MISSOULA — This edition of Current Events with Martin Kidston of the Missoula Current takes a look at what changes may be coming to the Missoula City Council following the recent municipal election.
“We are probably going to see a swing to the left. Team Liberty, which ran a good three years, headed by Jesse Ramos. He stepped aside. The conservatives who ran on the November ballot didn't fare that well, in fact not a single one of them won. However, two candidates endorsed by the Democratic Socialists did win,” Kidston said.
“One net loss for the conservatives and possibly two net gains for the Democratic Socialists, so I think swing to the left. I think the rest of the city council remains pragmatic and central. We'll see how the far left and the far right on the new city council come together to get things done.
Missoula Mayor John Engen was reelected in the November election and now will be seeing some new faces on the Missoula City Council.
“The mayor got along pretty well with Team Liberty -- the conservative crew. There were tensions at times over the last few years at times between the mayor and that group. I would imagine we're going to see some tensions at times between the mayor and this left-leaning crew now,” Kidston said.
“Some of the things they're proposing aren't legal in Montana. Some of those issues may be controversial and go too far for liberal Missoulians. We'll see how this shakes out. The mayor is willing to work with them as always,” Kidston continued. “He invites all city councilors to his office to discuss issues. It may take a couple weeks, few months for things to gel. We'll see how it plays out.
One question is how long will it take for the new Missoula City Council members to get up to speed.
"All new councilors go through a boarding process to learn the rules and regulations of the council. Once they get that under their belt, they'll start voting in January. I think it takes a lot longer for the comraderies of the council to come together, the people to learn how to play off the other people, and address each others disagreements,” Kidston observed.
“Sometimes disagreements can become contentious, especially when somebody believes strongly in an issue and they don't have the backing and support of the other council members. That can cause friction, and it has from time to time.”
“Generally they get along well. Of the 12, there are four new members of the council so we'll see how they get along together. So, we'll see how things come together over the next few months. They get sworn in in January and it's off to the races from there,” Kidston concluded.