It’s a big job – Missoula has 71,000 people.
Besides that it has some of the highest housing prices in the nation and the highest taxes in the state.
In fact, Missoula taxes have gone up by 95% over the past twelve years.
So why on earth would you want this job?
Let’s see if we can answer that question today.
Lisa Triepke Biography
She graduated high school in 1982 and then moved to Ohio to attend the University of Dayton.
This is a private Roman Catholic school, probably quite similar to Carroll College in Helena.
In 1986 she earned a degree from the school in communications and languages, mainly Russian.
Lisa moved to Missoula in 1991.
At some point she got married and had 4 kids.
She began working at CostCare in 2010 and now serves as Director of Marketing and Community Outreach.
She also works part-time at Desperados sports bar as a server.
This is what she says about that:
“I'm not too proud to admit that I recently picked up my second job because as a single mom of four, I needed extra income to ease the pain of the never ending rising cost of living.”
Lisa admits to using food stamps and low-income energy assistance for about a year after her divorce.
Besides that she started driving for Uber right after they started in Missoula, in August 2016.
Meanwhile Mayor John Engen voted to raise his own pay from $63,979 in 2006 when he took office to $90,235 in 2015 ($113,804 if you add in the benefits).
I think we see a real difference between Engen and Triepke.
One just votes himself more pay via taxpayer’s money while the other goes out and takes on service industry jobs around town.
That speaks to character.
It’s not all work for Lisa, though.
Somewhere along the way she really got interested in politics, at least at the school level.
She got elected to the Target Range School Board in 2008 and served for 7 years.
During that tenure Lisa felt she could take on more than just school issues.
So it was that in 2012 she ran for County Commissioner.
The Missoulian did a brief Q-and-A with her that May.
The finance reports tell us the rest of the story.
She raised a little over $10,000 for the race. Her largest expenditures – around $3,200 – were for printing and mailing postcards.
Another $1,900 was spent on yard signs.
Despite those efforts, she was defeated by Jean Curtiss in the June primary.
Curtiss had raised over $11,000 by the primary, but she was also the incumbent.
NBC Montana didn’t even bother listing Triepke in the elections results post they put up.
In fact, they didn’t even list the results – I had to dig them up from the election sites.
The final tally was Curtiss’ 8,091 votes to Triepke’s 3,182, or 66% to 26%, with Larry Claric taking 890 votes (7%) and 43 people writing in someone, which came to 0.35%.
So she lost by about 5,000 votes but she still managed to convince more than 3,000 people to vote for her.
I bet a lot of those people were simply upset with Curtiss, or felt the county needed a new direction.
That’s exactly what Lisa is banking on this time around…that people are up-in-arms-angry over Engen and his disastrous policies.
But are they?
So as we mentioned, in May 2015 Lisa got elected to the Missoula County Public Schools School Board.
Her big problems came in June, however.
That’s when she got divorced and had to move into town because of it.
This cost her the School Board position she’d been elected to, as you have to live in the district you represent.
Now two years later she’s ready to get back into the thick of it.
To help kick that off she had her official campaign announcement and launch today at the Iron Horse in downtown Missoula.
After picking up my son from school I decided to stop by.
The event started at 3 but I didn’t get down there until 3:20 or so, and it was only set to go until 4.
Despite that, there were some people…I’d say 30 to 40.
Over 40 had said they’d be going, with another 90 or so interested…according to the Facebook event stats.
I suppose Lisa spoke first, but when I got there some guy was talking.
I couldn’t even get into the upstairs room, there were so many chairs with people in them.
So I hung around outside, had a couple cookies, and then sat around inside when people started to filter out.
I wanted to introduce myself to Lisa, so that way she’d know who’s writing about her.
Alas, the KECI TV guy corralled her and then Peter Christian from KGVO. Martin Kidston of the Missoula Current was also there.
After that other people got up and spoke with her, and by then my son was ready to go.
So we went down to Caras Park for a bit, then walked back up around 4.
I was hoping to get in then, but the $1 Jimmy John’s sandwich deal sidetracked us.
I did manage to get some of Lisa’s campaign info, however.
It took me a minute to figure out what it was trying to tell me, but then it came to me:
Missoula is getting screwed.
On the back of those campaign flyers is this:
So I haven’t heard Lisa Triepke speak yet, but I hope to soon.
That’s one of the most important things for political people – their ability to communicate their ideas and their vision.
Many love to talk, and rehearse while alone at home.
They love talking about issues and have stats memorized and are just ready to go.
Others are a bit shy, hesitant to ruffle feathers, and don’t really make a splash.
Which one is Lisa?
I don’t know yet. But judging from the video of her speaking that KGVO has, I'd say the latter.
Back in 2014 I wrote about 10 ways to run for Missoula mayor and win.
I hope Lisa considers some of the things in that post.
She has help. I saw Julie Armstrong of the City Council – the only Council supporter for Triepke that I know of – as well as former County Commissioner Stacey Rye.
I also know that Diane Beck of Windermere Real Estate is serving as Lisa’s campaign treasurer.
And that’s about it.
The Missoulian also has a story up now about Lisa and her event, as does the Missoula Current.
You can see Lisa's personal Facebook page here, and her Facebook campaign page here.
Her campaign website has nearly 500 likes so far. It also has lots of information.
On that campaign website you’ll find lots of information about her various community roles.
There’s the two lacrosse clubs, youth hockey, memorial foundations, and leadership organizations.
I like what she says about being part of the Missoula Area Youth Hockey Association board’s handling of the Glacier Ice Rink:
“We started out in the red and finished in the black after our first year and handed over the reins financially solvent after two years.”
Can you imagine if Missoula got back in the black?
When I looked last summer we had $88 million in long-term bonding debt, and that was before we bought the water company for $90 million.
So Missoula has problems.
Is Lisa Triepke the one to solve them?
I hope so.