2020 Candidates

Zach Brown, current HD63 representative and candidate for Gallatin County Commission

Zach Brown

County Commissioner


As your County Commissioner, I will:

  1. Protect traditional agriculture, our local food system, and open spaces
  2. Promote smart growth and economic development planning
  3. Promote fiscal responsibility and transparency

Candidate Statement

As a candidate for the Gallatin County Commission, I am stepping up to meet our challenges head-on. My call to community service is rooted in a belief that this moment in time demands that we all contribute to serving our fellow citizens. I am running because I love this place and want to play an active, positive role in shaping its future. I will invest my experience and expertise to work for you and all our neighbors. I grew up here. I am a proud product of the Bozeman public school system, and I represented Gallatin County for three terms in the Montana State Legislature where I demonstrated my ability to work across partisan and cultural lines. I spent over five years working at One Montana where we built innovative and collaborative solutions between rural and urban community interests. County government does not just serve rural residents. Citizens who live within our towns and cities pay many county taxes and depend on many county services including protection of our water, public health, and the detention center to name a few. I believe our County Commission must represent all of us. I bring to the table curiosity, compassion, an open mind, and bridge-building skills that will help improve collaboration and inspire people in our county and city government to work together instead of against each other.

Current Occupation and Qualifications

I am a three-term Montana Legislator, representing Southwest Bozeman and the campus of Montana State University in the House of Representatives since 2014. I have served as the minority Vice Chair of the House Taxation and Natural Resources committees, and am currently Chair of the bipartisan Water Policy Interim Committee. At home, I am a nonprofit professional, having worked for One Montana from 2014 – 2019, and am currently working for the Human Resources Development Council. I have previously worked for my family’s Gallatin Valley small construction and retail businesses and spent time as a professional researcher at Georgetown University.

Just for fun – what is your favorite type of pet and why?

Alice and I have two very sweet and strange mixed-breed rescue dogs named Norman and Wanda. They give us lots of joy (and haven’t eaten our chickens yet), so dogs have to top my list.

Sandy Erhardt, candidate for Clerk of District Court

Sandy Erhardt

Clerk of District Court


  • Modernization of Gallatin County’s court system, to include e-filing and the implementation of a digital case management system
  • To provide excellent customer service to the public
  • Ensure access to our judicial system

Candidate Statement

Given the District Court’s caseload and Gallatin County’s growth, a well-functioning District Court is vital to justice in our community. My extensive experience has prepared me for the job and has given me firsthand knowledge of the specific challenges our judicial system faces. Providing excellent customer service, maintaining accurate records efficiently, and ensuring access to our judicial system will be my top priorities as the Clerk of District Court.

Our court system is behind on services that should have been available years ago. As Clerk I will advocate for the modernization of Gallatin County’s court system, to include e-filing and the implementation of a digital case management system – these are imperative in improving efficiency and access of our court system.

Current Occupation and Qualifications

I have worked in the Clerk’s office, serving the people of Gallatin County with integrity and dedication for nineteen years. I have been the Management Supervisor since 2016. My strong work ethic, proven dedication, and nineteen years of experience make me the most capable candidate for the Clerk of Court.

Just for fun – what is your favorite type of pet and why?

I am definitely a dog person and we have the best dog ever, a golden retriever named Frida. She brings so much joy to our family – she is my loyal running partner and my kids’ best friend.

Jim Hamilton, House District 61

Jim Hamilton

House District 61

Do you live in House District 61? Connect with Jim!

Ed Stafman, candidate for House District 62

Ed Stafman

House District 62

Do you live in House District 62?

Goals for position

  1. Protecting public lands and conserving the environment, including through addressing the climate crisis.
  2. Promoting public education from pre-K through University.
  3. Increasing economic justice through a fair minimum wage, affordable health care, and rooting out systemic discrimination against minorities and women.

Candidate statement

I know the value of hard work. I’ve waited tables, worked in retail, and programmed computers. My passion for justice led me to become a civil rights attorney representing victims of discrimination and working people and labor unions, later shifting mainly to criminal defense, often defending those facing the death penalty.

After 25 years of law practice, inspired by Jewish teachings on seeing the unique light in every person, I spent 8 years in rabbinic school, simultaneously pursuing a Ph.D. in Religion. I then served Bozeman as its rabbi for the next decade, and now as Rabbi Emeritus. I’ve been with people at baby namings, marriages, illnesses, and deaths, developing a deep sense of the values we all share as humans.

Interfaith work is a big part of my life. The skills I learned there involve building on commonalities among diverse people, and that will be transferable when working in the legislature. I will be a voice for preserving our precious planet, economic justice, loving our neighbor and the stranger, values which most people share, and we must build on that.

I am married for 36 years with two wonderful adult children. I have been a hospital and hospice chaplain, and have volunteered with many charitable, conservation, justice and music and arts organizations. I’m an avid cyclist, skier, kayaker, hiker, and dog owner.

Just for fun – what is your favorite type of pet and why?

Dog: loyal, loving, playful, partner

Alice Buckley, candidate for House District 63

Alice Buckley

House District 63

Do you live in House District 63


  • Advocate for economic opportunity and equality through a fair tax code that takes the tax burden off property owners; increasing diverse and high-paying jobs; pushing for policies that back Bozeman small businesses, and always supporting Montana’s strong labor movement led by workers.
  • Increase funding and programming for services that support mental and behavioral health; support victims of domestic and sexual violence while preventing future attacks; combating and eventually ending the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic.
  • Support criminal justice reform by funding re-entry or diversion services, investing in community mental health and substance abuse treatment programs and implementing cash bail reform.

Candidate statement

I am running for House District 63 because I am invested in building an equitable, livable, and resilient future for all of us in Bozeman. A future where our community feels safe and well respected is possible: where everyone has access to high-quality public education, affordable housing options, jobs that pay a living wage, and comprehensive, available healthcare. The Bozeman we’re working towards is focused on preventing prejudice and ending racial, sexual, and domestic violence. Well-maintained trails and clean rivers are at the heart of my campaign and the future of Bozeman. That future belongs to all of us. That’s why my campaign is centered on this community: by listening to the priorities, goals, and concerns of the district, we will collaborate to create the changes we all want to see. I hope you will join me in supporting my campaign, I would be honored to serve the people of House District 63.

Current occupation and qualifications

I work for a Bozeman-based company called Profitable Ideas Exchange (PIE). We convene peer communities and facilitate meetings. Prior to working at PIE, my previous experience includes managing a small business, working for a local conservation organization, serving on the Gallatin Watershed Council board, and volunteering with HAVEN. My previous experiences have taught me that listening and collaborating leads to long-term success. I am not only here to advocate for the residents of House District 63; I am here to work alongside and listen to my neighbors and fellow Bozemanites.

Just for fun – what is your favorite type of pet and why?

My husband Zach and I have two shelter pups named Wanda and Norman. They are thick as thieves and we find so much joy and amusement in their antics, loyalty, and love for us and for each other.

Brian Popiel, candidate for House District 64

Brian Popiel

House District 64

Do you live in House District 64?

Sign up to volunteer for Brian’s campaign!

Watch the Candidates & Community conversation with Brian, recorded on August 25, 2020

Goals for Position:

  1. Protect Medicaid expansion in the face of a tight budget
  2. Ensure continued state support of education funding
  3. Protect Montanans’ right to a clean and healthful environment, especially in regard to our access to public lands

Candidate Statement

My name is Brian Popiel, I’m a builder here in the Gallatin Valley, and I’m running for House District 64.  I was motivated to throw my hat in the race because the Gallatin Valley & the state of Montana are at a tipping point.

We’ve had a tremendous run of growth here in the Valley-twice as many people live here as did when I graduated from high school 25 years ago.  On the one hand, that’s great because we have a booming economy, with top-notch public schools, unparalleled recreation opportunities, and a thriving job market.  Our situation is pretty unusual across Montana and most of the Rocky Mountain West.

On the other hand, there are costs-I’m really concerned about the soaring cost of housing, our lagging infrastructure, and dwindling open space.   Additionally, the economic and social crises caused by the Coronavirus pandemic are going to require a reasonable and pragmatic response in Helena to protect our way of life.

My goal is to be that responsible voice in Helena.


I own and operate two small businesses; a construction company focusing on remodeling and repair and a construction debris recycling company.  I’ve been actively involved in local politics for the last decade & will bring a pragmatic approach to dealing with our biggest challenges in Helena.

Just for fun, what is your favorite type of pet and why?

My family owns two dogs, because dogs are Humans’ best friends.


Kelly Kortum, candidate for House District 65

Kelly Kortum

House District 65

Do you live in HD 65?
If so, request a yard sign to show your support for Kelly!

Watch our conversation with Kelly from July 30, 2020


  • Defend and expand healthcare coverage to every Montanan
  • Assure Montanans’ right to vote is protected
  • Encourage forward-thinking economic policy that supports local small business and workers

Candidate statement

To make laws that are equitable for all Montanans, our government must be composed of a representative sample of our state’s inhabitants. The current legislature trends much older and wealthier than the average Montana resident. I will balance the legislature with fresh eyes on policies regarding technology, housing, healthcare, and education. If we wish to remain the ‘Last Best Place,’ we will need to be as innovative and versatile in our government as Montanans are known for being in our daily lives. ‘Business as usual’ hasn’t turned out too great for your typical worker for the last thirty years; I will respectfully point that out, and tirelessly work to change it. I would be honored to receive your vote to represent you.

Current occupation and qualifications

Kelly is a lifelong Montanan and has worked in farming, construction, and fire fighting before committing to a career in technology. He graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from MSU. Kelly is currently an IT System Administrator at the Community Food Co-op, specializing in hardware, networking, and customer support. He has worked in IT at the Co-op for 10 years. Kelly has volunteered in elections and politics for 5 years in Gallatin County and contributed amendments to the Montana Democratic Party’s platform.

Just for fun – what is your favorite type of pet and why?

I refuse to take a stance on dogs VS cats because it is needlessly divisive.

Denise Hayman

Denise Hayman

House District 66

Do you live in House District 66?

Denise Hayman is running for re-election in 2020 for House District 2020

Colette Campbell, candidate for House District 67

Colette Campbell

House District 67

Do you live in House District 67?

Sign up to volunteer for Colette’s campaign!

Watch the Candidates & Community conversation with Colette, recorded on August 23, 2020

Candidate Statement

I fight every day for the shared values of freedom and liberty that unite us as a community stronger than anything dividing us.

If COVID-19 has exposed anything it’s that Montana’s small farms, truck drivers, and many small business profits continue to be devoured by monopolistic middlemen. Wall Street revels in profits siphoned off the demise of main street. Montanans must have living wage jobs and healthcare. Cost of necessities have skyrocketed while wages have barely pushed beyond stagnant for 40 years.

Montana needs to take measures to protect our family farms from the predatory and anti-trust practices of corporate Industrial Ag. Less than 15 cents of 1 food dollar reaches the farmer. More than 50% of family farms have someone working a 2nd job outside of the farm to support paying the bills and to acquire health insurance for the family.

“Charter school” is a slick name for private school, I will fight to ensure Montana taxpayer dollars are not siphoned from our already underfunded public school system to private schools. We CAN do better by every day hard-working folks and a vote for me puts you FIRST in my seat at the Montana Legislature.

Current Occupation and Qualifications

  • 11 year Montana State University Public Employee
  • 5 year Classified Staff Union President
  • 4 year Union Board Representative
  • 1 year MT AFL-CIO Director At Large
  • 12 year Early Childhood Educator
  • 30+ year Gallatin Valley resident
  • Responsible Gun Owner
  • Avid user and proponent of Public Lands

Just for fun – what is your favorite type of pet and why?

When I was nine my father gifted me with a buckskin mustang from Fort Washakie WY.  My life has been incredibly shaped with a good number of amazing animal companions I will never forget, but I miss that old ornery mare the most.

Emily Brosten, Democratic candidate for House District 68

Emily Brosten

House District 68

Do you live in House District 68? Sign up to help Emily’s campaign!


  1. Promote affordable housing and smart growth planning
  2. Protect Montana’s natural resources and rural communities
  3. Support Montana’s workforce through continued job opportunities and access to affordable healthcare

Current Occupation and Qualifications

I work as the Senior Designer for a creative agency called Seacat Creative. We specialize in digital marketing, design, and content creation to solve problems for brands and organizations that occupy the outdoor industry. Prior to working at Seacat, I worked for the Department of Agriculture and managed numerous small businesses. My experiences have taught me the importance and success of using design thinking principles and collaboration to find solutions to tough issues. I am here to serve, listen, and learn for the individuals of House District 68 and my community.

Just for fun, what is your favorite type of pet, and why?

My junior year of college I became a beekeeper to do research for my senior thesis. I had three hives and although I wouldn’t technically call bees “pets” that project was very humbling and rewarding- it gave me a lot of appreciation and respect for those hard-working ladies.

Watch our Candidate & Community conversation with Emily from September 17!

Chris Pope, candidate for House District 65

Chris Pope

Senate District 31

Check to see if you live in Senate District 31!


2-Term Member Montana House of Representatives, Retired CCIM Commercial Realtor


  • Moving the state to a New Energy Economy that addresses climate change, reduces emissions, and creates thousands of well-paying 21st Century jobs
  • Protecting and Promoting Access to Public Lands
  • Expanding Educational and Vocational Opportunity for Montana students with disabilities
  • Providing Property Tax Relief via progressive local option sales tax reform


  • 15 Years as a Main Street Business Leader
  • Past Chair, Bozeman Parking Commission
  • Presented Bozeman “Life is Downtown” achievement award
  • Board Member, Eagle Mount, the Yellowstone Business Partnership
  • Board Treasurer, Montana Conservation Corps

Candidate Statement

Chris Pope is a Bozeman business and community leader who is running as a Democrat for State Senate District to improve the quality of life for working Montanans and their families.

Chris is an advocate for a strong, transparent and efficient state government, and is committed to finding practical solutions to critical issues facing residents and taxpayers working across the aisle to break down the political polarity that has recently undermined the effectiveness of state leadership.

Chris believes that Montana is well-positioned to grow its agricultural, tourism, and high-tech industries, with the objective of creating high-quality, well-paying jobs and expanding markets for value-added Montana goods and services. An essential component of Montana’s future economic success is the continued stewardship of Montana’s environment and wildlife, as is a robust public education system and access to affordable health care.

Chris is a two-term member of the Montana House of Representatives who has extensive private sector experience, not to mention volunteer service in the non-profit and public sectors.

Chris is 67 years old, and lives with his wife, Maddy, in Bozeman. He is an avid amateur photographer and speaks fluent Spanish. He and Maddy have two adult-age children, Jessie and Ben.

Just for fun – what is your favorite type of pet and why?

I am a through-and-through animal lover with a particular and deep fondness for my Golden Retriever, Laramie. It was Laramie who was my companion when I was just 10 and dealing with my father’s sudden departure from our family. Laramie and I became ‘world travelers’ – when my world was the back yard, a dusty dirt road where I learned to ride my bike, and a wonderful small algae pond full of turtles and other mysteries across the street.

Melissa Romano, candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction

Melissa Romano

MT Superintendent of Public Instruction

Tom Woods

Tom Woods

Public Service Commission


  • Educator, Current representative for House District 62

Candidate Statement

As a State Representative, Tom has always stood up for progressive causes in the face of fierce resistance by powerful special interests. When Northwestern Energy tried to hike prices on consumers, Tom introduced legislation to stop them—and won, dealing the utility a rare defeat in the legislature. He took on the hospitals and challenged soaring medical costs that send Montana families into bankruptcy every year. In past sessions, he helped lead the fight for Medicaid expansion, which gave 80,000 Montanans access to affordable healthcare. Tom will resist any attempt to cut the Medicaid program he worked so hard to expand!

Tom got into public service because he understands how working families in Montana struggle to make ends meet. In the past, he’s been a bartender, a musician, and a bellhop. Now he’s a teacher, a husband, and a father to two kids. He will always fight for Montana’s families, no matter what.

Steve Bullock, candidate for US Senate and current MT Governor

Steve Bullock

United States Senate

Steve Bullock is the two-term Governor of Montana. Born and raised in Montana, Steve went to public school and graduated from Helena High School in 1984. Now, Steve and his wife Lisa are raising their own family in Helena, where they live with their three kids: Caroline, Alex, and Cameron.

Steve has spent his life fighting for Montana families to make sure all Montanans have a fair shot at a better future. Before he entered public service, Steve worked as a consumer protection, small business, and labor lawyer and helped lead the fight to raise Montana’s minimum wage. Steve was elected Attorney General and fought the corrupting influence of money in politics by bringing the first legal challenge to the landmark campaign finance case known as Citizens United all the way to the Supreme Court. He also fought to protect access to public lands and streams.

Make your voice heard in support of Steve by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. His team can help you, so click here to sign up.

Request a Yard Sign

Kathleen Williams

Kathleen Williams

United States Representative

Joe Biden, candidate for United States President

Joe Biden

United States President