Ready to serve Madison County

Ennis-area commission applicants vie for Region 3 commission seat

The early retirement of Madison County’s Region 3 commissioner has opened a rare job opportunity, prompting five Ennis-area residents to apply. Remaining commissioners Dan Allhands and Ron Nye formed a candidate review panel at their Nov. 2 meeting, looking for input from county residents more familiar with Region 3 which includes McAllister, Ennis, Cameron and Big Sky. After brief discussion the panel was formed; comprised of Bob Briggs, Kevin Boltz, Rob Gallentine and Kristy Ranson. Ranson volunteered to join the panel while the others were contacted following the decision. Another chosen panel member declined the offer, a replacement had not been confirmed as of the morning of Nov. 9. The review panel’s first gathering was not scheduled as of press time. Former commissioner Jim Hart’s elected position ran until the end of 2022. The applicant selected by the review panel and ultimately commissioners Allhands and Nye will be hired until that time and can run in the primary election if they’d like to retain their position. Ready to serve Madison County Ennis-area commission applicants vie for Region 3 commission seat It’s no secret a county commissioner holds a challenging and dynamic position. We at The Madisonian wanted to know, just what inspired the applicants to throw their hat into the ring? We asked each applicant to provide a short bio along with info on their commission motivations. Here’s what we received. 

Brian Conklin   My wife Dawn and I have lived in Ennis (District 3) for more than five years. Our daughters graduated from Ennis High School and attend college in Montana, and our son is a cowboy in the Ruby Valley. I recently retired as a United States Foreign Service Officer where I served as a US Diplomat abroad for more than 20 years. I’ve spent my career working in developing countries to increase economic opportunities, strengthen education and healthcare institutions, and partner with communities to increase sustainable access to natural resources. I have an MBA in Economic Development, strong leadership and teambuilding skills, and experience in building public-private partnerships. I have spent my life dedicated to serving my country and my community. After working to safe-guard American interests abroad, I am bringing the same skills and impactful programs back home to Montana. It would be a privilege to serve you as county commissioner.

Mark Glines   My wife and I moved to Ennis in 1989, bought a house in 1990 and raised two children here. My wife, Brenda has been a schoolteacher in Ennis for 30 years. I have been actively involved in the community by serving on a variety of Boards. I gained invaluable experience in budgeting, planning and allocation of limited resources and hope to use my knowledge and experience to the benefit of Madison County residents now and into the future. I will try to keep Madison County a great place to live, work and raise a family. Education: B.S. Michigan State University Wildlife Management M.S. Michigan State University Parks and Recreation, Business Management Employment: National Park Ranger, Glacier N.P., Mt. Rainier N.P., Everglades N.P. Yellowstone N.P. 1986-2006 Mt State Game Warden 2006-2010 Director of Security, Moonlight Basin 2012-Current Ennis True Value Community Service: Lion’s Club, Homeowner’s Association, School Board, Library Board, Jack Creek Preserve Board.

John S. Heckler  I was born and raised by my parents on a farm just outside of Napoleon, Ohio. I graduated from Napoleon High School and went to Purdue University where I earned a Bachelor and Master in Science, in Civil Engineering. I discovered Ennis and the surrounding Madison County in 1990 while visiting friends. I decided then that I belonged here. Visiting the area every year since and buying land and building a home in 1999 got me “here.” My wife Shannon and I have made our home in Madison County. I have strived to make this area a better place by improving employment with the creation of Sugar High, bringing back the Ennis Fish Bowl and the Madison Theatre, as well as creating the Alley Bistro restaurant. I am very proud of the Ennis Senior Center I helped bring to reality. Why I am running for the position of Madison County Commissioner can be summed up in one word……. CARE. I care about its people, I care about impacts of growth, and most of all, I care about its quality of life

Sabrina Sigourney   I have been a full-time resident of Madison County for over 15 years, residing in Big Sky with my family and dogs. I have over 30 years of business experience, collaboration, and excellence in delivery from over 100 customers including state and local governments and wildlife non-profits. In 2020, Madison County collected over 68% of property taxes (over $31 million) from Big Sky, yet Big Sky is not represented on the Madison planning boards or commissioners. Big Sky residents and resources are at risk due to excessive development bringing problems to our community. Impacts include lack of emergency evacuation capability due to excess traffic, lack of affordable housing, source water, sewage capacity, damaging the headwaters and Gallatin River. In addition, our wildlife is being harmed due to contractors not using bear proof trash cans, road mortality and habitat destruction. My priority will be to support my fellow commissioners on our district’s issues, be a respectful listener, learn the job and ask tough questions. In return I hope my fellow commissioners will work with me on growth plans and zoning regulations to take a sustainable approach to development. In my free time I like to hike, Nordic ski and bike.

Michael White   Along with my wife, we owned and operated a veterinary hospital in Ennis for 34 years. We raised five children in the Madison Valley. I have previously been on the board of a for profit emergency veterinary service in Bozeman. I am currently the president of the board for the non-profit Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. Currently we reside on Eileen's family ranch south of Cameron. I now have the time to work on the board of county commissioners. With unprecedented growth in Montana and the county, and the myriad of concerns that seem to perpetually be coming down the pike for the county, there are many, often complex, issues to deal with on a continuing basis. I have a reasonable working knowledge of the county, and would like to participate in grappling with the county's business, problems, and dilemmas, and be a part of the solutions.

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The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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