Larson wants a tidier and efficient form of government

Photo by Alastair Baker

Red Lodge Mayoral candidate Bill Larson talks with Tera Reynolds at his kick off campaign meet at Red Lodge Pizza Co. last week.

Bill Larson is no stranger to creating and managing success. Having run several businesses in Billings, including starting up Rocky Mountain Compressor that spread across 5 states, he knows a thing or two about putting the pieces together much like his campaign poster for this year’s Red Lodge Mayoral race.

The poster depicts a jigsaw puzzle with one piece coming in to complete the picture.

“The puzzle is about solv- ing issues. I fit into the puzzle,” said Larson.

“This race is an opportu- nity to walk the wards and that is what I’m about; talking to people about issues facing the city and the remedies and how do people feel about that. A lot of them aren’t happy but if you explain the issue, that is very important and that is what I am going to bring to both people and business owners,” said Larson.

He is an advocate for the open door policy and expects to be rooted to city hall during his tenure.

“That is what I’m about. If you have an issue, I’ll be in city hall, available, come in and talk and if I don’t know the answer then let’s go and find the department head that does. The problem is things don’t get answered, and they snow ball and they end up on Facebook,” he said. “I’m not afraid of Facebook, I will answer questions just to keep that rumor mill down.”

“Running a town is about providing services to the community. I ran service-ori- entated businesses. I lead by example and that is all I expect from my people. In my businesses I kept those people a long time, and we were dealing with people from long distances. You have to keep them happy and they saw how I worked and followed,” said Larson.

Larson wants to give the department heads the direction they need to aim for and let them know he’s there if they need advice.

“I won’t tell them what to do. They are all very well qualified,” he said.

This brings him to another point concerning recognition.

“The people who work for the city are very dedicated, but have gone unrecognized. They need to get a birthday card from the City, they need to get a 10 year pin, a dinner at a steak house on us. Nobody knows who they are. They need to be (recognized) in the paper,” said Larson.

Larson wants to tidy up Red Lodge and to make sense of the plethora of projects that are out there. He wants to work on the CIP, Capital Improvement Program, and get the infra- structure back into place.

“People are bothered by the road conditions. We can’t do anything on the roads until the underneath is fixed. In talking to Public Works, the water lines are in fairly good shape. The Haggin’ area needs to be completed and there are still sewer issues,” he said. Larson would also like to carry on with the concept of community policing with officers walking through the community, maybe even cycling, and taking the time to talk to people and business owners. “It will gain that bit of trust. It’s the people in the community that are the eyes and ears for them,” said Larson.

He’d also like to see the police uniforms toned down.

“Even I feel the big out- fits are a little intimidating,” he said, referring to the bul- letproof jackets and armory that officers are wearing. He has regarded other aspects of local policing like 24/7 coverage that, he feels, should be decided by a Public Safety Mill Levy vote. He isn’t a fan of the K-9 program but feels in the present case that K-9 Police Officer Maleri Cates should be allowed to keep the dog.

For more on the story see Carbon County News.