personality issue finally will bump me over to a Landquist vote. Someone needs to care, show they care, listen to the public and be self-confident enough to speak up, even in the face of a steamroller board chairwoman. Hmmm, seels like this commens has clarified my thoughts. Landquist, it is.
    – Ruthie

  3. jhwygirl and all the 4&20 blackbirds bloggers, wishing you and Montana Demcrats a fruitful day at the polls. Great work and see you on the other side of 11/4/08.

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