Montana voters in state and overseas are scheduled to fill out their ballots between April 17 and June 2 to decide on Democratic and Republican candidates for Montana and national offices. A lot is at stake — the Governorship, Attorney General and Secretary of State, U.S. Senate and House seats, and the Presidency itself. Locally, residents will determine their parties nominees for state Senate District 38 and House District 75. The Monitor asked each of the six candidates to supply a short biography and a statement that addressed their positions on key issues and their reasons for seeking election. Their responses have, in some cases, been edited for length and/or clarity.
Senate District 38
EDITH (EDIE) MCCLAFFERTY
Democrat, Butte (incumbent)
Most people call me Edie. I was born and raised in Butte and attended local schools. I graduated from the University of Montana-Western with a B.S. in elementary education and graduated from Montana State University with a masters in Educational Leadership. I currently teach at Hillcrest Elementary School in Butte. My husband Danny and I have been married for 32 years. We have three children, and seven grandchildren. I was elected to the Butte-Silver Bow Council of Commissioners 1993-2001. I served in the Montana House of Representatives during the 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015 sessions. During the 2013 session I served as minority whip. I am currently running for Senate District 38, a position that I have had the honor to serve for the past 4 years.
Our current Medicaid program has helped 100,000 Montana citizens receive quality health care. Keeping the Medicaid expansion program is critical to people in Montana. I will oppose any legislation that would end coverage for any preexisting conditions. Keeping families healthy is a basic need that all Montanans deserve. I will continue support and advocate for mental health services. Supporting families, women and children will be a priority for me.
As a classroom teacher and strong advocate for education, I will continue to fight for a quality public education for our children. I believe that our children are our greatest assets and we must provide them with a good quality education. Therefore, I will support legislation that offers publicly funded pre-K education to our children, to ensure that children enter school ready to learn. I will oppose all efforts to divert public resources to for-profit education programs. I will work with the different school organizations to find ways to solve the teacher shortages we face in many of our communities today. Education is the key to our children’s success and I will do all I can to preserve and protect it.
I will continue to support small businesses, veterans, and entrepreneurs. Helping businesses grow while helping workers increase their wages. Businesses cannot grow if there is not a trained workforce. The Montana University System 2-Year Commission has been working with legislators, business owners and two-year colleges to expand apprentice opportunities to workers and high school students. We are looking to increase apprenticeship programs to fill labor shortages, especially in rural areas or high-skill trade professions.
I am committed to protecting our Montana heritage and preserving public lands access to our hunters, anglers, and recreationists. Montana is for all of us to enjoy. Not only protecting our public lands for all to use but, protecting our rivers and streams so they remain clean guaranteeing that our communities have high quality drinking water. We need to protect our little part of heaven. Many issues are arising with climate change and we must do what we can to reduce greenhouse gas. Nothing can be accomplished without the help of one another. I have a good working relationship with members of both sides of the aisle, together we can continue to work for the benefit of the people of Montana.
Putting all politics aside, I would like to wish everyone well. We are facing some very difficult times and we need to support one another. Small acts such as watching over our neighbors, family and friends will get all through this. Take care and stay healthy.
I’m a 30-year resident of Whitehall. I was born at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Apr 15, 1955. When I was nine, my mom and dad divorced. My mom, brother and I wound up in Colorado. With that divorce, we went from middle-class to poor within months. Mom worked a variety of jobs. We eventually landed in Eagle, Colorado. I went into the Coast Guard at 18. My first duty station was a 44-foot motor lifeboat in Auke Bay, Alaska where I did search and rescue. I trained as a Machinist Tech (boat mechanic).
After the Coast Guard, I moved to Seattle. While there, I got married and had a son. We moved to Ventura, Calif. We lost our son in a fire there. We moved back to Seattle had another son. We moved to West Yellowstone. We divorced. Then I moved to Whitehall and have been here for 30 years. I am retired from building maintenance/remodeling, although I still take care of the Cardwell school. I got remarried to Kerry McGlynn and helped her raise two wonderful daughters. Kerry retired after 33 years due to health issues. I have three grandsons in Minnesota.
Over the years, I have noticed a decline in Civics and American History education. I feel these subjects are important to understanding who America is, where America came from and what America has meant to the world. I also want to make sure that shop, music and art remains available.
In the past, there have been instances of ‘irregularities’ at the ballot. I had a nursing home director tell me that mail-in ballots were simply delivered to him to do as he wishes. Voter harvesting should be illegal. Mail-in ballots should either be mailed in or dropped at a designated box. Strict control must be maintained at polling stations and during the count. This has not always been the case. Universities have a flowing population that votes and yet they do not live here.
Sanctuary cities/counties/states hide criminals. Illegal immigration is just that. Border control is a must. I would be more than happy to expand on that. Any city/county/state that allows non-citizens to vote needs to be removed from federal funding and voter rolls.
Taxes: With the increases seen in property tax, it’s time to get creative to reduce the burden on property owners. We have an abundance of natural resources to use: petroleum, natural gas, talc, phosphate, vermiculite, copper, platinum, sapphires’ garnets and of course timber. Let’s put them to use responsibly. The lottery was meant to help education. Gambling was meant for infrastructure. Why did that change?
Religious freedoms: I have watched across the United States as religion has come under attack for the most idiotic things. Time to stop it. Keeping religion and the government separate was not intended to silence religion in schools or prohibit displays on federal lands.
Freedom of speech on campuses for some reason has become an issue. Maybe it’s because of a lack of education in civics and American history?
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Compact needs to be recalled from Washington and revisited. Water rights is a basic right for every person.
Currently abortion is being used as a form of birth control. Birth control starts in the bedroom, not as an afterthought. This is a human being. Federal funding of abortion is my tax money killing a viable human being. The argument that the tax money is not used directly for abortion, is a fallacy. Any money going to a provider frees up money to pay for abortion.
Born a not-expected-to-live preemie in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, I grew up missing more elementary school days than attending. Repeatedly warned I might be deficient in many ways, I developed resilience and tenacity to pursue opportunities and overcome challenges. The library was transformative; caring school teachers provided lesson plans to keep up; and a wonderful family physician supported growing until I was ready to soar in high school.
I studied sociology and history at Carroll University, Waukesha, Wis., working one summer at Jane Addams Hull House and another at Boys and Girls Club in Chicago. Later, working in Chicago’s welfare department to save money for graduate school, I was co-coordinator of Chicago March on Washington. With a M.S. in organization and public policy from Columbia University and Syracuse University’s Falk College, I was Planning-Allocations director for United Way of Central NY in Syracuse and later executive director of the Council on Child Abuse and Neglect in Columbia, SC.
By 1982, my parents wished to move west and I was ready to find outstanding small-town USA in which to work and retire. Clancy in “the last best place” was it! I was blessed to enjoy hunting, fishing and recreating while working at Campfire, Montana Legislative Fiscal Division and the Governor’s Office of Budget and Program Planning as assistant budget director until retiring in 2004.
A Clancy United Methodist Church member, I have held many church leadership roles. After serving on the United Way Lewis & Clark County area Allocations Committee and Board of Trustees, I was elected North Jefferson County Library District Board chair and recognized by Montana Library Association as 2019 Jane Lopp Trustee.
My first goal as state Senator will be to support jobs and greater opportunities in agriculture, mining, timber, natural resources and among innovative entrepreneurs so that residents may successfully stay here. There are barriers and regulations to be eliminated and procedures to be streamlined. As we recover from the COVID-19 damage to our economy, I would support using a portion of state revenue growth to reduce residential property taxes and to increase k-12 teacher salaries, separate and apart from the current budget process.
Second, I will work to preserve and strengthen Montana families and communities, which are under incredible pressures from a changing economy, closure of churches, schools, services and businesses, deterioration of traditional values, increasing drug use and loss of purpose among too many young people.
As one who has enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping and recreating in Montana, I am a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, public lands, parks and access sites, with management of natural resources for the benefit of both businesses and residents, and insistence upon good stewardship and conservation.
State budget and policy issues are organized under six categories: Education, General Government, Health & Human Services, Long-Range Planning, Natural Resources & Transportation, and Judicial, Law Enforcement & Justice. Having worked in each one of them, I would be prepared to serve you starting on Day 1 and honored to be a member of Senate Finance and Claims Committee. About 3,300 bills were drafted last session and 1,309 were introduced and considered by a committee to address the myriad of issues deemed priorities by the Governor, Legislators and Citizens.
I know that my years of education, government experience and living life to its fullest can contribute to legislation and decision-making that will support expanding foundational principles of freedom, knowledge and justice which undergird our families and communities. Equal health care and equal housing are not unalienable rights. Representatives voting to take more money out of your pocket and my pocket to give free stuff to others for equality does not work. Venezuela’s descent from a wealthy productive country into poverty and chaos is only the most recent example of such failure.
It would be my honor to serve as your state senator. I will appreciate your consideration and concerns. Grace, peace, and joy in it all.
House District 75
Republican, Jefferson City (incumbent)
I was born and raised in Michigan. I was not the son of a Saginaw fisherman, nor did I live near Saginaw Bay. We moved out here in 2002 to Manhattan, Montana, with our five children and had our last child a year later. I am a servant of Christ. A painter by trade. A husband of one. A father of six. A grandfather of seven. A lover of free markets, free people, and free speech. The right to life, liberty, and property begins at conception and is preserved by the right to keep and bear arms sufficient for that task. This shall not be called into question.
Government is established by God, it is not a god itself. Thus, the state is under God, as we say in our pledge, and should submit to God’s rules. In doing this, liberty is preserved for all its citizens. True liberty is a distinctly Christian idea. All other belief systems not mimicking Christianity lead to tyranny as a result of apathy or anarchy. If an individual cannot govern himself, someone else will. Today, too many people cannot govern themselves and end up being governed by others. The state enacts more and more laws upon the entirety of society in an effort to govern those who cannot govern themselves. In order to be free from chaos in our communities and an overbearing state, citizens need to self-govern. The Holy Spirit in Christianity enables self-government. That is why there is liberty in truly Christian societies.
The solution to our issues is Christ in the church. Our problems are spiritual, and what we see in society are the fruits. It was stated in Judiciary by our chairman that we, in the laws we pass, are building taller walls to restrict the criminals. He added that, unfortunately, the criminals simply keep building taller ladders. No amount of laws can alleviate the ills of a society which turns its back on God. The Montana Code Annotated is several large volumes thick. It seems after the first several thousand pages, we would realize, “Wait. This isn’t working. We’re worse off now than when the Code was half this size.” Clearly our problem is not lack of legislation. Our problem is not lack of funding. We’ve an overabundance of funding. Our problem is not lack of education. It is not low self-Image, or discrimination, or oppression, or past offenses, or lack of privilege. Our problem is us and society’s general lack of ability to govern ourselves.
Free people, in free markets, living free under a limited government. As a Representative I ask myself these questions about each bill before me: Does it square with God’s law? Does it preserve freedom or trample it? Does it cut taxes or “appropriate” more money? With this simple grid most bills are easily judged. Others take a bit more head scratching and prayer, but I always seek to preserve the freedom of this Last Best Place. God bless Montana and the USA.
Republican, Montana City
I was born and raised in Deer Lodge, Montana, the youngest of six children to Dr. Francis and Rosemarie Bertoglio. Upon graduation from Powell County High School, I attended and graduated from the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. I then served the next 12 years as a Space Operations officer on active duty and the reserves, where I had the opportunity to hone my leadership skills while stationed in Massachusetts, Colorado and Germany.
In 1997, I married a fellow Academy graduate, Lt. Colonel Joe Chapman, and we were blessed with two children, Marrin and Cecelia “Celi.” No matter where I lived, my love for Montana and its people never subsided. When Joe retired from the Air Force, we moved to Montana City in 2007 to work, raise our daughters and assist my aging parents. When the girls were younger, I volunteered in their classrooms, the PTA, as a youth sports coach, a religious education teacher and ultimately as a trustee on the Montana City School Board, where I am currently serving my third term.
In 2014, I received my real estate license and in 2016 opened Uncommon Ground, sharing ownership with four amazing business women.
Navigating the health and economic issues surrounding the devastating impacts of COVID-19 should be our immediate focus. We all need to do our part and support one another. Regarding health care, we need to take note of the recommendations on social distancing, washing hands, and frequently cleaning surfaces to assist our health care professionals stymie the virus’ rapid spread.
In the short term, I believe government at all levels needs to evaluate regulations that can be relaxed to allow our most impacted industries to have a fighting chance to recover.
As a small business owner, mother, military officer, and chair of the Montana City School Board, my main areas of focus will be economic development, quality education, access to health care and veteran services.
I am running as a principled fiscal conservative with a focus on expanding upon the good paying jobs in our District. We are blessed and unique to have a District that perhaps has more industry sectors present than just about any other county — wood products, healthcare, mining, manufacturing, agriculture, hospitality, construction, small businesses and professional services.
I view education as the great equalizer in our society, giving every student an opportunity to excel and grow. I tend to be a local-control person because the best decisions are usually made by those closest to the boots on the ground. I support the ability of students to obtain college credit or trades certificates while in high school. I think it is important that our higher education system caters to a curriculum that best prepares our youth to have access to good paying jobs when they graduate.
I am pro-2nd Amendment, pro-life and against unwarranted tax increases. Government needs to be efficient and effective. I am a states’ rights advocate, especially when it comes to controlling industry sectors that drive Montana’s economy.
I learned about hard work and duty watching my parents serve their small community, and I carried on that service when I attended the Air Force Academy and served our country for over 16 years. Service before self has been a guiding principle in my life, and I want to continue to serve my friends and neighbors in the Montana Legislature. Service is what I do. It is who I am. I care about this District and its people. Lastly, I hope to bring some civility to the public policy arena.
I grew up in on a farm in the Mission Valley, north of Missoula. My grandparents were immigrants and left the mines in Butte to farm. I am one of nine children. My parents taught us to work hard and get a good education.
After graduating from Carroll College, I attended law school in Washington DC. In 1973, I moved to Seattle, practiced law, and owned several small businesses.
In 2000, I moved back to Montana to be near my twin brother George, a resident at the Montana Developmental Center in Boulder. I worked closely with MDC staff and served on their Human Rights Committee. I opened the High Note Café in Basin. In 2007, I was hired as a mediator for the Montana Department of Labor. In this capacity, I traveled around the state helping individuals and business avoid expensive litigation and find workable solutions. Since retiring in 2015, I work actively with my community as a trustee with the Jefferson High School Board, a member of the Boulder Development Fund Board, and Boulder Transition Advisory Committee.
I look forward to using my mediation and legal skills, and my commitment to community, to serve the needs of Jefferson County in the legislature.
I am proud to be running to represent Jefferson County. I love this county and our local communities. Jefferson County is big and wild, open and generous. Outdoor recreational activities, farm and ranch living, volunteerism, and community values define us. As a candidate for HD75, I welcome the opportunity to hear from all of you.
I am running because Mr. DeVries has made it abundantly clear that he is not interested in representing his constituents; rather he wants to use his office to further his own ideological agenda—one that opposes public education, expanded health care, and women’s choice.
Some people dismiss the importance of government and are critical of the essential services that public employees provide. I am not one of them. Government provides valuable resources to communities, businesses, families, and individuals. In this troubling time of COVID-19, it is vital that all levels of government work together to keep our citizens safe.
My primary issues are supporting quality public education helping our communities get the state resources they need to thrive working with state and local governments to increase employment and housing opportunities ensuring that we have free and fair elections
Public schools are the heart of our communities. As an elected member of the Jefferson High School Board, I proudly support our great schools, teachers and students. I will work tirelessly in the legislature to ensure they have what they need to succeed.
We face a financial crisis in Montana. As a mediator, I work with people in crisis. I will work in the same way to balance our state budget and fund infrastructure, schools, and essential services.
I have deep ties with the Montana Developmental Center. When the legislature closed MDC, I was appointed to the Boulder Development Fund Board, where I volunteer my help as our community decides how to move forward.
Dark money hurts our democracy. Millions of dollars are spent on negative attack ads, and no one knows who pays for them. I support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
We can change our government for the better, but we can only do so by working together across partisan lines. As a mediator, I’ve watched parties come to the table thinking a solution was unimaginable. And I have seen that, when folks are committed to the process, solutions are indeed possible.