Even though the filing season is still a year off, political newcomer Jacob Elder has already made it very plain that he is taking aim on the position that has been held by John Engen for the last 16 years, Mayor of Missoula.

I chose to run for mayor because I deeply care about every one of our citizens here in Missoula and about our city's future,” he said. “You know, you look around you see the homeless population ever increasing. The average home sales price is ever increasing. Actually, the average home sales price has increased by 57 percent since 2010, and that's concerning.

Elder was a guest on KGVO’s Talk Back program on Friday, and began by sharing his remarkable story of living with his mother and brother in a refugee camp in Liberia, Africa before being adopted by a family in, of all places, Montana. He met a volunteer from America, grabbed her hand and wouldn’t let go.

“The second she got there, my mother told her to take my twin brother and I, just take us,” said Elder. “So then the interpreter told Patty and she said, ‘Well, I'm not here to adopt kids. Matter of fact, I'm just here to help out in any way possible’. Well, Patti went back to America, and within six months, that interpreter ran back to my mother and he told her that Patti found a family in Helena, Montana, to adopt us. So that's how I ended up in Helena, Montana with my family.”

After playing football for the Montana Grizzlies for two years, and serving in the U.S Marines for four years, Elder is now in the UM Law School and is also pursuing a Masters Degree in Public Administration. He explained his passion to run for mayor of Missoula.

“I chose to run for mayor because I deeply care about every one of our citizens here in Missoula and about our city's future,” he said. “You know, you look around you see the homeless population ever increasing. The average home sales price is ever increasing. Actually, the average home sales price has increased by 57 percent since 2010, and that's concerning.”

Elder was asked about the problem of rapidly increasing property taxes and how they could drive lower-income families out of Missoula. He provided this real-life scenario.

“You live in a duplex with your young family trying to make ends meet and work your way toward your dreams,” he said. “Then out of the blue, the landlord tells you he had an increase of $8,000 in his property taxes, so you and other tenant in a duplex each have to pay another $4000 a year in rent. That is not hypothetical, that happens here in Missoula and this continues to happen. The increase of property taxes each year is concerning for a lot of people, especially families that are on a fixed income.”

Elder said Mayor Engen has been in office long enough and when the city election rolls around, he’ll be ready to challenge the popular incumbent.

“Mayor Engen has been around for far too long, for many, many years,” he said. “These are unprecedented times, and there are real issues threatening the future of all Missoulians. We ought to really vet who the candidate is and what he has to give to the city and how he going to lead the city and where his vision and where he see the city.”

Elder is in his second year at the UM Law School.