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Emily Brock Bentley,
During his two terms of service, outgoing Councilman Bob Jaffe has been one of the most productive members of the lawmaking body. His replacement will be challenged to rise to Jaffe’s level of effectiveness.
Emily Brock Bentley believes she’s up for the task. The long-time Missoula County Democratic Party member works professionally as a campaign manager for Compassion and Choices, a nonprofit that advocates for death with dignity. As such, she already has an understanding of how the local political apparatus works.
Among Bentley’s primary goals would be to beef up Missoula’s low-income housing stock. For two years, she served on the Missoula Housing Authority Board of Directors. She’d like to strengthen the city’s relationship with MHA and, in doing so, expand housing options for people on a budget. “There’s a shared interest there,” she says of MHA and the city.
Among the biggest issues facing Ward 3 is transportation, Bentley says. Specifically, she wants to ensure that Russell Street and its impending redesign don’t ruin the neighborhood’s feel.
“I’m not willing to sacrifice Ward 3 to make Missoula a thoroughfare,” she says.
Bentley discusses housing needs and transportation issues articulately. Like von Lossberg, she admits that she’s still getting schooled on the nuts and bolts of city government. We appreciate her candor and the fact that she followed up on our interview by emailing additional materials to bolster her position on certain issues.
The other Ward 3 candidate, Paul Bohan, says he’s running to provide an alternative discourse and challenge the “ruling clique” currently on council. We agree with Bohan that dissent among lawmakers is healthy and that debates help strengthen policy. But Bohan is not a productive voice in these discussions. He admits he has trouble staying on topic. He rarely answers direct questions. He has a history of running over his allotted time when speaking in front of council and not following basic meeting decorum, and we experienced similar annoyances during our interview. Bohan’s brand of dissent is not one we can support. Bentley, however, shows promise as a new voice on council and deserves the seat.
Endorsement: Emily Brock Bentley