Candidate for mayor excited about city’s possibilities

Kathleen Gilluly
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Mayoral write-in candidate Ted Mize

Mayoral write-in candidate Ted Mize

Mayoral write-in candidate Ted Mize has lived in Laurel since he was a little shaver—as he referred to his own young sons during a recent interview—when his family moved here in 1993.

“I’m pretty much a lifer here,” he said. “My wife and I have a house here and we have children now; we aren’t going anywhere.” The Mize family lives in Ward II on Fifth Ave.

At 34-years-old, this is Mize’s first incursion into the world of politics, although, as a City of Billings’ employee, he is familiar with the inner-workings of city government.

“Running for office is a whole new experience for me,” he said. “But, I saw your article in the paper and it made me sad the city was going to cancel the election, so I ran down to the election office and threw my hat in the ring.”

Mize said he is aware that the city will face big challenges in the near future.

“The new exchange is going to bring unprecedented growth to Laurel,” he said, “and as Billings continues moving west, Laurel will have to adapt. It would be nice to continue to foster our own community identity.”

First though, he would like to see better communication between the different city departments. “A little communication goes a long way in creating a good working environment,” Mize noted. “I know that most city employees are hard-working, conscientious, career employees. They just want to do their best and they know best how to do their jobs, generally.”

He said that not relying on the professionals employed by the city is just one of the things about Laurel that makes no sense to him. He added that a little transparency would go a long way to make sure city hall is trusted by citizens.

“The firing of the city administrator wasn’t handled optimally,” he said referring to Matthew Lurker, who served almost a year in the position and is disputing his termination in court. “I would’ve have done that differently.” Mize said that without knowledge of Lurker’s performance or the problems leading up to his leaving city employment, he couldn’t comment on specifics, but said that it again came down to communication.

Mize has worked for the City of Billings Public Works Department since 2011. “I’m a humble trash man,” he said smiling. When he isn’t working or focused on his family, the MSU Billings graduate said he is just getting back into black and white photography. “I think we are just about set to start developing film in the darkroom we set up,” he said. He also enjoys restoring antique British cars and Japanese motorcycles. “My dad got me started doing that,” he said. Mize belongs to the Montana Vintage Motorcycle Club. One thing he isn’t really into is social media.

“My wife Michelle is my social media coordinator,” he said, “she’s really helped a lot.” It isn’t that the candidate can’t do social media. “I had concerns about privacy, but mostly social media can be so negative, I’d rather stay away,” he said. “I like to be the optimist in every situation.”

Mize is knocking on doors in Laurel, hoping to reach voters before the ballots are mailed on Oct. 18.

“If I break it into chunks of four blocks a day, I think I can reach almost everyone,” he said. Despite his optimism, Mize is accepting help with the campaign. Anyone wishing to knock on doors with him, can visit his Facebook site, Ted Mize for Mayor.

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