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Shelly Fyant announces HD 91 candidacy

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ARLEE — Longtime community leader, Shelly Fyant, launches her campaign for House District 91 this week. The district includes urban and rural communities in Lake, Sanders and Missoula counties.

Shelly has worked a lifetime supporting important community issues, from voting rights, environmental quality, and quality education of the youth. She has led community improvement efforts and as Chairwoman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), she applied her values to working with Montana Governors, state and federal leaders, and influential organizations and businesses. Her career demonstrates a commitment to serving the community.

“People speak of protecting Montana values. To me, that means preserving the environment, planning for future growth and development, and respecting the diversity of the people we serve,” Fyant said. “I’ve gained experience to work across the aisle to draft and sponsor bipartisan legislation to create a better Montana. I am willing to tackle difficult issues and help come up with solutions to ensure a better world for our future generations.”

Forming a Unified Incident Command System (ICS) Team between Lake County and CSKT when the Covid-19 pandemic hit Lake County was critical. This quick interagency response was key with the goal of protecting the public health and safety of all Lake County and Flathead Indian Reservation residents. Shelly and former Lake County Commission Chairman Bill Barron joined forces to lead this effort focusing on clear communication, accountability, and efficient use of resources.

Shelly currently works for the Arlee Community Development Corporation as the Food Sovereignty Chair. She has been a proponent of food security, having laid the groundwork for the CSKT Food Sovereignty Committee, which has developed into a pilot program addressing food security on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

During her Tribal Council tenure, Shelly ushered in an updated government system. While on Council, she saw the return of the Bison Range to the Tribes as part of the Water Compact legislation, as well as the purchase of the former Kerr Dam, now Selis Ksanka Qlispe Dam. As part of updating the tribal government structure, Shelly helped develop seven resolutions to encourage more work on addiction, mental health, language and culture, homelessness, food security, earning opportunities and jobs, entrepreneurship, and business ownership. Additionally, CSKT passed the Cultural Waterways Ordinance (the tribal version of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act) to protect the Flathead River.

Prior to serving on CSKT’s Tribal Council, Shelly worked at the Kicking Horse Job Corps Center for 15 years serving disadvantaged youth ages 16 to 24. During that time, she developed the first School-to-Work program, establishing internships in the surrounding communities where student trainees could get practical work experience in their field. She served as the Career Technical Training Director overseeing the nine vocational training programs prior to her successful election to Council.

Shelly also worked for the U.S. Forest Service in the Region 1 Information Office and the Powell Ranger District while attending University of Montana. After she earned her B.S. in Business Administration-Management she worked at the Clearwater National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Orofino, ID. She served as the Native American Program Manager acting as a tribal liaison between the five Idaho tribes and the U.S. Forest Service. She moved back to the Flathead Reservation to help create the former People’s Center cultural center and museum, now the Three Chiefs Cultural Center.

“Growing up in Arlee, Montana, I always admired those who actively made a difference in our community - I knew from a young age that I wanted to dedicate my life to doing the same thing. I learned from the best mentors how hard work and dedication were needed to make positive change, and I am committed to elevating this region and our state,” Shelly said. “I look forward to serving Montana.”

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