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I-Ho Pomeroy, Commissioner of Bozeman, steps down following a cancer diagnosis



Bozeman, Montana – Months after receiving a cancer diagnosis, Bozeman City Commissioner I-Ho Pomeroy resigned this week.

In June, Pomeroy had surgery to remove a brain tumor that was identified as glioblastoma. Since then, Pomeroy has had chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She also just returned from a trip to her childhood home in Korea.

In a phone conversation on Wednesday, Pomeroy stated that although she had got excellent news from a scan, she will still need therapy in the months to come. She thanked the people of Bozeman for their service on the commission.

“I am just very thankful people have given me this kind of opportunity three times,” Pomeroy said. “I came from a foreign country, from Korea; English is my second language — and I became a commissioner. That means whoever wants to serve as a commissioner can do it, too… I think I gave them some hope.”

During her term, Pomeroy’s main concerns were access to mental health care, affordable housing, and environmental protection in Bozeman. On Wednesday, she expressed her hope once more that the city will keep concentrating on achieving those objectives.

“I do hope when more people come here, instead of saying ‘Don’t come, I came here first,’ we learn how to share,” Pomeroy said. “And we preserve the wetlands and trees and mountains so not only can we enjoy them ourselves, but also for the next generation and the next generation and the next generation.”

Pomeroy was just re-elected to the commission for a second time in 2021 after being elected in 2013.

Pomeroy was the first person of color and immigrant to be elected to the commission, according to the city.

Before creating a physical store, Pomeroy opened I-Ho’s Korean Grill as a cart close to the Montana State University campus. The restaurant relocated to a specially constructed structure off West Main Street in 2022.

Pomeroy is well-known for hosting fundraising events at the eatery, with the money raised going toward charitable causes such as providing aid to victims of the Bridger Foothills Fire, the earthquake in Turkey, or the situation in Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Mayor Cyndy Andrus expressed her loss for Pomeroy’s spirit and sense of humor during commission meetings.

“She’s just done so much for the community, and we’re just really going to miss her,” Andrus said. “I’m sure it was a hard thing for her to decide, but I’m grateful we gave her and her family time to think about this and decide what was best for her and her family.”

Deputy Mayor Terry Cunningham said it was shocking to learn of Pomeroy’s resignation even though she had been gone from commission meetings since receiving her diagnosis a few months prior.

Andrus and Cunningham both mentioned how committed Pomeroy was to causes like affordable housing and mental health care while she served on the commission.

“She has been sort of the champion of the underdog, people who are not dealt the greatest hand, so that’s been her legacy,” Cunningham said. “I think one of the things that’s been clear in watching Commissioner Pomeroy’s votes and actions on the commission, is her life experience really informs her decisions.”

Pomeroy, according to Commissioner Christopher Coburn, brought compassion, humor, and love to her work on the board.

“I will be forever grateful for the path that she set us on as a community,” Coburn said.

Pomeroy provided a “breath of fresh air” to their sessions, something Commissioner Jennifer Madgic said they will miss.

“She really helped the overall demeanor of the commission going into our meetings,” Madgic said. “We all need to just see how much a bright spirit like that can lift a room, and can lift individuals, and to try to be more like that.”

Pomeroy will step down on November 1.

A news release from the city-states that the commission will have 30 days from Pomeroy’s resignation date to name a replacement for the position. Interested parties may apply by sending an up to 1,000-word statement of interest to by November 16.

To be eligible, candidates must be registered voters with their primary address located in the city. The commissioner selected will hold office for the remainder of the term, which will expire at the municipal elections in November 2025.


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