Within 90 minutes of Monday's filing deadline to appear on the ballots, three additional candidates registered to run for office in Helena's city government.
Sean Logan and Greg Painter joined Kayt Bonahoom, Emily Dean, Ed Noonan and Kali Wicks as candidates for the two positions up for election on the Helena City Commission.
Jack Morris joined Anne Peterson in the race to be Helena's municipal judge.
Sept. 3 is the deadline to register as a write-in candidate for the Nov. 5 election.
Sean Logan, city commission
Sean Logan retired in 2015 after 20 years with the Helena Fire Department, including three years as chief. He ran unsuccessfully for the city commission in 2017 and said he decided to run again after noticing what he believes to be transparency problems within Helena’s city government. Specifically, Logan said he believes the city has been increasing rates without enough public input, and he is concerned about the number of city leaders who have recently stepped down.
“Something is going on in city leadership that needs to change, or needs to be addressed at a minimum,” he said.
Greg Painter, city commission
Born and raised in Helena, Greg Painter has been a small-business owner for more than 35 years and currently owns Helena’s Fastsigns store. His priorities include supporting small businesses, promoting affordable housing to improve the tax base and supporting Helena’s open lands and parks system.
“I feel the city of Helena has some awesome people working for us, and I want to be part of their team and I want to promote everybody’s strengths so we can work together,” he said.
Kayt Bonahoom, city commission
Kayt Bonahoom is the CEO of Gold Rush Financial Management Co. She said transparency of commission proceedings and better coordination between the programs the commission authorizes and the city staff that run them are important to her. She said she would bring to the commission the perspective of a local entrepreneur with knowledge of city business practices, which could help generate necessary revenue while still implementing “progressive change.”
Emily Dean, city commission
Emily Dean is a communications specialist for the Montana School Boards Association and previously served as student body president of Carroll College. She emphasized creation of opportunities for education and jobs, the latter of which she believes would be well served by partnering Helena’s nonprofit organizations and colleges. Dean also called for more transparency within the City/County Building, noting the difficulty of obtaining an advance copy of the city’s preliminary budget for the next two fiscal years.
Ed Noonan, city commission
Ed Noonan, an adjunct professor at Carroll College, is running for his second full term on the commission after his 2015 election. When asked about the most important issues he sees coming into play in a new term, Noonan said the commission must remain “vigilant” in investing in downtown Helena while closely monitoring city water resources over the long term. Noonan also spoke about the value of viewing Helena and surrounding southern Lewis and Clark County as “a valley community” rather than separate entities to ensure better community planning.
Kali Wicks, city commission
Kali Wicks, the senior manager of government relations for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, joined the commission in December after being selected from 13 residents who applied to replace Rob Farris-Olsen. She said her top priorities are transparency and accessibility among city government, economic development, public lands protection and affordable housing.
Jack Morris, municipal judge
Currently with Beebe & Flowers Law Firm, Jack Morris has been an attorney since 1991 and has been practicing in Helena since 2008. He previously worked as a clerk for former Lewis and Clark District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock, as a part-time city attorney in Whitehall, and a substitute justice of the peace in Jefferson County. Morris said the most serious cases that wind up in municipal court involve DUI and partner or family member assault, and he said he has extensive experience in both areas of the law.
Anne Peterson, municipal judge
The Helena City Commission appointed Anne Peterson to fulfill the remainder of retiring Municipal Judge Bob Wood’s term earlier this year. Prior to that, she worked as a prosecutor for the Lewis and Clark County Attorney’s Office, as well as a public defender. In her application, Peterson wrote “patience and the ability to communicate respectfully are the qualities I believe far exceed any others, with the exception of impartiality, in importance for a municipal court judge.”
Independent Record Editor Jesse Chaney and former IR reporter Michael Woodel contributed to this story.