Recently a column was submitted, signed by individuals who’ve had considerable influence on Missoula housing policy. That column continued a recent trend of maligning Realtors — a trend I find incredibly concerning and problematic. I’m a Realtor and I’m a Montanan who cares deeply about my community and my clients, who are overwhelmingly Montanans as well.

The professional Realtors who serve this community are Missoulians, first and foremost. It’s unfortunate that this election has devolved into criticisms about our integrity when it could be about issues that Missoulians care about, like housing.

My peers regularly volunteer. We work for organizations who serve kids, we organize blood drives, raise money for charity and support those who create affordable housing in Missoula. I would guess that most Missoulians both know and like a Realtor. That said, the supporters of the candidates running against Mike Nugent seem to believe that we have a nefarious agenda and that our support of his campaign is deeply problematic.

I cannot speak for NAR nor can I speak for all Realtors in Missoula. I was not a member of the committee who requested NAR support and to be clear I am only speaking as a private citizen.

That said, I support housing. I know NAR supports housing. And while we can say that NAR is “dark money” and has an undisclosed agenda, is that accurate? I think that agenda is quite clear — Missoula needs more housing. We desperately need affordable housing, specifically, but solving that equation is incredibly complex and extends beyond just “affordable housing,” as we know it.

Despite what Mike’s detractors might say, please remember that Mike did not make this request, did not receive the money, and does not have control of these funds. As professionals working in this industry, we constantly monitor data and trends. What we see is alarming.

Should it surprise anybody that we would ask our national organization to make a significant investment in our community to help ensure that Missoula has a better future?

If the “Realtor agenda” — more housing — is so problematic to these candidates, why are they running on housing platforms? Missoula is facing other issues they could attempt to address.

Very early on in my career, I represented individuals in a desperate housing situation who could not afford a new home, but just barely. Because I was so committed to these clients, I took no commission and actually ended up owing money when they purchased. It wasn’t charity, it was one person helping people I cared about who were in desperate need. I’m not alone. Almost all my peers have similar stories.

Mike is not beholden to Realtors; Realtors are beholden to Mike. Mike has extensive knowledge and has worked tirelessly to promote housing. I know, and many of my peers know, that Missoula cannot and will not be better without his help. Desperate times call for desperate measures. And I promise I don’t want anything more than more and better housing options, despite what others have claimed.

Mike Nugent


-UM Grad-Missoula Native- -Moderately Progressive Politics & Griz Sports- If you're following for anything work related, prepare for disappointment. #nowork