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April 2, 2018

Montana Conservation Voters (MCV) Endorse Josh Slotnick for Missoula County Commissioner

Missoula, MT. Democratic candidate, Josh Slotnick, is the only candidate in the race for Missoula County Commissioner to be endorsed by the prestigious Montana Conservation Voters this year. The announcement came officially today and is very meaningful in this contested Democratic Primary Election, slated for June 5, 2018. Mail in ballots will be sent out to many voters about May 11.

“I am extremely proud to have received the coveted endorsement of Montana Conservation Voters,” said Slotnick who is challenging 18-year incumbent Jean Curtiss in the Primary election. “For nearly 20 years MCV has vetted candidates to support only those who have a track record of standing up for conservation principles. I look forward bringing those principles into policy as the next Missoula County Commissioner.”

After more than thirty years living, working, and raising a family in Missoula, Josh Slotnick is ready and prepared to ‘give back’ to Missoula County citizens first as a candidate for public office and second, if elected, as our new County Commissioner.

Some of the reasons MCV chose to endorse Josh are summarized below.

When asked, ‘What conservation efforts have you been involved in?’, Josh answered:

"In 1996 I co-founded Garden City Harvest (GCH), the PEAS farm and the PEAS program in Environmental Studies at the UM. When we started, PEAS was 2 acres, and GCH had 3 sites. Now we have 20 sites, 20 plus acres, long-standing partnerships with MCPS, the University, the City, Homeword, Youth Homes and the Missoula Food Bank. Recently GCH completed construction of the River Road farmstead, office and farm buildings at the River Road farm - which GCH bought in 2014.

As an EVST faculty member since 1996, I have been part of team who actively trains new generations of activists. My former students are farmers, advocates, conservation professionals, teachers, and much more. The ripple effect from 20 years of teaching spreads farther than I ever would have imagined years ago.  As a teacher, I also have written on land issues. I have published essays in both the academic and popular press, book chapters, and one book.

As a County Representative on the Missoula City County Planning Board from 2015-17, I was a consistent voice for ag land preservation on the planning board. I also used this experience to broaden my understanding of zoning, subdivision review and the County planning process."

Regarding zoning MCV asked, ‘About 94% of Missoula County is not zoned, what critical resources do you think should be protected through zoning?’ Josh replied:

"We could set up a comprehensive Resource Protection Zoning program to address development in areas of critical resources like stream sides, riparian areas, steep slopes, high quality ag soil, traditional recreation patterns and critical habitat. This zoning would both detail the type of analysis required to determine if these resources are present, as well as the specifics of building in these areas.  The development specifics could include, but are not limited to: a development formula to determine the amount of developable property (in place of minimum lot sizes), stream side set-backs, an ag land overlay, ag districts, a mitigation ordinance, density bonuses and other incentives for shared wastewater, affordable housing or other community values.

A common sense understanding of both fairness and fiscal prudence demands we require developers to financially cover the public impacts of their projects."

Regarding climate change MCV asked, ‘Climate Change poses a number of threats to Missoula County’s livability and economy. What specifically would you like to see the Missoula County Commission do to address climate change mitigation or adaptation?' Josh responded:

"Climate concerns need to be included in all facets of the County’s work. Historically, these issues have either not been part of the conversation, or have been add-ons and led to minimal action. Tools for the county to address the production of atmospheric carbon include (and are certainly not limited to) exploring the following:

Former MT State Senator and retired UM Professor Ron Erickson states, “Josh would be a superb County Commissioner—the best choice we could make in these troubling times. Josh’s insistence on sane land use planning is forward thinking. He has the background, abilities, and vision to move our County towards sustainable growth.”

As a farmer and small business owner, Josh will roll up his sleeves and work with our business and economic development leaders to maximize our assets while acknowledging a need to manage our costs and growth.

Missoula City Councilwoman and President Marilyn Marler lends her support to Josh’s candidacy saying, “Josh repeatedly brings forward innovative ideas and turns them into reality. Josh is a results-oriented team player and will bring enthusiasm to County leadership.”

Josh acknowledges that it is a challenging time to get involved in electoral politics and foster collaborative bi-partisan approaches to the tough issues we face. Yet, he remains optimistic and committed to the work ahead.

He finished the MCV questionnaire with:

“As we grow we must keep in mind our responsibility to the great diversity of environmental dependency of the residents of Missoula County. We need cultivated ag land, rangeland, recreation areas, healthy forests, enough and affordable housing, clean water, healthy riparian areas and livable, human-scale built environments as well. Across all of that, overlay climate change and the ever-widening inequality gap that seems to accompany prosperity like a shadow. We must meet this mad complexity with radical inclusion. Everyone has a voice, and we need to listen, and yet not let apprehension paralyze us."