As a resident of Ward 2, I want to urge City Council to fill the vacant seat with Gabriel Furshong. Gabe is eloquent, hard working and, most importantly, he knows how to listen.
I have known Gabe for years as a friend and a colleague. We work together in the world of public lands advocacy and stewardship. For three years I’ve worked for the Montana Conservation Corps as a field coordinator and we’ve collaborated with Gabe’s employer, the Montana Wilderness Association, on a few occasions. On one of those occasions, Gabe delivered a presentation on the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act to a knowledgeable and experienced group of field workers who had spent most of the summer working in places impacted by the bill. We had an audience of more than 20 people and Gabe was hammered with questions from folks with many different opinions. I was struck by how intently Gabe listened and tried to understand their individual points of view, even though he had no doubt heard these questions and concerns before at similar events. He then answered each question honestly, validating the questioner’s point of view before offering his own opinion.
Ward 2 is an incredibly diverse ward encompassing Grant Creek, North Reserve and the Westside. What we need is someone who is energized to talk with people, listen, understand different points of view and bring groups together. Gabe is a social person who has a track record of working with people of diverse ideologies to get something done. In a time of partisan divides and gridlock in national and state politics, Gabe will bring Missoula real collaboration and community unification.