GREAT FALLS — Great Falls voters will select two city commissioners next month from among six candidates. The candidates are Tracy Houck; Bruce Pollington; Kim Rodriguez; Jasmine Taylor; Terry Thompson; and Rick Tryon. Ballots will be mailed out on Monday, October 21st. They are due back by 8 p.m. on November 5th.
Here is a video playlist of extended interviews with each of the candidates:
- Bruce Pollington is married and has two grandchildren. This is his first run for political office. His career has spanned a number of jobs including work at a Great Falls tv station, both hospitals, and the CM Russell Museum. His community involvement included chairing the River's Edge Trail Foundation and the Black Eagle EPA Super-fund site. He is also a member of the Missouri Madison River Foundation which grants recreational facilities from Fort Benton to the headwaters of the the Missouri River. Pollington says he applauds the current city commission for their maintenance projects such as new waterlines under the Missouri and Sun Rivers. He would like to see better communication between the commission and the community, and says better paying jobs won't come to Great Falls until there is more growth.
- Rick Tryon was raised in Great Falls. He works part-time at Stray Moose Productions in Black Eagle and is also an independent web development consultant. Tryon has also worked as a semi-professional singer/songwriter. He also managed the Jack Club which his mother used to own. He's been married for 35 years. He and his wife have two grown daughters and three grandchildren, with a fourth on the way. He's run twice before for the commission and also the state legislature. Tryon says Great Falls is struggling to remain stagnant when it comes to growth and needs to do more to live up to its potential. In addition to better jobs, he'd like to see less crime and more government transparency.
- Tracy Houck is seeking a second term on the commission. Houck has lived in Great Falls for 25 years. She has two children who also live in Great Falls. She is a graduate of Clarion University in Pennsylvania with a degree in communications focusing on non-profit marketing. She is currently working as a consultant but has extensive experience working with non-profits on the both local and state level. Some of the organizations she’s worked with include Voice of Hope, Gateway Community Services, and the Mental Health Center. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of the Paris Gibson Square. Houck said she would like to see slow and stead growth that provides a bigger tax base which in turn will allow for more resources including public safety. She says the city has streamlined it process to allow for greater investment in community development, planning and public works. Houck likes different backgrounds on the current commission and says she’s not afraid to make tough decisions.
- Terry Thompson has lived in Great Falls since 1994. She was born in Minnesota but raised in Hobson. After graduating high school she earned her cosmetology degree and later followed her first husband’s military career to California. She and her current husband have a blended family with six children and 14 grandchildren. Her political experience includes two terms on Neighborhood Council number 3. For the past 12 years she’s been the CEO of the Great Falls Realtor Association. Her work experience also includes 11 years as a business operations analyst for Western Wireless, also known as Cellular One. Thompson would like to see better communication by the commission with the community. She believes her real estate background and time serving on a development task force will be beneficial.
- Kim Rodriguez has lived in Great Falls her entire life. She’s been married for almost 30 years to Tito Rodriguez, a former Great Falls police officer. Rodriguez’s son Christian is a corpsman in the Navy. Rodriguez is a former paramedic at Benefis Health System. In 1994, she and her sister started an organization called Heartbeat, which provides CPR training to businesses around the state. Rodriguez says on the campaign trail, the biggest concerns she’s hearing from voters is about crime and public safety. She says Great Falls needs growth not only for the tax base, but also for the citizens to be able to enjoy all the city has to offer. When asked why voters should consider her, she said she can be the voice they need.
- Jasmine Taylor has lived in Great Falls all her life. She describes herself as happily unmarried with two dogs, two cats, and three rats. She says all of her pets are rescue animals. This is Taylor’s first political campaign. She has worked for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services for the past seven years. She’s done case work for public assistance. Currently, she works in the quality assurance division. In her current position she works closely with different facilities that house individuals with developmental disabilities, chemical dependency centers, youth care facilities for children in foster care and other vulnerable populations. As a young professional, Taylor believes she brings a unique set of viewpoints that the city needs. Taylor says crime is the top issue on people’s minds on the campaign trail. She believes that is a result of a drug addiction issue. Taylor works with several different organizations, most notably serving as Vice President of the Great Falls LBGTQ Center.
(JUNE 18, 2019) Monday was the last day to file for the upcoming municipal election in Great Falls.
There are two open seats on the City Commission, and the candidates include: Rick Tryon, Bruce Pollington, Kim Rodriguez, Jasmine Taylor and Terry Thompson.
Commissioner Tracy Houck is seeking another four-year term.
Mayor Bob Kelly and Steven Bolstad, a municipal judge, are running unopposed for the fall election.