Yellowstone County News to co-sponsor last Billings mayoral debate

BILLINGS — Yellowstone County News will host and sponsor the final debate between the Billings candidates for mayor on Oct. 17. The candidate forum and debate, co-sponsored by KULR-8 Television, begins at 7 p.m. in Petro Theater at Montana State University Billings and lasts one hour.

The event is free and open to the public. It can be seen on KULR-8’s Facebook Live. Yellowstone County News will also share the Facebook Live feed as well from KULR-8’s feed.

KULR-8 NBC Television Bilings

The two candidates, Bill Cole and Jeff Essmann, will answer questions posed by Billings City Council candidates, selected individuals and audience members.

Jonathan McNiven, publisher of the Yellowstone County News, will moderate the debate.  Any Billings voters and Yellowstone County residents who want to submit a question before the debate may email it to “” with “Debate Question” in the subject line.  Questions for the candidates will also be asked through the Facebook live feed from audience members if time permits.

The Yellowstone County Elections Office will mail ballots to voters across the county the next day Wednesday, Oct. 18.

Cole and Essmann are vying to replace Mayor Tom Hanel, who is barred by term limits from seeking re-election. Seats are up for grabs in each of the five City Council wards and Billings is also seeking a new city administrator to replace Tina Volek, who is retiring, so several new city officials will be in place in Billings City Hall as 2018 begins.

Stay tuned as more details will be available to the public in next week’s YCN publication as well as released here online on the website as we get closer to the debate.

Check here for the live stream of the debate.