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Missoula's Future is now


Jacob Elder

For Missoula Mayor

As a child, I fled a civil war in my native country, Liberia, and settled in Montana. In Montana, life was slower, more prosperous, and a bit colder, but filled with good people, hope, and opportunity. In the wake of graduating high school, I began my freshman year at the University of Montana as a football student-athlete. After two years in college, I knew I wanted to serve the country that has given me so much.

I spent the accompanying four years in the United States Marine Corps. I traveled the world and excelled to the rank of Sergeant of Marines. My time in the Marines brought duty and discipline into my life, and by the time my contract was fulfilled, it left me feeling a call to another kind of service – service to my community. I missed my home – Montana – so I moved back to complete my undergraduate degree and attend Alexander Blewett lll School of Law at the University of Montana. 

I’m running to ensure that all Missoulians are given an equal opportunity to succeed in life. This means, as your mayor, fighting for policies that expand the quality of life for all Missoulians.


Housing Affordability

Missoula’s housing affordability results in part from regulatory policies that inhibit growth and restricts housing supply. Across the country, we know that areas with the highest homelessness rates are the places where it is most challenging to build, rents are high, and vacancy rates are low. To change this, we will minimize building restrictions such as minimum lot size, parking requirements, accessory dwelling units (ADU), and low-cost housing options.

Fiscal Responsibility

As taxpayers (owners and renters), we have consented to turn over to our government a portion of our hard-earned paycheck. In exchange, our local government owes us a limited range of services, primarily relating to public infrastructure, safety, and freedom to pursue our economic endeavors. However, single parents, students, and families on a fixed income are scarcely getting by with high rent costs in Missoula. Senior homeowners and business owners in Missoula struggle to afford the rising cost of property and business taxes.

Missoula’s high burden of taxation is a direct result of its rapid government growth. As a rule, a fiscally responsible budget means spending grows at the rate of economic growth. Missoula has far outpaced this measure over the last decade, necessitating the imposition of higher taxes, special assessments, and many fees. To change this, we will focus on keeping spending growth consistent with economic growth. Lower tax burdens and the right kind of government will best promote growth in Missoula.

Affordable Childcare

In today’s Missoula, parents face significant challenges finding quality, affordable childcare for their families. These families’ work and life choices are influenced by the need to compensate for complicated or costly childcare arrangements. To change this, we will develop trustworthy community and state partnerships to develop an asset map to identify resources to support childcare initiatives. We have an inter-generational responsibility to these young Missoulians of the future.


We know that people experiencing homelessness live in perilous conditions across our city, including under roadways, in residential areas, near our City Hall, and other places. Community members have voiced their concerns about their health and safety due to homeless encampments. As you might expect, homeless reduction is a complex, human issue. I believe in all human’s fundamental dignity and trust in their ability to take care of themselves and their innate desire to do so when given a hand-up. To impact homelessness in our community, we will encourage community partners and non-profit service providers to collaborate to maximize partnerships that will result in a strategic data-driven response, both fiscally and socially.

Behavioral Health

As a United States Marine veteran, I have witnessed the consequences of untreated behavioral health disorders. About 90 percent of suicides are thought to be caused by untreated behavioral health issues. Most researchers agree that there is a two-way relationship between homelessness and behavioral health disorders. Family conflicts, social isolation, struggles with alcohol or addictive substances, missed work or school, or other school-related problems are some of the effects of unresolved behavioral health disorders. 

To affect the behavioral health crisis and aid our quest to end homelessness, we will work closely with community health partners such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to provide diverse and affordable care for children and adults. In addition, we will establish new behavioral health services outreach teams in partnership with local non-profits committed to assisting the street homeless. We benefit as a community when our friends and neighbors suffering from behavioral health disorders receive treatment and help.

Events & News

Article by Connor McCauley

Veteran, Refugee, Law School Student Jacob Elder announces campaign for Missoula Mayor

A new Missoula Mayoral candidate has tossed his hat into the ring.

"This country has given me so much, so the little that I can do was going into the Military serving my country giving back to my country but also serving my community and being a voice for my fellow citizens in this town," Elder said.

Read on KPAX News

Op-Ed by Jacob Elder

Smear Campaign

Part of what an upstart candidate must always overcome when challenging a career politician like John Engen is the inevitability of the ‘smear campaign.’ This race is no different.  Engen surrogates and other trolls are making the kinds of wild claims we might have expected: I have abused my spouse (never been married), sexually assaulted women, pulled knives on people and been involved in all kinds of criminal and hateful activities.

     These are all false smears and I categorically deny them.  As a Marine, I achieved the rank of sergeant in only four years and was given a ‘secret’ clearance--which was renewed by the US government only last summer.  I have spent my time since the Marines completing  law school and graduate school as a double major.  I have worked hard to earn friends and supporters from every walk of life and from across the breadth of the political spectrum. None of this would have been possible if the current smear campaign held even a kernel of truth. 

      I am an agent of change.  My mission is to demolish established walls of partisan impasse and machine politics.  The current administration has lost sight of the best interest of our community, blinded by a fog of 20th century ideology and 21st century newspeak.  Smear campaigns are part of their DNA. But thankfully those dark days are almost over.   It’s time for a new paradigm in our great city.  It's time for the politics of unity.  With your help, together, we will soon walk in the brilliant light of a brand-new day.

~ Jacob Elder