I know Billings is a great place to raise a family because I grew up here, and my husband Johnathan and I returned 6 years ago to raise our daughters under the Big Sky. I love our red house and garden, the local public elementary school, the creative energy downtown, and the adventurous spirit of our fellow Montanans.
But there are things we have not loved as well.
In 2014 I was assaulted at the Billings Public Library, a fact I share because it put public safety on my radar in a big way. Year-by-year, crime has been steadily increasing in Billings. I never thought something like this would happen to me, and now when I walk downtown I think about what we need to do to keep these streets safe for all our kids. Step one has to be electing city leaders willing to find new, thoughtful, and innovative solutions to public safety.
Downtown revitalization is also a major piece of this puzzle. Although the downtown has come a long way since I was a kid, as an adult I see large, systematic issues. There’s hardly any affordable housing, family-friendly destinations, or even places to buy a gallon of milk. There hasn’t been any major commercial development in 33 years. As a small business owner I know that to help our local businesses thrive, it is crucial that city leaders move forward with revitalizing our core into a vibrant, prosperous center.
As the mother of two young girls, I fight to make Billings a welcoming place for all our kids, ensuring that our community is safe and affirming for people of all races, faiths, affiliations, orientations, abilities, and persuasions. While living in Japan, and traveling Asia, I learned firsthand the pain of being discriminated against because of my race and gender, and I know it’s important that marginalized communities always have a voice. This is why I support diversity, recreation, and social priorities that will help our whole community grow.
City Council is the nexus of the issues my family has faced in Billings over the last number of years. As a mother, writer, millennial, and small business owner, I enjoy bringing all of this experience to the local government table. I hope to address these issues, and other issues facing our city, in the coming years.