Archive for Legislators


Deepening divide

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The split in the Republican legislature has become even deeper.

Republican operatives are already targeting moderate Republican legislators who want to clean up dark money.  And they’re doing it without any transparency or accountability at all.

More from the Great Falls Tribune on the fake campaign website some Republicans are using to target a member of their own party:

[Republican operative] Eaton said he created the website because Jones of “actively conspiring with Democrats to beat Republican members of the Legislature.”

“I’m a guy who works to elect Republicans,” Eaton said. “To not be proactive in dealing with someone who is trying to beat Republican Members of the legislature would be malpractice on my part.”

The GOP plan is pretty clear: you either play with us, or we plan to take you out.

Some tea party-leaning Republicans are upset with Jones because he has worked with Senate Democrats this session on a variety of major legislation, ranging from education funding reform to campaign finance reform.

…the message is clear: is designed to help beat Jones in 2014.

This notion that compromise should be removed from the legislative process is simply irresponsible and out of touch with the voters of Montana.

Categories : Legislators

With a Masters Degree in Social Work, Senator Sue Malek is at the State Legislature to strengthen Montana, help small businesses, and put families first. She has always held the value of community close, and is proud to support the efforts of neighborhoods in her district.

Serving also in the House of Representatives in 2009 and 2011, Sen. Malek continuously works hard for Montana. She has been an advocate for economic growth, good government, and safe communities. This is evident in her legislation, such as a series of DUI reform bills.

As a first generation college graduate, Sen. Malek understands just how important investing in education is to the future of Montana.  She knows that an educated workforce is key crucial to a healthy economy, and rates it as her number one priority. She sums this idea up on her official website:

“I am committed to making sure more Montana students graduate from high school and attend and graduate from college.  Graduates are more likely to be employed and stay employed.  They are more likely to be involved citizens.

Coming from a family that valued education, Sen. Malek is working to instill these values in the next generation and make sure that students have every opportunity succeed.

Sen. Malek appreciates the chance for self-betterment that public education offers; it represents a core American value and is a key component of a healthy economy. She supports policies that will improve the quality and accessibility of education in Montana, such as the funding of Montana Digital Academy.

Through her own experiences, education,  and career in social work, she has seen the necessity of investing education, as well as the different needs of Montanans and how to address them. Sen. Malek is giving back to her state by representing her district with honor and dignity in Helena, and by fighting for policies that will improve the lives of all Montanans.

Written by MDLCC Legislative Assistant Cassie Hintz

Categories : Legislators

Representative JP Pomnichowski is a third-term legislator from Bozeman who has a strong record of passing good laws that benefit Montanans. She has served as Vice Chair of the House Natural Resources committee (2009) and is Vice Chair of House Taxation this session. In 2007 and 2009, Rep. Pomnichowski passed the second-greatest number of bills of her caucus, including bills for hunters and sportsmen, public education, small business, recovery after disaster, technical research, and Montanans’ personal privacy.

All of Rep. Pomnichowski’s bills passed with bipartisan support, and she is proudest that “ [she] worked on the details of policy instead of playing party politics,” (Bozeman Daily Chronicle). Pomnichowski carried many bills with an emphasis in natural resources, including protecting water quality and water quantity, improving gravel (opencut mining) practices, mitigating the impacts of oil and gas drilling, and protecting landowners from the effects of coalbed methane drilling.

A firefighter/EMT for ten years and a hospital worker for six years, Rep. Pomnichowski knows the importance to everyone of medical care and a robust health care system. She sponsored a bill to allow for the donation of cancer medicine to patients who could not afford it. Donation is made safely through participating cancer centers and pharmacies.

To help high-tech researchers to commercialize their discoveries into viable businesses based in Montana, she sponsored a bill to provide state matching grants to those businesses. In just three years, nine companies have been launched, all based in Montana, and all employing Montanans.

Rep. Pomnichowski is passionate about public education, being a proud product of Montana public schools and a graduate of Montana State University. In 2007 she voted to freeze tuition for university students, for the first time in twenty years. She was proud to help secure $28 million to renovate Gaines Hall on the MSU campus, the main building for chemistry and science classes, and she was proud to vote for the Digital Academy, a service that thousands of Montana students now use to access classes otherwise unavailable to them.

In 2009, a natural gas explosion and fire devastated Main Street Bozeman and killed one citizen. Rep. Pomnichowski was the first to realize that with the loss of a fellow Bozemanite and the destruction of a square block of downtown businesses, another valuable asset was jeopardized: the collective value of the entire downtown district. Pomnichowski rushed to pass legislation to preserve the value of a tax increment financing district after a disaster, which saved the value of Bozeman’s entire downtown TIF district.

Working across party lines is a priority to Pomnichowski, and she says she’s always pursued the work of policy instead of politics. “I’ve worked hard to craft good public policy with my fellow legislators; when we pass laws, they apply to every Montanan, regardless of his or her political beliefs. I work on the details of the long-range policy. I don’t stand on ideology, and I won’t waste the people’s time and money on extremist positions..” (Bozeman Daily Chronicle).

Rep. Pomnichowski is fighting to protect Montana, keep a balanced and fair budget, and putting the people of Montana first. Seasoned in the business of politics, she is a strong advocate for Montana, it’s people, and progress across the state.

Written by MDLCC Legislative Assistant Cassie Hintz

Categories : Legislators

After a career of service and advocacy, Representative Margaret MacDonald-D has taken her work and experiences to the capitol to fight for hardworking Montanans.

Rep. MacDonald has an innate sense of good, and a desire to help people. Through positions as the Director at the Montana Office of Community Service, the Executive Director at the Montana Association of Churches, and the Staff Director at the Northern Plains Resource Council, she has seen the different needs of our state and understands how to address them to benefit all Montanans.

Serving her second term in the Montana House of Representatives, Rep. MacDonald is largely focused on improving the justice system. This session Rep. MacDonald sponsored a package of five bills on restorative justice which have passed the House and are in the Senate. These bills do a number of things, including saving the state money by reducing recidivism, and enabling Montanans to re-enter society as contributing members. Her bill to prevent prison suicides died in committee.

Working towards all aspects of a healthy and prosperous life for Montanans, Rep. MacDonald has also introduced legislation aimed at improving our education system, environmental conservation and sustainability, advocating for workers’ rights, investing in alternative energy, preventing animal cruelty, and protecting victims of child abuse.

As the Minority Whip in the House of Representatives, Rep. MacDonald sets a precedent of common sense and dignity from Montana’s leadership.

Rep. MacDonald is passionate about standing up for disadvantaged groups, and for policies that are good for Montana. While some politicians attend to the needs of their party or out of state interests, she is working to pass responsible legislation that addresses Montana’s needs, and affirms our Western values of honor and justice.

Written by MDLCC Legislative Assistant Cassie Hintz

Categories : Legislators

After working to gain knowledge and experience, people are often inspired to use what they’ve learned for public service. Representative Franke Wilmer is one such person. After earning Ph.D in Government and Politics, conducting international research, and writing three books, she’s sharing her skills to improve the lives of others.

Rep. Wilmer has worked in a plethora of positions: waitress, carpenter, middle school substitute teacher, professor, research assistant, and elected official to name a few. With a broad and knowledgeable point of view, she understands the importance of investing in education and providing opportunities for the next generation. In a quote on her official website, Rep. Wilmer said,

“I am a product of the American dream and I want ensure it is there for my daughter and grandchildren…I improved my life through hard work and I am running so we don’t lose the opportunities that enabled me to do that.”

Rep. Wilmer has used her experiences to serve Montana on a number of boards and committees, such as the most notably as Chairwoman of former Governor Brian Schweitzer’s Montana Human Rights Commission. Now she is using them to serve Montana in the legislature.

In her fourth term, Rep. Wilmer has held a number positions at the Capitol, including Speaker Pro Tempore, member of the Governor’s Capital Financial Advisory Council, Chair of State Administration and Veterans Affairs Committees, and Legislative Liaison to the Board of Investments. She was also named Vietnam Veterans of America Montana Council’s “Legislator of the Year” in 2011. She is truly a model of dedicated and responsible leadership.

Committed to safer communities, good government, and high paying jobs, Rep. Wilmer has sponsored 13 bills that are good for hardworking Montanans. She is making sure we have a responsive state government, a clean environment, safe communities.

Rep. Wilmer knows what Montanans need and has the skills to make sure they get it. She wants to protect the American dream, and raise the bar and make sure that our children have even greater opportunities than we had.

Categories : Legislators

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