A Closer Look At City Council Wannabe Jennifer Savage

by Travis Mateer

There is an aspiring City Council wannabe who filed to run for office this week worth getting to know a little better and her name is Jennifer Savage.

Greg Strandberg over at Big Sky Words gets the ball rolling by pointing out Savage is a part of Spider McKnight’s Six Pony Hitch Team, which I first wrote about last summer.

I’m glad Strandberg put this on my radar because when I first looked at Six Pony Hitch I missed the Spider McKnight came to Missoula from New York City and got some help from that little mom and pop banking firm, Goldman Sachs:

Spider McKnight is the owner of Six Pony Hitch in Missoula, Montana. She moved to Missoula from New York City where she worked at some of the world’s largest agencies including J. Walter Thompson and BBDO. As an award-winning storyteller and Creative Director, Spider oversaw creative development for numerous national and international accounts. It was also in New York that she fell in love with strategy and spent numerous hours tailing account planners, researchers, and other strategists to inform her creative work. Spider also took some time during those years to work with groups across the country working on social justice and equality. Here she developed her skills in community organizing and policy change.

Spider started Six Pony Hitch in 2010 to bring her varied experience and skills to bear for clients who are making a difference in the world. She added Design Thinking to her range of capabilities as well as business strategy through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and the Surge and Grow program through Scale Smarter Partners.

Jennifer Savage, the Communication and Content Specialist at Pony, has also utilized her communication skills for another entity I like to remind people exists, the Headwaters Foundation.

I wrote about the Headwaters Foundation in 2018, then got into some more detail last year, including pointing out that the Headwaters website was developed by…OF COURSE, Six Pony Hitch.

Here is what Jennifer Savage was doing before she glided from Headwaters to Spider’s Pony show:

Missoula-based Headwaters Foundation today announced Zero to Five, a $16.7 million, multiyear strategic initiative focused on building resiliency for Montana’s youngest children. This six-year initiative will invest $5.2 million to establish a program office anchored at the University of Montana.

“Headwaters is honored to launch Zero to Five on behalf Montana’s children,” said Headwaters Foundation CEO Brenda Solorzano. “When we asked the communities we serve how we could best allocate our resources, they told us without hesitation to focus on the children. They also told us to let communities lead the process. We’re proud to say we’ve done both.”

And here is how that Headwaters money (which was originally generated from privatizing a public asset, Community Hospital) travels to United Way:

United Way of Missoula County, a nonprofit that focuses on many community programs such as preventing childhood obesity, was chosen Friday as the “anchor” organization to spearhead a new initiative by the Headwaters Foundation of Western Montana.

Headwaters is launching its “0-5” Strategic Initiative this year, which communications officer Jennifer Savage said is a “multi-year commitment to improve the health and well-being of children and their caregivers” in 15 counties in Western Montana. The name refers to the ages of children the initiative will focus on.

Jennifer Savage is running to take the place of Bryan Von Rocket Scientist in Ward 1. Her opponent will be J. Kevin Hunt, the man who caught Engen’s manipulative move to shift a key hearing on Nick Checota’s planned development (now defunct) from a Monday Council meeting to a Wednesday Committee meeting.

I am VERY EXCITED to help inform my fellow Missoula citizens about their upcoming political options because I know the Missoula Current and other local media outlets are just not up to the task of providing critical information while simultaneously trying to maintain their access to the halls of power.

So stay tuned…

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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3 Responses to A Closer Look At City Council Wannabe Jennifer Savage

  1. J. Kevin Hunt says:

    Thanks for covering the Ward 1 race! You educated me regarding my worthy opponent, about whom I knew nothing; I’d thought perhaps she was a daughter or granddaughter of the late Yvonne (Jeanne) Savage, who along with Stan Healy represented Ward 1 for many, many years in the 1970s. I expect this race will be hard-fought and that to the extent my campaign is covered, it will be mischaracterized as ‘negative’ and ‘radical,’ contrasted with the ‘positive’ and ‘collaborative’ works if Ms. Savage. I commend Ms. Savage for her initiative for children. I would like to address the root problem, which is as many as 500 unhoused public schoolchildren in Missoula, according to the district’s own estimates. Four-term Mayor Engen and a sycophantic City Council are leaving these children behind as they divert corporate property taxes from services to a frenzy of construction of high-end condos for the rich, with a few token “affordable” units that most Missoulians cannot afford. I would like to aid Ms. Savage’s efforts by eliminating houselessness of schoolchildren at the source, which means abandoning the supply-side subsidization of Big Developers, the displacement of families from mobile homes and affordable rentals being demolished to make way for bank towers and houses to be offered at $250-350K, and “workforce apartments” offered at “market rates,” which further enriches the developers via tax incentives, while keeping the dwellings well beyond the means of most of the 49% of Missoulians who rent, and certainly beyond the means of the 41% of Missoula renters who cannot afford their other expenses after paying “market rate” rents, increasingly more often to out of state landlords who are corporations or wealthy individuals gobbling up houses faster than subsidized developers can build them, as speculative investments, driving house prices through the stratosphere. And the people are told again and again that our city officials are creating record numbers of ‘affordable’ dwellings. They’re affordable, all right, just not for the people in need, in a community with a median homeowner income of $57K and renter median income of less than $35K. Meanwhile, the influx of rich buying up houses and relocating here, has transformed Missoula into one of the most extreme examples of wealth inequality in America, as 44% of our residents now live solely off of stock dividends and/or collected rents. I do not want to privatize public assets in order to grow charity organizations, I want to arrest and reverse the exploitation for profit of those harmed by the current city regime that practices socialism for the rich.

    – J. Kevin Hunt

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