by Nathan Boddy
Municipal elections within the City of Hamilton could mean change for the City Council. Each of the city’s three wards has one of its two seats up for grabs. This could mean up to three new faces on the City Council, with at least one guaranteed in Ward 3, where outgoing Councilor Claire Kemp has chosen not to run for reelection.
As a way to introduce voters to these candidates, both prospective and incumbents, each has been asked to write a piece about themselves and to answer the following questions:
1. Why are you running for a seat on the City Council?
2. What issues are most important to you and why? (Feel free to add ideas that you might bring to the table.)
3. Why are you the best candidate for the position?
This week, Ward 2 incumbent, Rod Pogachar, and candidate for Ward 2, Kathy Dexter, have supplied their responses.
I’m a retired librarian from the Hamilton School District. After graduating from Hamilton High School in 1981, I went on to the University of Montana and graduated with double degrees: Political Science and Secondary Education. I am a veteran, having served our country in the Army as well as in the National Guard and Army Reserve.
I am currently serving my second term as a City Councilor in Ward 2. I also served on the board at the Bitterroot Aquatic Center and work as a substitute teacher in the valley. My wife is a retired music educator and we both regularly attend Faith Lutheran Church. We have lived in an historic house on North 4th Street for 29 years. I am by nature a quiet and thoughtful man. I listen way more than I talk, but my wife would add that I definitely speak up about matters that are important to me!
In 2013, a city councilor and leader in the Hamilton business community asked me to consider seeking a position on the city council. After attending a few meetings and giving some serious thought to this commitment, I felt a call to shape policy for the city of Hamilton. During my first term in office, we oversaw a number of positive changes for the Hamilton Community. We facilitated the Bitterroot Community College’s move downtown into the former Westview School Building. We also added the Steve Powell Park to the city. During my second term the city purchased Claudia Driscoll Park and the National Guard Armory. We remodeled the Armory which now houses our Justice Center, and Circle 13 raised enough money to put in a skate park into our recently purchased park. Just recently we also added Skalkaho Bend Park, thanks to a partnership with the Bitterroot Land Trust.
Our city is currently growing and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. We just added a new Parks Director to manage the many parks in the city that we enjoy. As we continue to work on current undertakings in the city such as water main projects and road and sidewalk improvements, we also need to look ahead for creative ways to fund a new Fire Station and expand the Bitterroot Public Library.
Thank you for entrusting me to make good decisions for all citizens of Hamilton. I carefully study all sides of the issues brought before me, and listen to input from the people involved before I cast my vote. I believe I am fiscally conservative with city finances. I have gained valuable knowledge about how city government runs, and have enjoyed my time on the city council. I would be honored to be elected for a third term.
Good morning Hamilton! My name is Kathy Dexter and I am a local family practice and women’s health nurse practitioner. I moved to Montana in 2016 from the Jerome/Twin Falls area of Idaho where I spent 20+ years as a paramedic and flight nurse for Air St. Luke’s. I raised 3 children and put myself through school while I worked. I attended the College of Southern Idaho, Idaho State University and earned my doctorate from the University of Utah. I also taught nursing and EMS and was a preceptor for students through the College of Southern Idaho and Idaho State University. I also had the opportunity to be a part of the Time Sensitive Emergency Committee that developed protocols linking emergency transport personnel and hospitals state wide to get the most critically ill and injured to the appropriate hospital in the shortest amount of time.
I am an avid lover of the outdoors, a business owner, promoter of healthy living, good social connections and responsible stewardship of the land. I understand fiscal responsibility, hard work and dedication to achieve your goals.
I am running for city council because I want to be a part of my community. I love Hamilton. It is a warm and friendly place. It is striving to be an active, healthy, fun place to live and thrive. I want to be able to give a voice to the people in my ward.
One of the biggest concerns I have for Hamilton is affordable housing. This is a tough issue for any city council. We are having trouble recruiting and keeping fantastic people in town because there is nowhere affordable to live. Affordable, safe housing and employment have huge effects on the health of a community.
As someone who has been faced with what seemed like insurmountable odds to success many times in my life, each time I have found a way to make it to my goal. I understand sacrifice and hard work. Bringing people together to find solutions seems to be the most effective way to solve any problem faced by a community. Be involved. Be a part of the conversation. Be a neighbor.
This is why I think I can contribute to the next chapter of Hamilton’s story.