(HELENA) Voters in Helena and East Helena will select city leaders for the next four years during the upcoming election. KTVH interviewed all the candidates about their priorities if elected.
Ballots will be mailed out Oct. 18 and must be returned by Nov. 7.
In the mayoral race, Helena’s longtime mayor is facing a challenge from a newcomer to local politics.
Wilmot Collins is a child protection specialist. He wants to increase funding for police and fire protection and address homelessness among veterans and teenagers.
Jim Smith is running for his fifth term as Helena mayor. He wants to improve cooperation among city departments and expand public transit and recycling programs.
Helena City Commission:
Six candidates, including one incumbent, are running for two seats on the city commission. Each voter can choose up to two candidates.
Justin Ailport is development director for the Montana Democratic Party. He wants to improve Helena’s infrastructure to make it a more livable city.
Mark Burzynski is a retired executive from Blue Cross Blue Shield. He wants the city commission to do more to recruit business development to Helena.
Incumbent Commissioner Andres Haladay is running for his second term. He wants to focus on long-term plans for infrastructure improvements and economic development.
Sean Logan is the former chief of the Helena Fire Department. He wants the city to improve police and fire staffing to meet growing needs.
Heather O’Loughlin is co-director of the Montana Budget and Policy Center. She wants to expand options for affordable housing in Helena.
Gary Spaeth is the chair of the Helena Citizens’ Council. He wants the city commission to focus on developing policy for Helena’s future.
East Helena Mayor:
Incumbent Mayor James Schell is running unopposed.
East Helena City Council, Ward One:
Incumbent Councilmember Judy Leland is running unopposed.
East Helena City Council, Ward Two:
In East Helena’s only contested election, an incumbent and a challenger are running for a city council seat representing the north side of the city.
Don Dahl is running for a second term on the city council. He wants to improve plans for new development and street repairs.
Kelly Harris works for the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. He wants to get the public more involved in East Helena government.