West Valley businessman Tom Clark has filed for the Flathead County District 3 commissioner seat as a Democrat.
Clark is so far the only Democrat to seek the seat held by Commissioner Gary Krueger, who is running for re-election on the Republican ticket. Krueger faces Republican challengers Randy Brodehl, Gerald “Jay” Scott and Ronalee Skees.
The filing deadline for county offices is March 12.
A fourth-generation Flathead Valley native, Clark has owned and operated Kalispell Plumbing and Heating since 1996. He has served on several local boards, including the Kalispell High School Board of Trustees from 2008 to 2016; West Valley School Board from 2002 to 2008; West Valley Neighborhood Advisory Board for two terms, and was co-chairman of the West Valley Community Bike Path Committee.
Clark said he is well-equipped to deal with the difficult challenges the county will face in the coming years, such as the need for infrastructure improvements, a new detention center, budget shortfalls, land-use conflicts and expansion of emergency services.
He believes poor decisions being made by Flathead County officials have put at risk the Flathead’s strong community, natural beauty and freedom to enjoy the outdoors, Clark said in a press release.
“These decisions harm not only our economy, but our Montana way of life. Those of us who live in Flathead County know we have been blessed with a very special place to call home. We need to work together to maintain that and pass it on. We must look beyond the false choice of ‘jobs versus the environment.’”
Clark believes the Flathead Valley will grow and develop because “we maintain our environment, wisely using and conserving our natural resources, clean water and natural beauty.
“Too often, though, the county has automatically taken the side of developers, businesses and large property owners without allowing for proper input from anyone else who will be affected,” Clark said. “I will listen and respect everyone at the table.”
Clark further said county government must have a good working relationship with the cities, “which has not been the case for many years.
“I will save time and tax dollars by cooperating with cities instead of clashing with them,” he added.
Clark and his wife Angie have two college-aged children.