Over the last 23 years Helena has been my home and I have had the pleasure to participate in almost every aspects of what Helena has to offer. Whether it’s watching my children participate in their various sporting events, acting on the stage at Grand Street Theatre, singing in my church choir, testifying before the legislature or the city commissioners or serving on local and national non-profit boards, I’ve done it all, well almost! My life has been about community service and I want to continue to serve by bringing fresh ideas and perspectives as the Mayor of Helena.

Presently I work as a Child Protection Specialist and my wife Maddie is a Registered Nurse at VA Montana. Our daughter Jaymie is active-duty Navy and Bliss, our son, is finishing his senior year at the University of Montana. Maddie and I have had the joy of being parents in a welcoming community that has given us so much, and we’ve given back with pleasure. I believe the Helena community raised my two beautiful children; I want to provide the same opportunity to others. That means prioritizing funding the basic services like fire and police that ensure safety; focusing on infrastructure that both builds economic and social capital; caring for our neighbors in need like teens and veterans facing homelessness; and protecting our tails, open space and water as those are things that keep us healthy and underpin much of why people visit and live in our beautiful city. My extensive work with youth makes me believe that these are the things that can help create a community where all families thrive.

Those priorities started with my own ideas but they have grown in response to what Helenans have brought up to me as I knocked on your door or met with you at meetings and events over the course of this campaign. I heard about what you and your families need to thrive in Helena. In addition to the nitty-gritty of city business I heard people say they were ready for a change and that Helena needs a mayor who will inspire us to be an extraordinary capital city. I feel compelled to respond to this exciting call to serve.

My wife and I instilled in our children that our values drive us and our dreams motivate us, but it’s hard work, connections, and teamwork that actually make things happen. It’s the combination of vision, outlining a plan and delegating the tasks that I saw make things function well when I served on the boards of the Lewis and Clark United Way and the United Nations Refugee Congress Advisory Council, worked as an Administrative Officer at the VA, and experienced as a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves. As it took this community to raise our children, it takes a team that includes city staff, private business, community volunteers and non-profits to make this city work. I am ready to be on that team in a new way and carry out the duties of Mayor on day one. I arrived in Helena 23 years ago; no matter what happens over the next few weeks, I look forward to continuing to serve Helena in a variety of ways over the next 23 years.

Wilmot Collins is a mayoral candidate in Helena.