Who am I and how did I get here?
After nearly two decades of reaching you by way of the weekly Advertiser and Lake County Leader – formerly Flathead Courier, Ronan Pioneer and Mission Valley News – I have just been appointed the honor of representing you in the Montana Senate.
Montana has 50 Senate districts. If you live within the 1,300 square miles roughly between McGregor Lake, Kila, Flathead’s east shore, to just north of Ravalli; you are in Senate District 6 and I am your Senator.
I’ll quickly recap what has happened the last few weeks.
When Republican Sen. Brueggeman resigned, it triggered the legal selection process to fill the unexpected vacancy.
Being a Republican seat, the Lake County Republican Central Committee invited applicants, and there was a series of interviews. Checks and balances are built into the process.
Once the committee approved a slate of three candidates, it was delivered to the county commissioners of both Lake and Flathead Counties to make the final selection. Part of this district lies in Flathead County; their input was weighted accordingly.
I speak for everyone involved that it made for a great big civics lesson for us all.
While awaiting the final decision, I kept up with the session (which began on January 3) by watching the Capitol’s streaming videos. It’s a terrific tool, and virtually brings you into the House and Senate chambers.
Having been chosen, with a great deal of humility I entered the hallowed halls of the Senate chamber to broad smiles and handshakes. With tears in my eyes, I was sworn in by Justice Jim Rice and took my place at Desk 2. (Way up in front!)
Without the advantage of two months of prep time since November 2, I’ve had to manage a blizzard of information and rushed logistics.
I make these promises to you, my constituents:
I promise to put the same effort a primary and general campaign would have required into gaining knowledge on the important issues before the Senate;
I promise to be accessible to you. When we owned the newspaper, the phone rang often, sometimes bringing criticism. It was always an opportunity to learn. It also proved that people care about their community. These last few years I’ve missed getting those calls. I cordially invite you to contact me with questions, concerns and yes, gripes.
Here’s how to stay in touch: Call (406) 444-4800 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Live and archived audio and video coverage: http://leg.mt.gov.
Some sessions are televised. Check TVMT cable channel 97; channel 67 in Kalispell.