Candidates vie for Ronan council seat
RONAN — The city of Ronan has two candidates vying for the Ward I council seat: Incumbent Roger Romero, 48, and Tracy Morigeau Frank, 41.
Romero is the chief information officer for Access Montana and network manager for Montana West.
He has lived in the area for 23 years. Romero and his wife Connie, have four sons and two daughters.
Romero is a graduate of Rick’s College, which is now Brigham Young University — Idaho.
Romero has worked at Access Montana for 17 years and served on the city council for the past year. He previously served eight years as a trustee of the Ronan School Board. Romero also served on various other committees over the years.
Romero said the most important issue facing Ronan is the protection of its citizens.
“We have started the rebuild of our police department, but there is still a lot left to do,” Romero said. “Other issues facing the city are the Highway 93 project and improvements to the roads and parks.”
During the next 10 years, Romero would like to see improvement in Ronan’s roads and parks.
“As the highway project prepares to go through Ronan, there is much to be gained or lost,” Romero said. “As a city council member, I would work towards getting as much as we can from the new highway.”
Romero would also like to see improvements in technology infrastructure.
“I am also working on a plan with Access Montana to develop Ronan into a Giga-pop city,” Romero said. “With this being offered in Ronan, I would hope to attract new business to Main Street.” Giga-pop stands for gigabit point of presence for Internet access that operates at speeds of at least one gigabit per second.
Romero said, if elected he will need to hear from the people to know how best to serve the city.
“In order to be a good city council, we need to know what people think,” Romero said. “It’s great to hear how good a job you are doing, but unless we hear the bad also, we don’t know there is a problem.”
Tracy Frank is a fourth generation Ronan resident who works as a pharmacy tech instructor at Kicking Horse Job Corps and part time emergency medical technician for Ronan/Polson ambulance service. She has three children: Brianna, Claire and Alex. Frank received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Montana - Western.
She has previously worked as a school administrative assistant and dental assistant.
“This will be my first time being involved in local government,” Frank said. “I have been involved with many community service activities and boards, as well as fundraising projects. I have served in various capacities and know that a committed, cohesive group with a common vision, regardless of personal interests, will produce the best results for the benefit of all.”
Frank believes safety is the most important issue facing Ronan.
“Locally, we are dealing with a remodeled highway that will be going through our community,” Frank said. “Working together with the state, I feel we could make this an asset to our town that will provide for the safety of everyone using the roadway. Also, with a carefully thought-out plan, we could bring more revenue to our community by making it an inviting area for tourists to stop and enjoy our local culture while adding money to the economy before continuing on to their destination. It will require a lot of work and communication between business owners, city officials, and the residents to work out a plan that can be beneficial to all.”
Her safety concerns also pertain to the police department.
“I know everyone is very concerned with the recent increase in crime,” Frank said. “Our little community is definitely starting to feel the problems faced by more urban areas. Once the police force situation is resolved and we have a healthy law enforcement presence, I would like to see locals take a more active role in policing their own areas. A lot of people haven’t reported crimes because of the fear of retaliation. If neighbors were to band together and let others know that they are watching out for each other, criminals will no longer target our town as easily. I would like to see more communication between everyone - from private citizens to all of our local police forces to our governments - so we can all develop a plan to keep everyone safe.”
In the next 10 years Frank would like to see Ronan have “small-town values while being able to advance in a way that provides a healthy economy for its residents.”
“Most people would like to see things go back to ‘the way they were’ when they were younger,” Frank said. “Physically, we can’t change the progress that has occurred. However, I feel we could go back to the way things were as far as the small-town community spirit is concerned. I would like to see a community that comes together to celebrate each other. Ronan has proven over and over again that we are capable of so much - we always come out in each other’s time of need at fundraisers.”
Frank said she wants city government to be more open for involvement with the people.
“Our community is full of people that have many talents that could be tapped to enhance what we already have,” Frank said. “A lot of people want to be involved but don’t know how. In that regard, the city government needs to be more transparent in what they’re doing and hoping to accomplish. People can’t get involved unless they’re aware of what’s going on. Improved communication would help to bring everyone together. I would like to see a city website where council meeting agendas and minutes were posted in a timely manner and people could more easily become involved. “