By Ron VandenBoom
Retired Havre Police Chief Mike Shortell has confirmed that he will be running for mayor of the city of Havre on the Democratic ticket.
Shortell made the announcement during the monthly meeting of the Hill County Democratic Central Committee Tuesday at the VFW Club. The announcement confirms what has been a long-standing rumor that Shortell was interested in the position.
Shortell said it was the encouragement he received from people in town and from the Democratic party that made him finally decide to take the plunge.
"I felt that they (the Democrats) were behind me in this and I felt very encouraged by it," he said. in an interview after the announcement. "So I think that's what made the final decision ..."
Shortell said he had been enjoying his retirement, but he still felt he had lots of energy and wanted to do something for the community.
"I think I can work well with the city and the city employees and with all the people in the community," he said.
Shortell said that he feels one of his strong points is that he is a good consensus builder and he is a good team builder.
"Anybody can come and talk to me about anything," he said. "We may not always agree, but we'll find some mid-ground and I think that that's one of the strengths I have."
Running the city efficiently will be one of Shortell's priorities, but it is not the only one he listed.
"I want to improve efficiency, but I also think we need to get along and be more cooperative with the Chamber (Havre Area Chamber of Commerce) and some of the other entities in town," Shortell said. "(We need to) kind of work together, pool our resources, provide assistance, and provide encouragement in areas that are legitimate and in areas that the city can appropriately do."
Shortell said he believes economic development and tourism is very important to the community of Havre.
"Those are all the buzz words that everybody hears," he said. "But it really is true. There's a lot of positive things that we can do and I'm willing to do it."
Mayor Phyllis Leonard, has already announced that she would not seek a third term as mayor and last night threw her full support behind Shortell's candidacy.
"Mike has been really good at the job he had before when he was the Police Chief," Leonard said. "He gave me a lot of help when I was a newcomer. He's going to be really great at this job and I'm really happy that I can turn it over to him."
Leonard said she is behind Shortell 150 percent and will help him in any way she can to get elected.
Shortell said he appreciated Leonard's offer of help while admitting that he is not familiar with the election process.
"But I've had a lot of good folks come up and say that they'd help and give a little assistance along the way, he said, so I guess we'll all learn as we go along."
Shortell said he is excited about the up-coming contest describing it as "a new adventure" and "a little scary."
Also announcing that they will be running for reelection during last night's meeting were Alderman Tom Farnham, Alderman Rick Pierson, and Alderman Arnold Tyler.