The Ekalaka Eagle - Your Community Builder

Town of Ekalaka General Election, November 7

Get to know the Ekalaka mayoral candidates


October 13, 2017

Vicki Fix, Pat Strickland, Jed Larson

The General Election for the Town of Ekalaka will take place on November 7th. Late registrants are able to go to the Carter County Clerk and Recorder's Office, register to vote, and vote until 8:00 p.m. Electors may also drop off their ballots at the Clerk and Recorder's Office up to 8:00 p.m. Following is some information about candidates for mayor and their thoughts on certain topics regarding Ekalaka.


Hi, my name is Vicki Fix. I am a DECLARED WRITE-IN CANDIDATE for the mayor position for the Town of Ekalaka. This means that my name will not appear on the ballot and you, as the voter, will have to write my name on the line and put an "X" in the box if you choose to vote for me.

I have been married to my wonderful husband, Randy, for 32 years. We have 3 amazing children. Kahla is an OB/Delivery nurse at the hospital in Dickinson, North Dakota. Brent is attending college at the University of Mary pursuing a business degree. He also has an internship with Bobcat. Tiana is in her second and final year at Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, Wyoming. She is studying cosmetology and business.

I have lived in Ekalaka all but about 7 months of my life. I attended Billings Vocational Technical Center and received a Clerical Certificate in 10 months. I have worked for Dahl Memorial Hospital, Richard Harkins, Attorney at Law, and Ekalaka Public Schools. I am now at Southeast Electric Cooperative and in my spare time I work for Stevensons Funeral Home. I have been the fair secretary, coached speech and drama and served on the election board, the Credit Union supervisory committee, and am currently president of the MECA Member Services organization. I like to decorate cakes, golf, and watch volleyball. My biggest passion is spending time with my family and friends. I love to laugh!

What is Ekalaka's biggest economic development opportunity?

Ekalaka is a small community and economic opportunities are at a minimum. I love seeing new businesses open. I am impressed with the young people that have been moving back and opening businesses, buying businesses, and taking active rolls in their community by serving on boards, coaching, and volunteering. I would love to see more housing opportunities such as an assisted living facility and rentals.

What town services need improvement?

I am glad that we have a local landfill, water and sewer. I appreciate that our town employees take care of the parks and the streets with the staff and equipment they have. I love that we have a pool, and that year after year, the town works hard at getting it ready.

We have wonderful volunteers that work hard as EMTs, firemen, and law enforcement.

How can those services be improved? I would say by acknowledging their hard work and dedication. We will work together to help those services with their needs.

What can be done to improve Ekalaka's environment and parks?

We have made great strides in cleaning up old properties and making sure that condemned buildings have been removed. However, I really would like to see more people take pride in their lots. Fencing around abandoned vehicles, spare parts, wood piles, etc., are all things I would like to see done. I feel that if we take pride in our personal property, the entire community would show that pride. Let's keep working toward making this an even more beautiful place to live.

What style of leadership does the town need right now?

Our town needs continued leadership from residents who care about Ekalaka and about other residents who live here. Keeping in mind that we have young people that we want to keep here and dedicate time to making sure that we do not disrespect the older generation who have built this town and made it what it is. We should all be leaders in our communities and work toward a common goal. I am very proud that I am from Ekalaka. Many people have come to town and stated that we are the best kept secret in Montana. Our location is beautiful and our people are friendly and care for one another.

What is the most pressing issue for the town? What issue is not getting enough attention?

Pressing issues and issues not getting enough attention are kind of the same answer to me.

Pressing is defined as critical or urgently important. The antiquated sewer system is a pressing issue. The town has dealt with this in the past and it will continue to be problematic. I do not have any answers as to what can be done. I am sure that the current council and those before have been doing research on possible solutions.

I have attended council meetings and have learned that property lines and zoning is also an issue. Due to the fact that we are an older town, many property lines are undefined and not even recorded. I understand that the town has also been working toward defining flood plains and having zoning completed. These are steps in the right direction.

Another issue is pet control. This issue may not be getting the attention it needs as this point, but I know that people are aware that there is a problem and the town council is aware of the problem. Having the community work together and bring their ideas to the council would be helpful.

How can more opportunities be created for youth?

I have struggled with the question about creating opportunities for our youth. My children were given tons of opportunities through their school activities. They traveled to Nashville, San Diego, Chicago, Spokane, and Washington., DC. They always had jobs available to them. My son worked on his grandparent's ranch, my oldest daughter babysat, and my youngest daughter babysat, worked at the hospital, and for the Town. The local businesses are always open to employing our youth, the problem is that these kids are busy. They are in sports, music, academic activities, FCCLA and FFA. I feel that the students in Ekalaka are given many more opportunities than in bigger cities because they get to experience it all and are not limited.

Of course, I would love to see the community work toward a new pool. Someone said to me the other day, how impressed they are that this small town has made this their project for so many years. It shows the dedication and desire to have a new pool for our youth and adults. This is a project that not only benefits our town, but our entire county.

What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

Absolutely NOTHING distinguishes me from the other candidates. I would hope that all three of us want to work toward continuing the progress that has been made in the last several years. Everyone has something different to offer our community. I want what is best for the town and to encourage and work with the council, the city employees, and the residents. It is absolutely impossible to make everyone happy all the time. The mayor position requires someone who is a good leader and communicator. They must be able to see the big picture; not just one side of the frame.


I was born in 1979 and conceived in Carter County. I attended school at Ekalaka Elementary, Johnson Country School, Hulett, and Sundance. I graduated from Hulett High School.

During my time in high school, I attended Boys State, was parliamentarian and vice president of student council, wrestled at state, was part of three state playoff football teams, and ran track. I still hold the 300m Hurdles record.

I was in the Army National Guard as an artillery cannon crew member and combat engineer.

I attended college at Dickinson State University where I ran track and wrestled. My wrestling team was recently inducted into the national hall of fame.

I previously worked in the oil field, drilling methane. Additionally, I am an ASE Certified auto mechanic. I was married and am now divorced.

Currently, I have my own business, working for the past three years as a general contractor.

What is Ekalaka's biggest economic development opportunity?

Carter County Museum, urban development, world domination.

What town services need improvement?

City street and sidewalks, fire hall.

What can be done to improve Ekalaka's environment and parks?

New cement and public restrooms with running water.

What style of leadership does the town need right now?

Benevolent dictator style, multi-personality, with a delusional sense of invincibility.

What is the most pressing issue for the town?

Preserving hometown values in an ever-changing world. Also, water management, sewer capacity, building in a flood plain, and the fire hall.

What issue is not getting enough attention?

How to get money out of tourism to finance youth organizations.

How can more opportunities be created for youth?

An aquatic center, museum expansion, a skate park, and community service programs.

What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

I live on Main Street. I'm possibly the most self-important, non-essential person you have ever met. As mayor, I might get visitation rights to my children.


I was born in Bozeman, Montana and am 67 years old. I have been married to Denice Ness Strickland for 27 years and have been a Montana resident all my life. I moved to Ekalaka in July of 2012.

I attended grade school in Belgrade, high school in Manhattan, and furthered my education at Montana State College and Eastern Montana College, the latter of which I graduated from in 1975 with a degree in General Business and a minor in Economics.

Upon graduating college I worked as a ranch hand for a short time. From 1977 to 1985 I worked as a purchasing agent for various plumbing contractors and wholesalers in Missoula.

In 1986 I began working for the United States Postal Service. In my 30 and one-half-year career, I held positions in building maintenance, the district accounting office, a mail processing clerk, and Postmaster in Wisdom, Montana. From July of 2012 to December of 2016 I was the Postmaster in Ekalaka.

While living in Wisdom, MT, I was a member of the Wisdom Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Service, I sat on the Wisdom Water and Sewer Board, and was a member of the Wisdom Masonic Lodge.

I feel that I am qualified for the position of mayor because I spent over 30 years as an employee of a quasi-government corporation with the postal service, subject to all of the rules and regulations imposed on by the government. I have had a lot of experience, off and on during my postal career, supervising employees, scheduling work, and evaluating performance. As a postmaster, I basically ran my own business within the organization.

With the training and experience I had over 30+ years, I traveled a great portion of Montana, assisting other Postmasters with problems they may have had, giving orientation classes to new employees, and giving additional training to employees who were going to be working out in the field in their own offices. I have family all over eastern Montana, have spent a lot of time over the years in this part of the state, and am aware of the issues involved in living and making a living in an area like this. Being retired, I will have the time available to dedicate to the job.

This following information was collected by canvassing businesses and individuals working and living in Ekalaka.

What is Ekalaka's biggest economic development opportunity?

There is a definite shortage of housing, both temporary and long term. It is difficult for people to find a place to live if they want to move here and almost impossible to find a place to stay, especially during special events.

What town services need improvement?

The town's basic infrastructure; water, sewer, and streets all are in need of some serious attention.

What can be done to improve Ekalaka's environment and parks?

The town really needs to be cleaned up. The city needs to get its streets cleaned up along with the parks. Other city property needs to be cleaned up as well.

What style of leadership does the town need right now?

The town is in need of some strong, aggressive leadership with some direction.

What is the most pressing issue for the town?

Street maintenance, I feel, is one of the issues that needs to be dealt with.

What issue is not getting enough attention?

Basic infrastructure problems are not being aggressively pursued.

How can more opportunities be created for youth?

It will have to be a community-wide program involving the town, schools, and churches to develop something for the youth in the community.

What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

I believe that I have strong leadership abilities, will pursue this position with a no-nonsense approach, and will be able to work with the members of the community for the common good of all.


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