Missoula resident and community advocate Dori Gilels announced on Tuesday that she will be running for the Missoula City Council’s Ward 3 seat.

KGVO reached out to Gilels and asked about her background and why she has chosen to enter local politics.

“I've lived here in Missoula since 1993,” said Gilels. “I absolutely love Missoula. I met my husband here, got married and have raised two kids, and done a variety of things professionally during my time here. There were some things that created space for me personally and professionally to consider elected office and I thought specifically about the Missoula City Council for a couple of years, because this is where I live, and this is what I love, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to hopefully be of service to this community in that capacity.”

Gilels provided her professional experience.

“Over the years here, I have done a variety of things,” she said. “I have been an entrepreneur and owned my own business; I owned my own publishing company Mamalode magazine for just over 10 years. I was the executive director of Women's Voices for the Earth, which is a nonprofit environmental social justice group. Here in Missoula, I've served on countless boards and advisory committees at the university and with various nonprofits in town.”

Asked about the skyrocketing real estate prices in Missoula and western Montana, Gilels said there’s no clear solution.

“Affordable housing is a big one for Missoula,” she said. “And it's going to continue to be, and it's not a black and white issue. Unfortunately, there isn't a silver bullet, but I do believe that we have a community that is willing to come together and tackle issues like these. We've done it in the past. And I think that it really requires us to be innovative, to think outside the box. I think everybody needs to be willing to give a little in order for us to get the most for this community in the long term.”

Regarding property taxes, Gilels said there’s only so much the City Council can do on that issue, but she had real concerns about the direction of the state legislature.

“The state really limits us in our ability to do that,” she said. “As we're seeing right now, I think citizens here need to be increasingly concerned about, and pay attention to, what's going on in the state legislature, because a lot of things this session are really going to impact us the ability for us locally here in Missoula to take care of our own community.”

Her campaign statement referenced support from Mayor John Engen.

'I am so pleased that Dori is a candidate for the Council in Ward 3,’wrote Engen. ‘She’s an independent thinker and she’ll certainly disagree with me and her colleagues on occasion, and that tension is necessary in local government.’

Heather Harp and Gwen Jones are the two current council members representing Ward 3.


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