EDITOR’S NOTE: Former Billings Mayor Chuck Tooley is running in the Democratic primary for Public Service Commission. Here is his edited statement.
One of Billings’ most popular and effective mayors, Chuck Tooley, is also the best qualified candidate for the Montana Public Service Commission.
“My career in business and public service has prepared me for the collaborative and analytical work of the PSC,” Tooley said, announcing his candidacy. Tooley served 10 years as mayor of Billings and five years on the Billings City Council where duties included regulating city-owned utilities serving more than 30,000 customers.
“I’m the only candidate for PSC who has actually worked for a PSC-regulated utility (Mountain Bell) and I have first-hand experience with divestiture, de-regulation, and un-bundling of services.”
The Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) regulates monopolies that provide electricity, gas, telephone and other services. Tooley also cited his experience as a board member of the Montana Electric and Gas Alliance, which was created to establish publicly owned utility services.
“The PSC needs committed, fair-minded members who will negotiate in good faith. My experience chairing hundreds of City Council meetings and public hearings has taught me that a professional attitude and constructive give-and-take are essential to getting things done. I want to represent the citizens of Southeastern Montana effectively and conscientiously,” he said.
When elected, Tooley said, he will concentrate on bringing positivity and professionalism to the process; promoting economic development in Montana by ensuring fair rates for reliable utility services; and making decisions for the benefit of present and future generations of Montanans.
Tooley has launched a website – www.tooleyforpsc.org – that provides background on his career and an opportunity for voters to ask questions and comment.
In addition to his 15 years in elective office, Tooley worked for six years with Mountain Bell, a PSC-regulated utility. He has private business experience, as founder and president of Tooley Communications, a consulting practice advising businesses and organizations on issues relating to public policy, marketing and strategic communications. He was director of the Urban Institute at Montana State University Billings for four years.
His public service includes working in leadership positions with non-profits including the Salvation Army, Montana League of Cities and Towns, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.