Retired Forest Service biologist John Ormiston declared his candidacy on Monday, August 6, as the Democratic candidate for the Ravalli County Board of County Commissioners. He is seeking the seat that was held by Matt Kanenwisher, who resigned in June.
According to a press release issued by his campaign, Ormiston’s slogan, “A Reasonable Voice, The Rational Choice,” was chosen to highlight his long history of reaching out to all sides, and building bridges among communities.
“Your vote for me will make sure the whole community has a voice at the table when the Board of County Commissioners meets,” he is quoted as saying.
Ormiston has deep roots in the county. For 38 years he served the public as a wildlife biologist for the Bitterroot National Forest, reaching out to loggers as well as conservationists to find solutions when their values were in conflict.
He is proud of his record of community service, having served on the boards of directors of the Bitterroot Audubon Society, Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association, the Bitter Root Land Trust, Bitterroot Valley Kiwanis, the Rapp Family Foundation, and the Corvallis United Methodist Church. He has served the county as a member of the County Park Board for over 20 years. A founding member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Bitterroot Banquet Committee, he served as committee co-chair for 13 years. He is a Life Member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the NRA.
He is past president of Bitterroot Audubon, Bitter Root Land Trust, Bitterroot Valley Kiwanis, and the Park Board.
His priority as a County Commissioner is to make sound, fact-based decisions about the county budget; retain agriculture as a viable, important sector of the economy; and to provide the level of government services necessary to meet the needs of the health, welfare and safety of our citizens.
John has BS degrees from the University of North Dakota (Biology) and the University of Idaho (Wildlife Biology), and an MS from Idaho in Wildlife Biology. He was employed as a District Wildlife Biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for eight years in Butte, and by the Bitterroot National Forest as a Wildlife Biologist/Wildlife Program Manager for 32 years.
Ormiston and his wife, Barbara, have three children, seven grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.
After filing for the election on Monday, Ormiston addressed about 20 supporters gathered on the County Administration Center steps. Ormiston said that his aim was to be a “voice of the people” on the County Commission. Asked if he was positioning himself as a moderate, he said, “No I’m running as a moderate. I’m not positioning myself as a moderate. I have always been a moderate.” He also stated that he will make decisions based on the best facts and not on ideology.