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Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins visits officials in Armenia

Mayor Wilmot Collins.jpg
Posted at 7:39 PM, Jul 04, 2024

HELENA — Helena’s Mayor Wilmot Collins recently took a trip to the country of Armenia to speak with local leaders about how our government works here in the U.S. MTN sat down and spoke with the mayor to see how that trip went.

“If you want to go to the route of democracy, your bosses are the people that elect you. You're not their boss. But they are your bosses. And I tried to tell you, so you say then you must have thousands of bosses? I say, yes, I do,” says Mayor Collins.

Sponsored by the State Department, from June 14 to June 20, Mayor Collins along with 2 other mayors from Pasadena and Glendale visited the country of Armenia. Armenia is located in Western Asia bordering Turkey and Iran and gained independence in 1991 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

While there, Mayor Collins visited the city of Stepanavan to meet with the mayor and members of Parliament. He hopes that the relationship he built with the Mayor of Stepanavan could flourish into a relationship joining our two cities.

“We signed a memorandum of intent. Hopefully, it could become a sister city,” says Mayor Collins.

After that, Mayor Collins visited the capital of Yerevan where they met with other leaders from the US and Armenia, including the President of Armenia.

“He welcomed us into his country. And he was looking forward to what we had to impart into the local leaders,” says Mayor Collins.

After breaking into groups, Mayor Collins spoke to leaders of Armenia including the Mayor of Stepanavan about the importance of transparency and openness in government.

“What I spoke to him about was transparency and open government, open meeting, and all of that ... Through his interpreter, I could tell he was like trying to accept it, but that’s not something he can just, it’s not an overnight process, you know. But they were very open to moving towards democracy,” says Mayor Collins.

This trip followed a separate trip that involved Armenia officials visiting Helena.