Rod Kuntz, candidate for Kalispell city council

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Name: Rod Kuntz, Ward 3

Age: N / A

Occupation: Affiliate Marketer, Author

Family: Married, four children, nine grandchildren, all living in Flathead

Background: BA English, University of Montana; Montana Army National Guard six years; One year Hawaii Army National Guard.

Blue Collar: I have worked in agriculture, animal husbandry, landscaping, construction and the lumber industry.

White Collar: I have experience as a retail sales manager, supervisor, long term substitute high school teacher, professional sales, marketing, and wholesale business owner.

What plans do you have to balance the impact of growth on the existing Kalispell community?

One of the biggest and often the most frustrating effects of growth for residents of Kalispell is traffic congestion. The city is well positioned with its growth policy, downtown plan and transportation plan – we didn’t get here overnight and the issues won’t be resolved overnight. Encouraging and expanding public transportation and other alternatives is critical, as is continued work with Flathead County and the Montana Department of Transportation. Kalispell’s infrastructure is paid for with Kalispell property taxes and this infrastructure serves the needs of the more than 100,000 people who come here every day for work, business, banking, education, shopping and medical needs. . It is a heavy burden for a city of our size. Taking a long-term view without being distracted by topical concerns is critical to our community’s success in managing the growth that will continue to come.

What are your specific solutions for solving the affordable housing crisis in Kalispell?

First, we need to agree on the definition of “crisis” and “affordable housing”, and second, decide who is responsible for implementation. Affordability is directly related to income, so I believe the city’s obligation is to attract good paying jobs to our community and encourage affordable child care for dual income parents. The responsibility of the city with regard to the housing component is to remove as many barriers as possible in order to encourage the development of a wide range of housing. Before the Covid crisis, Kalispell was in a good position to be ahead of the housing shortages we are seeing now. It’s also important to understand that Kalispell does not have a housing program – this effort was handed over to the Community Action Partnership of Northwest Montana decades ago. I am not in favor of expanding local government to do what private enterprise is already doing while competing for the same sources of funding.

What combination of development projects do you envision along the Kalispell Parkline Trail?

The B3 zoning along the Parkline Trail should inspire developers and business owners of all kinds to bring new vitality to our downtown area. This trail will connect residential communities in the east and west with a refreshed and revitalized downtown Kalispell to connect our historic past with our forward-thinking future while addressing housing options and new sales opportunities in the region. detail. Kalispell has done its part and now the opportunities belong to the community.

What do you think are the biggest challenges the city is currently facing?

I believe the most pressing economic challenge is the labor shortage. There has been a lot of clamor about a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour, but even with starting wages exceeding that amount, along with incentives to enroll, there are few takers. As a result, we have already lost several companies and if the trend continues we will likely lose more. The most pressing social challenge is the division that erodes our community and our national culture. Our neighbors are not involved in racism; they are not concerned about the identity or sexual preferences of others; and they don’t care how much more or less money other people make. They are just good, hard working people who try to do their best. Emotionally charged rhetoric is a distraction and a fabrication. It’s time to move beyond virtue flagging and topical talking points.

Why are you the right person to represent your ward?

I have lived on the east side of Ward 3 for 14 years and on the west side of Ward 3 for over 16 years. My children and grandchildren attended Hedges, Elrod, Peterson and Flathead High. Additionally, I have run a Main Street business for 10 years and understand the many dynamics involved in this struggle. My extensive professional experience, combined with over five years of service on Kalispell City Council, allows me to understand the demographic culture of Kalispell as well as the responsibilities and limitations of the city. I’m ready to go to work from day one, and traveling a post-Covid path is not the time for on-the-job training!


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