I have been asked a few times recently what bills I have spoken on in front of legislative committees this session. With all the wild and crazy that seems to be defining the Montana Legislature this year, there certainly have been more than a few opportunities to speak up. As you likely know at this point, I help people buy and sell homes in my professional life. Like any industry with a trade association, there are times I agree with the stances they take and times I wish they would be more in line with my personal views. However, I have always felt that staying involved and being part of the conversation to try and make a difference where I can is important, and I would feel that way no matter what profession I was in. Rarely are there absolute easy answers, more often there is give and take on policy creation and I believe being pragmatic is a crucial skill, especially at the local level. Through those efforts, I feel we have been able to move our group forward in some areas and I had the opportunity to speak on several bills I feel strongly about. Here is a quick list I will update as the session wraps.
I spoke in Support of:
HB 21 - Authorize funding for the multifamily coal trust home loan program - This bill would expand on improvements made during the last session to authorize loans from the coal trust fund for low-income housing projects.
HB 116 - Indoor cleanup standards for methamphetamine - Entering this session, Montana had no cleanup standards for homes or properties that tested positive for meth residue but were not meth labs. This bill is a step in the right direction though more work needs to be done in this area.
HB 304 - Revise the definition of community land trust - I was happy to lend our voice to this bill clarifying the definition of community land trust in subdivision regulations so it can be better utilized as a tool in the efforts to provide affordable and attainable housing.
HB 397 - Establish workforce housing tax credits - This bill would establish a state of Montana tax credit similar to a federal program already in existence that would help our great local partners continue to provide opportunities for affordable housing development for low-income individuals and families.
I spoke in Opposition of:
HB 677 - Bill to limit non-profit entities abilities to purchase AG lands - This bill would greatly impact land conservation efforts of some of our favorite Missoula and Montana non-profit groups.
If you have any questions or want to discuss these or any other issue more in-depth, just reach out.
I spoke with the Missoulian for a couple of minutes last week about the decision to run for City Council. I look forward to great community conversations during this process. If you have any questions or ideas, please reach out. And don't forget to tell your friends and family to support our campaign!
Where is Ward 4, anyway? Ward 4 is generally the Southeast corner of the city limits in primarily the Lewis and Clark and Russell School boundaries but touching the Paxson area as well. The city adjusts ward boundaries periodically, so the photos show the expected boundaries for this election.
I’m Mike Nugent, and I’m running to represent Ward 4 on the Missoula City Council. I am a lifelong Missoulian, father, husband, UM alum, supporter of local business, volunteer, and engaged citizen. My wife Staci and I are raising two wonderful children, James and Hannah — with a great assist from our Missoula community and all the natural and cultural beauty and opportunity that surrounds us in Western Montana. I care deeply about our environment in the Missoula valley, and I recognize that every decision we make has an impact on the great quality of life we enjoy here. I also know that people’s fears and concerns about changing their daily lives shouldn’t be simply dismissed under the banner of progress. Our community dialogue needs to listen to all viewpoints and welcome minority opinions with genuine interest to work towards consensus solutions.
I am very familiar with the negative impacts the low-inventory, high-cost housing market has on the working women and men of our community, as well as those on a fixed income, and I recognize how property taxes impact family budgets each month. I support environmentally-responsible development that is equitable, sustainable, and that preserves Missoula’s beauty and unique character while also acknowledging that Missoula is growing. If we don’t meet that challenge with a realistic understanding of what the current situation is in our community, we will fail to make responsible decisions. Helping even one person is always noble, but we can’t let partial solutions give a false sense of success. If we don’t address the problems across the spectrum, the potential impacts can be much worse. I believe there is tremendous opportunity for public-private partnerships in the housing sector that can leverage proportional public investments and create sustainable affordability in those projects.
Staci and I are also co-owners of a local small business. We worked hard and spent our savings to invest in her family’s business and I see every day the effort she puts in to keep that foundation strong. I’ve seen first-hand how local businesses have been affected by Covid-19, and the tough decisions small business owners make regularly to keep their doors open and continue to make their payroll each week.
The decisions we make as a community impact all of us, and we can’t make them in silos. We have a tremendous opportunity to protect what makes Missoula special and invest in our community to make it even better in the future. With your support, I look forward to helping build that better future. Join our campaign and help make a difference for Missoula.