MISSOULA,Mont. - Dr. Ernest Szechenyi is challenging incumbent Marilyn Marler in the race for a Ward 6 City Council seat in the Missoula Municipal Election. NBC Montana broke down both candidates' history and goals.
Szechenyi has a degree in medicine from the University of Maryland in Baltimore. He has worked as a radiologist and rehab aide in the past, and also works part-time at Opportunity Resources in Missoula making survival kits for the Air Force.
He wants to support people with disabilities, make Missoula wheelchair friendly, make sign language a required class in high schools and explore building a train route between Darby and Missoula.
"I support people with disabilities," said Szechenyi. "I volunteer with Meals on Wheels and radio reading for the blind and I would like sign language to be in the city council meetings."
Marilyn Marler has been on City Council for 8 years and is running for a third term. She works as a botanist for the University of Montana and currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors at the Montana Natural History Center. She and her husband are also both heavily involved with Home Resource, a nonprofit that reuses building materials.
Marler wants to make Missoula more pedestrian-friendly in general, as well as oversee construction at Third and Russell to create safer roads, and put in sidewalks and bike lines on the renovated part of Russell Street. She also wants to work to protect open spaces in Missoula through funds allocated in the Open Space Bond.
"We still have a lot of money in our recently-passed open space bond from a few years ago," said Marler. "I want to be on Council to be involved in the decisions of how that is spent and I also want to continue with making all of Missoula more pedestrian friendly with more sidewalks."
Ballots for the election were mailed out Monday, and the ballots must be returned by or on November 5.