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Madam Mayor-elect! Unless something dramatic happens (hanging chads, etc), Dona Stebbins will be sworn in as the new Mayor of Great Falls! As of 10:35 pm, her lead over incumbent Randy Gray was more than 300 votes. I attended the election night party at the Howard’s Pizza/50s Casino with Dona, her family, and many of her friends and supporters. There were probably about 50 or 60 people, and the mood was relaxed and upbeat: people munched on delicious pizza, enjoyed some beverages, and mingled and met each other. Among the folks attending were R.J. Haffner, of the R&R Casino; and Rick & Phyllis Tryon (wise, friendly folks), with their daughter Melaina (the pride of the Great Falls High debating team!). Also on hand was Cascade County Commissioner Joe Briggs, who checked his Blackberry periodically to see if there was any breaking news, to no avail. The 10:00 live newscast for KFBB, hosted by the lovely Lisa Furgison, brought us news that Dona was leading by a few points, but we couldn’t get confirmation. It was encouraging, but not enough to begin cheering. The second live shot, at around 10:25, was a bit more nerve-wracking, as Lisa was on the phone with a source…and literally seconds before the shot went live, Lisa whispered to Dona “You won!” Of course, when she said that the entire crowd was silent, so we all heard it, and cheers went up as the camera began broadcasting. Dona looked momentarily stunned, and then presented herself wonderfully on-camera, promising change in City Hall and stating that her first order of business was to study, study, study before she takes office. Again, the air was filled with cheers as the “official” part of the evening came to end. Quite a night!



  1. David, thank you so much for being there tonight! It was great to actually shake your hand and introduce you to my friends and supporters. I am so pleased with the results of the election. At 51.77% of the vote, I will not say that I have a “mandate,” but it is obvious that taxpayers want fiscally responsible government, and public servants who will respond to their concerns and desires.
    I was pleased to see Rick Tryon there with his wife Phyllis and amazing daughter Melaina. Rick’s mother Connie was one of my earliest and best friends in Great Fall. I enjoyed having a chance to visit with Robert Haffner, author and publisher of the infamous “Leader-less” pamphlet. His concerns are valid, I think, and available to anyone who peruses the City Commission meeting minutes. Let’s all do the homework!
    I look forward to serving the people of Great Falls – yes, even the folks who DIDN’T vote for me. I think it will be a journey of consensus building, listening carefully, and deliberation. I will never forget that politics is the art of compromise to advance the greater good, and never about a personal agenda for a select few.
    I believe that the weblogs have played a part in this election, and will continue to grow as an influential part of public participation.

    And David, when I take office, I will hold you to your offer to help me establish a “Mayoral Weblog.” Is it not time Great Falls led the way in SOMETHING?

  2. Congratulations, Dona! I’ve been quiet these past few weeks, but ended my self-imposed hermitdom long enough yesterday to go cast a vote for you. And I saw my shadow, so unfortunately for David, that means six more weeks of Fall.

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