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Marilyn Marler (incumbent),
Dr. Ernest Szechenyi
It’s clear after 15 years of community service, including nearly eight on council, that Marilyn Marler has dedicated herself to the city of Missoula. While three of her two-term colleagues are leaving council in 2014, she says she wants to stick around to take care of unfinished business.
At the top of Marler’s to-do list is the long-anticipated redesign of Russell Street, which, after nearly a decade of planning, is slated to begin next year. Similarly, council’s recent creation of a sidewalk-funding policy that decreases the financial burden on property owners has her eager to help transform Garden City streets into more pedestrian-friendly thoroughfares. And then there’s her interest in a possible new Open Space Bond, which will be discussed during the next term. As a natural areas specialist for the University of Montana, it’s a conversation with which she wants to be intimately involved.
City council elected Marler as its president in January 2012, and she’s proud of her track record leading the group. Those who have followed city politics for a long time will recognize that the current level of discourse and productivity fostered under Marler’s leadership is unusual. We may occasionally make fun of tactics like rearranging the seating at meetings, but whatever Marler is doing is working.
Marler’s challenger, Ernest Szechenyi (sounds like “Say-chainy”) studied medicine on the East Coast and arrived in Missoula in 1995. He currently works at Opportunity Resources and speaks passionately about his involvement with his church. His volunteerism with organizations such as Meals on Wheels and the Knights of Columbus demonstrate a community spirit. Szechenyi was a pleasure to meet, but he is simply not conversant about city issues and not a serious challenger to Marler.
Endorsement: Marilyn Marler