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Candidate filings for the 2022 election in Montana open this week, and at least one longtime county resident is ready to join the Gallatin County Commission race.

Jennifer Boyer, a 23-year resident of Bozeman, plans to run for Commissioner Joe Skinner’s seat as a Democrat. Skinner said in an interview Tuesday he has no plans to run again after three terms over 18 years on the county commission.

Candidate filing opens on Jan. 13 and closes on March 14, according to the Montana Secretary of State’s 2022 Election Calendar.

Boyer has not run for political office before, but has been involved with the inner workings of Gallatin County policy development. Her primary job is working as a consultant on projects since graduating from graduate school at Oregon State in 1997.

Her resume includes helping to develop drought and fishery planning for the Big Hole Watershed. Boyer was most recently involved in community engagement and development of the Triangle Community and Triangle Trails plans.

She also runs a goat farm with her husband north of Bozeman.

In an interview at the farm Tuesday, she said that after being appointed to the Gallatin County Planning Board in 2016 and the Consolidated Board of Adjustments in 2017, running for county commissioner seemed like the next logical step.

“I believe it’s a really important job, and I really do care about this place and the people who live here and create this community,” she said. “I would regret not doing it.”

There are three critical areas that Boyer said she is focused on in Gallatin County.

One is providing cost effective, efficient services for people in the county, which she described as the foundation of what a local county government can do.

Ensuring that transportation services — like the Streamline bus service — the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and Search and Rescue meet the needs of the rapidly growing population are some of the examples she gave.

She said the Law and Justice Center bond passing in November was a good example of government services keeping up with growth.

“That’s about modernizing and providing better services for our population,” Boyer said.

The new district court building will rely on increased property taxes to pay for its construction. Boyer said that the county “can’t just keep going to the property tax,” and that doing so is unsustainable.

The issue of ever-increasing property taxes is not unique to Gallatin County, she said. It’s up to counties and municipalities across the state to look to the Legislature for other tools to use, like expanding local option resort taxes to serve larger communities.

Boyer said that using elements of the newly adopted Gallatin County growth policy and water planning — like better preparing water resources for drought, flood and fire — could be used to help provide more predictability in the future of growth and development in the county.

Affordability and housing in the county is hugely important, she said. The county’s plan to build employee housing next to the Gallatin County Rest Home is a step in the right direction, but she said more can be done.

“We have to be thinking about affordability and housing, and that’s an area that I think our county government has not been really active,” Boyer said.

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Alex Miller is the county and state government reporter and can be reached at or by phone at 406-582-2648.

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