Meet the candidates-City Council Ward 2

City Council Ward 2
Thursday, October 14, 2021

The City of Glendive is currently in the midst of a municipal election. There are two contested races; the race for mayor and the race for City Council Ward 2. Absentee ballots have been mailed. Registered absentee voters who have not received their ballot should contact the Dawson County Clerk and Recorder’s Office. Residents of Ward 1, Ward 3 and Ward 4 will not receive ballots for council elections as those seats are uncontested.

Mayoral candidates include Jerry Jimison, Teresea Olson and John Stonehocker.

Ward 2 candidates include Ryan Albright, Luke Gambee, Jason Sasse and Jason Stuart.

Ballots may be returned by mail or in-person to the Dawson County Courthouse. They must be received before 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

***Editor's note: All candidates were provided with the same questions and given the same amount of time to answer. They wer all encouraged to submit or present themselves for a photo. All answers printed are reproduced exactly as submitted, without editing, other than for format.***

 

Ryan Albright

Tell us a little about yourself (Family, current occupation, education, etc.):

Hi, my name is Ryan Albright. I have lived in Glendive for about 19 yrs. I Graduated from Savage High School in 2002. Moved to Glendive in the Fall of 2002 when I was accepted at Dawson Community College. Graduated from DCC in 2004 with a degree in Law Enforcement. In 2006 I started working in the oilfield. Currently I work for Graco Oilfield Services. I have been married to my wife Cortnee Albright for 10 years. We have 2 daughters. The oldest is 4 and youngest is 2. We have lived in the Ward 2 area for about 16 yrs.

Why are you running for office and why do you think you would be an effective city council member for Glendive?

This is my first time choosing to run for public office. I chose to run for City council because I was looking for ways to start being more involved with the community. Wanting to keep it a great place to raise my family. I saw in the Ranger Review nobody had filed for filling the vacant seat, so I decided no better time than now to get involved. .

What do you see as the biggest opportunities for growth and prosperity in Glendive?

Currently I feel the big opportunities for Growth in our community Dawson Community College has seen its largest number of students. I think that’s Great. It has great programs and reasonable priced way to start life. I also feel having a State Park in our back yard is a Great Opportunity.

What issues or challenges facing the city do you have a particularly strong stance on and how would you respond to those issues?

I think some issues with our community right now would probably be lack of higher paying career jobs. With the railroad shipping out so many decent jobs it creates other problems like loosing families in the community that would help fill in the other jobs around town. I would work with the community leaders the best I can to help bring about changes to try and attract some more career opportunities.

How would you use your position to affect Glendive’s government and community now and into the future?

I would use my position as a representative of Ward 2 to the best of my ability to be their voice for the changes that they would like see and try to keep Glendive a great place to raise a family.

 

 

Jason Sasse

Tell us a little about yourself (Family, current occupation, education, etc.):

My name is Jason Sasse and I am running for Glendive city council ward 2 in this upcoming election. I have lived in Glendive for 39 years and 16 of those years I have owned a home in Ward 2 on Riverview Ave. I am married (Tawnee) and together we have 5 children. (Kadyn, Logan, Westin, Colden and Rowyn). I am a graduate of DCHS. After high school I pursued a career in North Dakota working in the oilfield. After nearly 20 years in the drilling industry, I was ready for a change. I began to look for a job in Glendive. In April of 2020 I accepted an auto mechanic position for UPS here in Glendive.

Why are you running for office and why do you think you would be an effective city council member for Glendive?

I have chosen to run for city council mainly to get involved in our local government and hopefully help make Glendive a more inviting and prosperous place to live.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities for growth and prosperity in Glendive? What issues or challenges facing the city do you have a particularly strong stance on and how would you respond to those issues?

I was given a Q & A here about challenges, opportunities, issues, complaints and basically how I am going to make Glendive better for you. The fact is I alone cannot do that. Frankly I’m not even sure what the biggest challenges are that Glendive is facing from a city council point of view. That is why I am trying to get in there. I live here as do all of you. I see the same potholes and the same old equipment the city employees (Police, Fire, EMS, and public works) are expected to maintain and care for the city with just as all of you do. Frankly a person wonders what’s going on and why does it seem like Glendive is struggling to maintain itself. I also wonder why it is so hard to entice new businesses to plant roots in Glendive.

How would you use your position to affect Glendive’s government and community now and into the future?

Running for this position I will tell you that I don’t know the ins and out of the city and the city council and I’m not going to make you a bunch of promises that I am unable to keep. If elected and given the opportunity to sit at the table and represent ward 2 I will ask questions and vote accordingly with the best interests of my ward and the citizens of Glendive. I will always be available to answer questions and if I don’t know the answer, I will find the person who does. I will give it my best effort for the term.

 

 

Jason Stuart

Tell us a little about yourself (Family, current occupation, education, etc.):

I have been the executive director of the Dawson County Economic Development Council since 2018. Prior to that I worked as a reporter for the Ranger-Review, and still do some part-time writing for the paper. I am also in my sixth year of teaching as the adjunct professor of History at Dawson Community College. I also serve as Dawson County’s representative and as the Vice Chair of the Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority, which is working to restore passenger rail service to southern Montana, including Glendive. I also serve on the Glendive Convention and Visitors Bureau Board, the Downtown Committee, and recently joined the Glendive Lions Club. I also have a background in politics, having worked from 2008-11 as a legislative aide and director of constituent communications for former U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. I did most of my undergraduate studies at the University of Denver and consider it my alma mater, though I completed my bachelor’s degree in History with a Journalism minor at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. I earned my M.A. in History from George Mason University in Virginia

Why are you running for office and why do you think you would be an effective city council member for Glendive?

I am running for city council because I believe in Glendive. From the moment I first arrived here eight years ago, I saw in Glendive a wealth of potential. I found in Glendive a fresh start, a new home, a beautiful and wonderful place to live and work and a warm, friendly people. Glendive is already a great town, but I also see in it the potential to be even better in the future, with renewed growth and prosperity to bring Glendive back to the position it once occupied in the first half of the 20th century – as the beating commercial and cultural heart of Eastern Montana. For the past three years I have been working as the DCEDC director to try to find ways to achieve that through projects to improve the quality of life and the attractiveness of Glendive as a place for people to want to live, do business and raise their families. Progress in these regards, has, however, been slower than I would prefer, and I believe that by serving on the city council, I can better help foster and implement policies, practices and ideas that will benefit the community and put Glendive on a course towards renewed growth and prosperity that will sustain it long into the future.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities for growth and prosperity in Glendive?

One word: tourism. Tourism is Glendive’s best opportunity to build on to achieve renewed growth and prosperity. Tourism is both our and the state’s fastest-growing industry. It is now Montana’s number two industry in terms of economic impact after only agriculture. And we have in Glendive the tourism resources to build on. That first and foremost starts with Makoshika State Park. In 2020, 128,000 people visited Makoshika, the first time the park has exceeded 100,000 visitors in a year. This year, it looks to be on pace to possibly reach 150,000 visitors, and I fully expect us to be hitting upwards of 200,000 visitors in the coming years. And every single one of those visitors has to drive right through downtown Glendive to reach the park, which presents an enormous economic opportunity both for our existing downtown business owners and potential new business entrepreneurs. Besides Makoshika, other tourism assets we have are Short Pines OHV Area, the Yellowstone River and the annual paddlefishing season, a wealth of Western history being on the Lewis & Clark Trail and dinosaurs. We are perfectly situated with these assets and the fact that we are the first large city tourists entering Montana from the east arrive in to capture growing numbers of them. For too long, however, Glendive has somewhat failed to really capitalize on the growing tourism industry, and we need to take steps to ensure that we can capture as many of those visitors as possible so our community can thrive. What issues or challenges

What issues or challenges facing the city do you have a particularly strong stance on and how would you respond to those issues?

One issue I feel very strongly about is downtown redevelopment, preservation and beautification. If we are to develop our tourism economy, the continued progress on the redevelopment of our downtown is an absolute must. Tourists don’t like to visit towns where they see too many buildings in states of disrepair and decay along with empty storefronts and boarded-up windows. They will still go on to Makoshika, to be sure, but too much decay and unsightly eyesores will definitely deter them from stopping to shop or eat on their way into or out of the park, which is not good for our local businesses. To be certain, downtown overall looks a lot better and has seen many of those once-empty storefronts filled with new businesses in the eight years since I first arrived. But there still remains a lot of work to be done to redevelop, preserve and beautify our downtown. Taking steps like advancing Glendive in the Montana Main Street Program, which it has been a member of for over a decade but has not really taken full advantage of, and creating a Tax Increment Finance District (TIF) for downtown to create a funding source to help downtown property and business owners maintain and improve their historic buildings are among the things we can do to help further redevelopment of our downtown. (Please note that a TIF District does not create any new taxes, but leverages existing property tax receipts to create a grant program to assist downtown property owners.)

How would you use your position to affect Glendive’s government and community now and into the future?

I would work to pursue policies, programs and initiatives to have Glendive lean into its best possible future as a tourism destination and a regional hub for outdoor recreation. This includes downtown redevelopment, preservation and beautification. It also includes pursuing the development of new walking and biking trails and other greenspace. It also includes ensuring existing ordinances are enforced and that ugly eyesores in the community are dealt with swiftly and decisively. You simply cannot hope to successfully build a tourism economy if your community appears ramshackle and disheveled. I would also work to pursue policies, programs and initiatives to begin the hard work of trying to untangle some of the “sins of the past,” as they are often called, which include exploring how we might wholly integrate West Glendive into the city, getting city services out to where they need to be to further spur the opportunity for new business and industry development, and tackling the hodgepodge and often nonsensical mess of zoning in certain parts of the city. Every action I would take would be with one goal in mind: to restore Glendive to its once and future position as the commercial and cultural heart of Eastern Montana; to set the community up for sustainable success not just for the next one or two decades, but for the next century and beyond.

 

 

Luke Gambee

Tell us a little about yourself (Family, current occupation, education, etc.):

I’m married w/ 5 children. I grew up in Oregon and schooled in both Oregon and Arizona. Arizona is where I met my wife, who is from Lisbon, ND.

Why are you running for office and why do you think you would be an effective city council member for Glendive?

I am running for city council to simply try and protect property owners in any relevant way that I can where applicable to the city council. I don’t believe that true property ownership is respected at the federal, state, or local level. While the city council may have a limited influence on those individual property rights, I will do what I can to ensure that local government in Glendive respects property ownership.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities for growth and prosperity in Glendive?

The big challenges facing our community (and all communities across the country) is a basic understanding of the proper role of government. Too often we want and expect “government” to solve the problems they have absolutely no business solving. In whatever capacity I may have if elected, I will always approach government like the fire it is.

What issues or challenges facing the city do you have a particularly strong stance on and how would you respond to those issues?

Again, understanding the proper role of government, especially as it applies to individual property ownership is my top priority. If people have their inalienable rights, they are usually capable of making good decisions.

How would you use your position to affect Glendive’s government and community now and into the future?

I would use this position to have an influence on the role of our government influence locally and hopefully give a perspective that we have lost as a whole, not just locally, but nationally. I also would serve this position without monetary compensation. I would reject any pay for the terms I serve.

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