Hamilton mayor candidates speak at forum


HAMILTON, Mont. - Voters in Hamilton got a general snapshot of the two men running for mayor at a city candidates forum Wednesday evening.

Travis Martinez and Dominic Farrenkopf are vying for the seat being vacated by retiring Mayor Jerry Steele.

Martinez is a real estate broker and licensed property manager. He said the city needs to promote job growth so Hamilton residents don't have to commute to Missoula to make a living.

Farrenkopf is a writer and community life director at a Hamilton retirement home. He said he would like to see Hamilton be a destination spot for tourists and locals.

"One of the ways I feel that we can do that," he said, "is by investing in some of the things that we do have here in Hamilton. I do feel that the Bitterroot College and our school systems are working very well. But I think we can enhance some of those programs. I'd like to see some trade schools emerge."

Martinez said he has ideas on how to make the valley more economically productive.

"There are tax incentive programs that we can give to businesses that bring in good paying jobs," he said. "We can also make sure that our infrastructure is updated and ready to meet the needs of businesses currently looking for the workforce that we have."

The public also heard from city council candidates who are running.

The forum was sponsored by the Bitterroot Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The Hamilton city election will be by mail. Those ballots go out Oct. 18 and are due back by Election Day Nov. 7.