Libby will have a contested race for the three four-year city council seats open on this year’s ballot, but two other seats will be uncontested come November.
Libby Mayor Brent Teske, who was appointed to the office after Mayor Doug Roll’s resignation in 2016, was the only candidate to file for the office before the June 19, 2017, filing deadline. The same goes for relative newcomer Angel Ford, who was recently appointed to the Libby City Council in place of Allen Olsen. Ford was the only candidate to file for the remaining two years on that term.
For the other three seats on the council, all four-year terms, four candidates have filed. Incumbent council members Gary Beach, Gary Armstrong, and Kristin Smith, all appointed since the 2015 election, have filed for election, as has Arlen Magill, who was recently appointed to the Libby Police Commission.
Smith is co-owner of the popular local Cabinet Mountain Brewing Company and says her experience in both the public and private sectors make her qualified to sit on the council.
“I have worked professionally both in the public and private sectors, which has afforded me a well-rounded perspective and appreciation for how the cooperation in both arenas are necessary to building successful communities,” she said. “In addition, I have served as a Libby City council member since being appointed in September 2016; and have served on other civic and professional boards. With my investment in a thriving downtown business, I have worked to create a unique place and experience for Libby residents and visitors through a blend of manufacturing and restaurant service. I work to foster community involvement and enthusiasm.”
Armstrong is a retired metal fabricator and sculptor who sees himself as a small-town guy with a unique perspective to offer the council.
“My background in the law as well as my working-class life make me uniquely qualified to address the challenges that face day-to-day life in small-town Montana,” he said. “I am and have always been project-focussed, and I’m able to understand the details of issues while always being able to keep the big-picture in mind. I also understand how to organize, how to compromise, and how to listen to my constituents’ concerns and follow through with addressing them.”
Beach has lived in Libby since 1989, with a background in construction and construction management, which he feels benefits the city and its residents.
“Having a varied past in managerial roles, as well as construction managing/budgeting and strong organizational skills are all an asset to the council,” he said.
Neither Magill nor Ford responded to The Montanian’s candidate questionnaire prior to the press deadline.