June 5, 2018
Eve Byron, Missoulian
Challenger Josh Slotnick unseated longtime Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss in Tuesday's Democratic primary.
Slotnick is a farmer and University of Montana lecturer with deep agricultural roots, having co-founded Garden City Harvest and UM's PEAS Program in the Environmental Studies. He has little political experience.
Curtiss has served on the commission for 17 years, after working as a volunteer, board member and president of Montana PTA.
Slotnick had campaigned on a "lack of coherent communication" between city and county government, and said that he wants to bring developers, farmers and citizens together to find solutions to growth and development pains. He said they shouldn't pit preservation against development, but instead should consider more individualized growth plans to preserve Missoula County's unique qualities.
Curtiss countered that a citizen-led, collaborative planning group is overhauling the Missoula County land use map, a document that hasn't been updated since the 1970s. She's led many economic development efforts, from heading the Bitterroot Economic Development District, to helping start the Missoula Economic Partnership, and also oversaw the removal of the Milltown Dam, and the revitalization of the Bonner-Milltown area.