Editors Note: Change is in the Air
by Angie Ripple
So much newness has hit our community, state, nation and world over the past few months my head is spinning. Bozeman is growing at record rates; MSU enrollment is at an all time high; travel to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport has increased 52% in seven years. Bozeman’s population is easily outpacing other cities in the state, and is among the fastest-growing counties in the nation. 4.2% growth is okay as long as we can sustain services, housing, jobs and infrastructure to keep up.
Things are changing at the state level as well, as Montana’s lone member of the House, Rep. Ryan Zinke, was nominated for Interior Secretary. His confirmation has been postponed for an undetermined reason and amount of time. Assuming he will be confirmed, Montana’s Democratic and Republican parties are preparing for a special election to replace him as congressman, with a vote likely to take place this May. If confirmed, Zinke makes the transition from making decisions for Montana and the nation into decisions that can affect the globe. His replacement in the House is an important piece to our state's puzzle.
Bozemanites aren’t going to reverse or affect what the 45th President of the United States says or does, but we can make change in our own ways. Maybe you like what’s happening in Washington, but still would like to be a part of something in your community. Here are a few ways to affect change as a Bozemanite:
1. Attend a City Commission Meeting. Every Monday at 6:00 PM the Bozeman City Commission meets at City Hall - Commission Room, 121 N. Rouse Ave. Resolutions and Ordinances are discussed, voted upon and Public Comments are heard pertaining to them. Commission Meeting agendas are available at http://www.bozeman.net
2. Join a citizen advisory board. You can help shape the future of Bozeman by joining a citizen advisory board, and voicing your opinions about a topic you care deeply about (there are many to choose from). Please note: Citizen advisory boards are generally only open to those residing within the Bozeman city limits. For more information contact the City Clerk’s office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 582-2320.
3. Join a County board. The Gallatin County Commissioners are currently seeking individuals to represent the County on a large number of boards including the Historic Preservation Board of Gallatin County, DUI Task Force, Board of Health, Belgrade City/County Planning Board and more. Visit http://gallatincomt.virtualtownhall.net/public_documents/gallatincomt_bboard/boardvacancies or call 406-582-3000 for more information.
4. Volunteer. This is the easiest and most effective way to affect change in our community! Choose a cause you feel strongly about and get involved in helping out. The Bozeman Area Community Foundation is a great place to start. The community foundation supports all areas of the community – arts and culture, education, health and human services, recreation and civic affairs and is a great resource to connect you to a nonprofit that fits your ideals. Volunteer Match is another great resource to help you find a volunteer opportunity;go to http://www.volunteermatch.org/ and see opportunities you can participate in person or remotely.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Angie is a third generation Montanan, who balances wrangling her three children and adventures with her husband while living the dream. Her volunteerism includes work with the National Down Syndrome Society, Bozeman Blitzz, Prospera Business Network, local Elementary schools, The Bozeman Area Community Foundation, FOE 326, Area IV Advisory Council on Aging, and the MSU/Community Relations Committee.