One of the most common stories you’ll hear about Mike Nugent is someone meeting him and immediately thinking, “that guy should be mayor.” It’s an experience I share with so many others in Missoula.
As a community, business, and City Council leader, Mike has worked together with all ideologies to develop common sense solutions that deliver real results. He holds folks accountable and isn’t afraid to confront hard truths.
Mike has consistently advocated for policies to make Missoula more affordable; homes Missoulians can afford, lowering property taxes, reducing the wait time for government services, and decreasing the cost of childcare. That sets Mike apart from the crowded mayoral field, but it’s the depth and breadth of his housing experience that requires Nugent at this moment.
If you’ve never heard the term NIMBY, it stands for “Not In My Backyard.” It’s a term that’s really familiar to those of us in local government because every time someone looks to build homes, some neighbors will inevitably show up to lament the loss of the vacant lot that they thought would be there forever.
Acquiesce to those neighbors too often and you have a major housing crisis on your hands. Ignore every neighbor’s concern and you don’t have a neighborhood, just a collection of houses. The key, as with most things in life, is balancing concerns to ensure that neighbors are heard but Missoulians have housing.
When housing is out of reach for teachers, nurses, firefighters, police, and working class Missoulians, we end up spending more resources addressing the problems that accompany housing insecurity. Housing insecurity is the start of a very negative chain reaction in our community; taxes go up, the cost of childcare goes up, our ability to fight climate change is hampered, and health risks increase.
Jordan Hess was the chair of the land use and planning committee on City Council for three years before he was appointed Mayor for the last year. During that time, Missoula saw a nearly 20% decline in the number of approved homesites. The sharpest decline (a 40% decline) was in the type of homesites that are most affordable for new homebuyers.
At a recent forum he proudly let everyone know that he named his dog NIMBY as a housing reference. It’s not hard to see his philosophy at play in the results for Missoula. Housing prices have skyrocketed as housing supply has been choked off.
Try to build anything in the City of Missoula and you’ll be placed behind a virtual stonewall of bureaucracy. It’s the mushroom style of leadership. Keep everyone in the dark and feed them . . . well, you get it.
Missoula needs someone who is actually committed to creating homes Missoulians can afford, not just talking about them. We need someone who will hold folks accountable instead of making excuses. That someone is Mike Nugent and I hope that you’ll join me in voting Mike Nugent for Mayor.
Tyler Gernant is the Missoula County Clerk and Treasurer.
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