(photo by Nick Chrestenson)

Just as the incumbent Mayor John Engen visited this week on Talk Back, his challenger, political newcomer Jacob Elder made his appearance on Friday’s show.

Elder opened by responding to charges from an individual from the law school who alleged that Elder sexually assaulted or harassed her.

“After I announced my campaign for Mayor, a law student at the law school leveled an investigation against me on false pretenses, and so I welcomed the investigation and I believed in the process,” said Elder. “So, after being investigated for some time, turning over my phone records and what have you, I was exonerated, and that was over with.”

One listener asked Elder what he believed the biggest problem with Missoula’s current government that he has uncovered. To Elder, it’s rampant spending.

“Our city has a terrible spending problem,” he said. “We're spending money like its just coming from a tree. I knew we had a spending problem, but to what extent that wasn't apparent to me until I got into it and started doing the work. I think any Missoulian, any taxpayer in this community, should care about how their money is being spent, because I could tell you, it's scarier than what I anticipated, and that's why I'm running in this election to put a stop to that and save our taxpayers pocketbooks.”

Elder said he listened to Mayor Engen’s appearance on Talk Back and noted his answer to a question about which organizations and PAC’s are supporting him.

“The mayor has had a U.S. Senator endorsed him, (Jon Tester). He's had a governor endorsed him, (Steve Bullock). He went to Helena and he got his best buddy who's a mayor in Helena to endorse him, Wilmot Collins. He's got all these people to endorse him and give him money. He's been endorsed by the Democratic Party here. Look, I'm the true, independent candidate in this race. I've not received endorsements from anyone. And most of our funding is grassroots funding from Missoulians that are sick and tired of the issues in our community.”

Wrapping up his time with Talk Back’s listeners, Elder gave his ‘stump speech’.

“It's time to bring our community together,” he said. “It's time to rein in spending. It's time to think about our city's future, and this election is extremely crucial. It's important that you make the right decision; not based on rumors, not based on a whim or emotions. But based what we bring to the table and I can tell you that I'm fired up, I'm energetic, I'm ready to serve you, and it will be the greatest honor of my life to serve you.”

Click here to listen to the entire conversation with Jacob Elder.

The ballots have been mailed, and most Missoula residents have received them.

KGVO urges all registered voters to exercise their constitutional privilege, fill out their ballot and vote.

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