To the Editor,
I’d like to share a few thoughts on the Red Lodge mayoral race and last week’s mayoral debate. First, I’d like to thank both Tom and Ed for running for mayor. I believe having a contested race for mayor is a very positive thing for the City of Red Lodge. It has driven discussions around town about the needs and desires of this community far more than just one person running ever could. I attended the debate last Thursday and I’ve had opportunities to have individual discussions with both candidates regarding the issues and the needs of the city. After hearing from both men I believe that Ed Williams is the far better choice to help lead the City of Red Lodge into a new era. Any time a city elects a new mayor, some change is inevitable. However, when you combine that with the retirement and replacement of three of the City’s department heads, the City faces the potential for a great deal of change and growth. While Tom Weaver is a nice guy and very approachable, I do not believe that he has the general leadership experience or the specific experience with the City of Red Lodge to lead this community through this crucial time period.
Ed Williams is well prepared to bring on new department heads, set positive expectations for those City Leaders from their first days, and help all of the City Employees to increase efficiency and productivity as the City continues to work towards making the most of the taxpayers money. He understands priority based budgeting; he understands human resource management principles; he understands the challenges that the City and its employees are facing. I heard two basic comments from Tom’s supporters after Thursday’s debate. The first was “Ed seems more qualified, but Tom seems more approachable.” I will certainly not argue the fact that Tom Weaver is a very friendly and approachable person. I truly like Tom.
However, having sat next to Ed at the Council Table for the past few years and having worked with him on a variety of issues, I have always found him to be a very open, reasonable, and approachable person. He keeps an open mind and listens to all of the presented points of view. The second basic comment I heard was that people are concerned that Ed will be too much like Brian Roat and that not enough will change. I have been rather vocal in some of my disagreements with Mayor Roat over the past couple of years. While Brian has endorsed Ed, I do not believe in any way that Ed will be a carbon copy of our current mayor. I believe that part of Ed’s appeal is that he will balance change and growth with tradition and preservation. I believe that Ed is the superior choice for the next mayor of Red Lodge. No matter which candidate you support, I encourage you to vote on Election Day. However if you have not yet finalized your choice, I urge you to vote for Ed Williams.