My name is Lisa Triepke. I’m proud to have called Missoula home since 1991 and appreciate all the qualities that make this such a great place to live. Like many of you, I too, engage with the people, activities and opportunities that Missoula offers. I was raised with a strong work ethic and my personal core values revolve around that work ethic, fiscal responsibility, integrity and transparency.
As Missoula continues to grow and evolve, transparency, tolerance and respect will be paramount in keeping our community special. I am heavily invested in keeping Missoula an affordable and special place to live and raise our families, and am concerned about the continual increase in our property taxes with no end in sight. Like many of you, I own a home in Missoula, pay property taxes and am significantly affected by this dilemma. Missoula is unique in its ability to be generous in spirit and I believe we can continue all of this without continuing to raise taxes.
I served on the Target Range School Board for seven years and was elected to a three-year term on Missoula County Public Schools School Board, but was required to resign when I had to move out of the district I was elected for, due to a pending divorce. Both roles were tasked with oversight of the district’s budget, mission and vision.
I served as President of Missoula Lacrosse Club for two years and am currently active in my third year on the Hellgate Lacrosse Board and second year on the Missoula Area Youth Hockey Association board, the entity that oversees Glacier Ice Rink. During my tenure with MLC, our team faced rebranding and rebuilding a club that was left in financial straits. We started out in the red and finished in the black after our first year and handed over the reins financially solvent after two years.
I have served on the Tanner Olson Memorial Foundation (Ride for Tanner) helping to memorialize a teen friend taken far too soon in an auto accident. These activities and more, led me run for the County Commissioner seat in 2013. I believe in service back to the community and try to instill that in my children as well.
I’m a current participant in Leadership Missoula 34 with a phenomenal group of leaders dedicated to creating healthier, more effective outcomes for Missoula.
At the end of the day, my core values define me and the way I live my life. I pay my taxes, help my neighbors, raise my children, and stay actively involved in the community. Just like you, I work very hard, sometimes two jobs, pay my bills on time, and strive to be an example to others. I was raised to understand that no one is a stranger, you choose quality over quantity every time, and you treat the janitor the same as you treat the CEO.
While I was raised in Maryland, I’ve lived in Missoula since 1991 and have four pretty amazing children, all academically successful in their own rights and engaged in the hockey, lacrosse and cross country communities. Despite some expected struggles after going through a divorce two years ago, they remain kind, funny and active in Missoula – through volunteer efforts, academics and athletics. Knock on wood – they’ve all stayed out of trouble to this point and have an extremely close bond with one another.
My father is absolutely the best person I know and the key values he taught me were to be on time (on time is late – five minutes early is on time), pay your bills in full every month, and don’t hold a grudge.
My mom’s sticking advice – look people in the eye and have nice penmanship – I’m thinking my penmanship is the one that escaped me. The lessons they taught me at an early age have afforded me with high quality people in my life whether friends, coworkers, neighbors or relatives. I’m loyal to a fault but if I detect ethical issues, I tend to walk away after multiple occurrences.
I’m fortunate to have two jobs that I love – the Director of Marketing and Community Outreach at CostCare and a part-time server at Desparados. I'm not too proud to admit that I recently picked up my second job because as a single mom of four, I needed extra income to ease the pain of the never ending rising cost of living. In this role, I’m happy to serve people I’ve known for years and to make new friendships. Teamwork, quality customer service and the bottom line are key to every role I’ve ever had – and can’t be understated.
My seven years at CostCare has been spent working with two of the most amazing women I’ve ever worked for – Dr. Carol Bridges and Lesley Von Eschen, who have set the bar high for quality, integrity and transparency. As part of this incredible team we have been able to transform people’s health in an affordable way amid this healthcare firestorm. We constantly think outside the box and are faithful in our efforts to maximize our services while cognizant of every penny our patients are spending. We have recently kicked off a new program that is focused on getting patients off high dollar medications simply by teaching them the negative impacts of their own habits. A novel idea – quit spending so much money on medications when you can control your own destiny.
I believe in the Pay It Forward notion – thinking good deeds aren’t there to be recognized but rather to make someone’s day better. Kindness and gratitude go a long way. Part of my journey included accepting help from social services like SNAP and Energy assistance. As noted in my applications, these were requested on a short-term basis to ensure a smooth transition with my children and I received these services for no longer than one year. I believe the system is meant to work that way – for short-term assistance – not dependency.
More traditional information, I have a degree in communications and in languages from the University of Dayton. I’ve been fortunate to serve in Missoula’s non-profit sector - Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Missoula Chamber of Commerce, Five Valleys Land Trust and the UM Foundation.
Each of these positions required high morals, an unyielding ability to follow through, being fiscally responsible for someone else's money, and always meeting the bottom line.
I’ve followed the current administration for the past 12 years. Property taxes continue to rise with no end in sight – in fact it was recently announced that we should expect a significant increase every year the current administration is in place. This is unacceptable and doesn’t just place an undue burden on middle class citizens, but effectively prices our senior citizens and our children out of the Missoula market. Our seniors are for the most part living on fixed incomes and our younger population is trying to make enough to get ahead. Increasing property taxes will eventually eliminate the ability for both groups to continue living a decent life in Missoula. Rising property taxes are forcing more people into rentals and rental prices are at an all-time high, again taking away the ability for many to remain in Missoula.
Next – transparency and fiscal responsibility…so many of the decisions seemingly made for the benefit of Missoulian’s appear to be done without real exploration of what our citizens want. All bonds or expenditures over a certain amount should be brought to the voters and if the issue is voted down than there may be a strong reason for that. We shouldn’t be afraid to really hear what the voters voice…. after all this is a democracy. We should be able to be fiscally responsible and transparent at the same time. I find myself asking why not actually look at trimming the budget and finding alternate sources of income instead of only relying on constantly raising taxes? Has that even been an option?
Municipal Services should be a priority. It’s no surprise that Missoula can get a lot of snow in any year – we should be prepared to provide the services that we’ve been promised – something as simple as potholes and snowplowing. We saw too many hit and runs this winter, possibly due to slow or no plowing. I believe that the workers we have were tireless in their efforts but it seemed that maybe a lack of planning put many residents at a disadvantage. How can you expect or enforce sidewalks to be plowed by 9 am when some roads just one block off main arteries went an entire week before a snowplow arrived?
The fiscal health and growth of small local businesses is paramount, ensuring that access and city services are affordable, and we need to continue to focus on local jobs and opportunities. The business climate needs to be accessible and friendly rather than projecting obstacles at every juncture.
In short, I’m reminded after every meeting I attend, there is a multitude of issues with which I’m unfamiliar. This does not scare me as it’s not about me. This election and the term as mayor will only succeed with a team of people that are working together to get Missoula back on track. Ultimately, I am only as smart as the people I surround myself with. I can promise to listen to your concerns and be mindful of them in every decision we make. Our goal is to create an environment of collaboration, trust, transparency and fiscal responsibility.