Best Local Politician 

Mayor John Engen

Readers' Pick

At this point, John Engen’s measuring his past Best of Missoula wins in balloons and certificates. The annual recognition is a reassuring back-of-the-mind item during the city’s darker hours, when debates like last year’s anti-discrimination ordinance rage late into the night. But winning an award is the least of Engen’s priorities. He rolled out the Best Place Project in spring 2010 with the goal of boosting Missoula’s economic development, and the initiative reached a funding high of $2.3 million this winter. Engen maintains this is the best place in the country to live. “The view of our valley from Waterworks Hill on a sunny summer day is pretty remarkable, the balsam root blooming on Mount Jumbo while I’m walking the dogs with my wife,” he says. “There’s a lot of bests here.”

Finalists, Best Local Politician

2. Ellie Hill

3. Bryce Bennett


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