Billings attorney Bill Cole, the current chairman of the Billings Chamber of Commerce board of directors, will formally announce his candidacy for mayor today.  The Billings Gazette reports that Cole said [quote] “people I respect have been encouraging me to run for several months.” [end quote]  Cole, who’s never run for office before, said Billings has never been in a better place, but needs to continue to attract and retain young people who are the future of the city.


Cole has scheduled a formal announcement today at 12:30 p.m.  He’s the third candidate to announce his intention to replace term-limited Mayor Tom Hanel.  Billings architect Randy Hafer and Montana GOP Chair Rep. Jeff Essmann announced last week.  Today is the first day to file for the mayor’s race and five contested city council seats.  The deadline is June 19.