Miller mounts challenge for Powell mayor’s seat

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Ryan Miller is a relative newcomer to the political arena, but he believes that he has what’s needed to be the next mayor of Powell.

Miller is challenging incumbent John Wetzel (see separate story) in the race to fill the remainder of the late Don Hillman’s unexpired term as mayor.

“I am running for mayor because I have a deep concern for Powell and its future,” Miller said. “Powell is a great place to live, work, and raise a family and I would like to do my part to keep it this way. Having the opportunity to serve in this capacity is one way to contribute to moving Powell forward while preserving the good qualities Powell offers.”

While Miller does not have political experience per se, he does have some experience with city government. He served on the Powell Airport Board with Hillman under then-Mayor Scott Mangold and also holds a commercial pilot license and flight instructor license. Miller has also served on the Park County Planning and Zoning Commission. Last, but not least, Miller spent approximately a decade serving in law enforcement in the Las Vegas and Salt Lake City areas.

“My family and I have been invested in Powell for many decades and hope to be for many more,” Miller said. “I will do my part to ensure Powell is moving forward and not just settling for status quo. We have a unique way of life here and I want to preserve it and make Powell an even better place to live, work and visit.”

Miller also believes that his experience as a business owner will help if he is elected mayor.

“As a local small business owner, you wear many hats and gain knowledge and experience in a variety of areas,” Miller said. “You face countless issues and find solutions to work through those issues.”

Miller said that continuing to maintain and improve the services and infrastructure that the city provides is a major priority.

“This would be a collective effort between myself, the [city] council, department heads and rank and file in the various departments,” Miller said. “We need to see what we can do together to streamline and improve these services as well as keep our infrastructure maintained without any unnecessary burdens.”

Miller cited economic development as another main priority if he is elected.

“It is necessary to promote and support our local businesses more so now than ever,” Miller said. “We need to help find a way to limit vacant buildings in downtown and around Powell and make Powell an attractive place for businesses. … I want to raise Powell’s profile on the county and state level. When opportunities do present themselves, I would like Powell to be in the conversation.”

Miller also considers fiscal responsibility to be important for city government.

“We have not recovered from the downturn in mineral revenue, which reduces our direct funding from the state,” Miller said. “Our sales tax revenue continues to be at reduced levels. I will do my part to see that we exercise fiscal discipline so we stay within our budget without adding unnecessary burdens.”

Miller graduated from Powell High School in 1992 and later received a bachelor’s degree from Bellevue University in Nebraska. He is the president and owner of Dick Jones Trucking in Powell and before that, he was the general manager and partner in a family-owned and operated high voltage electrical contracting company in Powell.

Miller is married to the former Tasha Bjornestad of Powell. Together, the couple has nine children ranging in age from 5 to 18.

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