Letter to the editor: Why race for Yellowstone County Commissioner matters


Will this election serve the good of the people or special interests and personalities? Many are asking, why is Denis Pitman running a write-in campaign – his name will not be on the ballot, you will have to write him in?

In spite of four-term Commissioner John Ostlund’s introductions of Mark as “Commissioner-elect,” it’s still in the hands of you the voters.

Now, even some in the media are starting to ask who is Mark Morse? The vast majority of Yellowstone County voters couldn’t pick him out of a lineup – have no idea who he is. Unfortunately, the future of county governance is at stake for the next decade.

The “why question” is bottom line! There are huge issues at stake including candidate qualifications and personalities. These questions never got touched before the Primaries.

John Ostlund was successful in keeping the focus on the emotional aspect of the MetraPark issue, suggesting that a California company was going to hijack MetraPark – local organizations would be marginalized. You’ve probably also heard – “this primary election was a referendum on Pitman’s pushing for private management.”

People are also reading…

The truth is that Commissioners Pitman and Jones proposed consideration of private management by a company that deals specifically with such venues. Better use of your tax dollars and expanding the use of Metra – the Metra is subsidized $2M a year? Private enterprise vs. government management? No, Ostlund and Morse would only really consider status quo.

Billings Chamber brought in Mayors from Nampa and Sioux Falls to discuss their experiences with privatization. The supposedly open minded Ostlund and Mark Morse were no-shows at this first-rate event.

It is no secret that Ostlund recruited Mark to run against Denis and instigated a failed re-call petition of Commissioner Jones. The plan was to get rid of two commissioners.

In a defining moment at the end of the June 14th Commission meeting, Mark gave away the plan as he yelled “You’re next Don.” With the toxic atmosphere in the Commission, will Don Jones run again?

Elections should be about the candidate’s integrity, experience, reputation, and qualifications for the position.

Why Pitman? Experience! He has over 14 years of public service on City Council and the Commission. He has demonstrated leadership including past-presidencies of Heights Kiwanis, Heights Business Optimist club, and Heights Community Development Task Force. You don’t get elected president of service organizations if you’re difficult to work with.

Mark’s public service record consists of twelve years in the Yellowstone County Sheriffs Reserve. He has been categorized by several different officials as being very problematic to work wit..

At a debate sponsored by the Farm Bureau, Mark’s inability to communicate effectively was indisputably on full display. His knowledge of issues was weak.

Do we “seed” the future of County governance to the wishes of personalities? Or, do we take up the challenge of making the first ever write-in election in Montana a success for the people?


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