On Monday, Missoula City Council Ward 1 incumbent Heidi West and her opponent in November’s general election Amber Shaffer were in the KGVO studios to compare their stances on local issues.

Shaffer said she had wanted to get more involved in city government several years ago, but she had young children that demanded her full attention.

“Now that my kids are older and I can work from home I have the time that I can commit to it,” said Shaffer, whose family owned a popular grocery market on the North Side. “I definitely think property taxes are the things that most personally affect me and made me decide to run. Then, there was crime throughout our ward and supporting our first responders, like police and our schools, they’re all important to me.”

Heidi West City Council

West looked back at the reason she ran four years ago, and much of it had to do with the condition of the White Pine and Sash property after the business closed in the 1990’s.

“They had several tanks that held chemicals that they dipped the wood into that seeped into our aquifer,” said West. “There were also heavy metals and methane issues associated with how they managed the site. That has a real impact on neighbors, whether it’s like things being carried off on the wind, or kids playing in it. Or if your house happens to sit on top of the plume.”

Both Shaffer and West were in agreement about the recent attempt by the city to force gun sales between individuals within the city limits to be subject to a universal background check.

“I think it’s the responsible thing to do,” said West. “I don’t think I could live with the personal guilt that if I were to sell a firearm to someone who did something horrible with it. If I could had prevented that by doing my due diligence, I think it’s mainly a way to protecting your own interests.”

Shaffer put her support for the proposed ordinance in these words.

“I actually thought it was a great ordinance,” she said. “I think there were things that people thought it covered but that won’t pull up things that pop up on a background check to due to things like patient confidentiality. Those are some of the misconceptions that I saw at the time it first came out that it would cover a lot more.”

The general election to decide the six city council members on the ballot is on Tuesday, November 5.


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