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Leading the change: Missoula's female-majority city council forges new paths

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January 12, 2017View for printing

Missoula's majority-woman Council is both an outlier and, perhaps, a sign of things to come.

In the dwindling light of a December evening, a woman pushed a blanket-covered stroller along the narrow, icy shoulder of Russell Street. Councilwoman Emily Bentley, driving to the gym, noticed her. Bentley could see the woman wasn't wearing gloves. She had probably just gotten off a bus.

Bentley says that woman comes to mind when she sits in Council chambers, debating issues of infrastructure and housing. She wonders if the stranger's image resonates so acutely because Bentley herself has two kids at home.

"Women see things differently," Bentley says. "Well, I'm not a man, so I don't know if I see things differently from men, but I feel like my perspective is much more geared toward families. I'm a young mother, so that's what my perspective is."

During a pivotal year for Missoula City Council, women's perspectives have been more front and center than ever. Six new members, including five women, were elected to Council in 2016, joining incumbents to create a majority-woman city Council for the first time in Missoula's history.

By Kate Whittle

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Missoula City Council -

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A further reinforcement of why we love Missoula.

Thanks to all who serve to make Missoula an even better place now and for future generations.

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