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Candidates Talk Shop Before Forum

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KALISPELL -

City council candidates in Kalispell are squaring off October 14 at city hall.

In Kalispell's upcoming city council elections in November, only ward three is a contested seat with three people running for the same position. At 7:00 p.m. on October 14 in city hall, those three will be talking about their opinions on multiple issues, including the expansion of the Kalispell Municipal Airport.

"My objective is to develop city government so that it is helpful to businesses," said Jim Atkinson.

Atkinson, the incumbent in office for twenty-five years, is the only candidate who wants to use federal dollars to expand the Kalispell airport. He is also the only candidate with any political experience.

"Quite frankly, I don't like taking any money from the government. Usually there's strings attached and seeing the fiascos going on up there right now, do I want that in my backyard? No," said Jason Mueller.

Karlene Ssorio-Khor echoes Mueller's thoughts, but unlike Mueller, she has a set political agenda that includes revisiting impact fees and parking downtown.

"Often people say to me, they think I speak well," said Osorio-Khor, "but they have no idea how much I practice. That's the kind of work ethic I want to bring to city council."

As for term goals, Osorio-Khor and Atkinson both have their eyes set on downtown.

"I think the thing that's going to be most exciting about our near future is the downtown core redevelopment," said Atkinson.

One thing all three share is nerves before the forum, moderated by the outgoing mayor, Tammi Fisher, posing questions vetted by current council members not seeking re-election. Public safety and capital reserve funding are issues included in the five areas designated for discussion, alongside impact fees and the city airport. Election day is November 5.

Outgoing councilman, Jeff Zauner, will keep time.

Government access channel nine will broadcast the forum live.

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