2022 Candidates

John Nielson

John Nielson

Superintendent of Schools

John was born and raised in Havre, Montana. He has an undergraduate degree in American Studies from Carleton College, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Montana, and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Montana State University. John and his partner, Rochelle, live in Bozeman and have two children currently in Bozeman Public Schools. John also works as an educational consultant and as a performance coach. He has been a licensed educator for 23 years and an athletic coach and outdoor instructor for many years before that. John will bring a passion and advocacy for all kids in the county to the superintendency. He has been a public school teacher, a private school teacher, an administrator, and has homeschooled his own kids during the pandemic. He strives to help students find the fun in learning by helping them figure out how they best learn.

John wants to be the Gallatin County Superintendent of Schools because he knows firsthand that education in America is evolving – and John wants to help ensure that evolution is a positive one across Gallatin County. He believes that our kids need as many allies as they can get right now. School and the world is challenging for them in a very different way than it was for their parents. He knows today’s kids need to access both their creativity and activate their problem solving skills – and that students learn best when they are engaged and find joy in learning.

John also knows that teaching is hard, especially now. As a trainer and coach, he has a track record of helping teachers reach kids, be better at what they do and happier doing it. He wants to support all teachers, whether they are a parent teacher, a private school teacher, or a public school teacher. Importantly, John knows how to reach kids, support teachers AND connect with parents as educational partners. He knows that for students to succeed, they need education systems that work for them.

Charli Heavrin

Charli Heavrin

For County Treasurer

Charli Heavrin is a mother of four and the proud wife of a US Army veteran. She has lived in Montana her whole life, and in Gallatin County for over 20 years. Charli attended high school in Montana’s Favorite Small Town, Three Forks. She later attended MSU and studied English Teaching. As a resident of the valley for many years, Charli has seen firsthand the challenges that members of our community face, right alongside the incredible opportunities and privileges that we have at our doorstep. Charli has worked in the County Motor Vehicle offices for the past four years, and has been the manager of those offices for more than a year now. Over that time she has met and worked with people from all walks of life and from every community in the valley. She plans to continue to work with all citizens of Gallatin County with compassion, respect, and excellence in her new role as Treasurer, once elected.

Erin Cox, candidate for County Auditor

Erin Cox

For County Auditor

I live in Bozeman with my seven-year-old daughter. We love this community and strive to be active and contributing members of this exciting and growing landscape.

As current County Auditor, I know the foundational elements of this position. Seeing the coordination of the county offices has given me the insight to what it takes to run an effective and cohesive local government. As elected officials, it is our duty to uphold fiscal integrity while maintaining accountability and transparency.

Eric Semerad

For County Clerk and Recorder

Gallatin County Clerk & Recorder/Surveyor/Election Administrator Eric Semerad is running for re-election.

Eric graduated in 1997 from Montana State University with a degree in earth science. He has worked in the office of the Clerk & Recorder for 32 years and served as the Drafting Technician,Chief Deputy Clerk and Recording Department Supervisor before being elected by Gallatin County voters as Clerk & Recorder in 2018.

Since his election, he has served on the Gallatin County Planning and Zoning board, acting as chair in 2021. Under his leadership both the Recording Office and Election Office continued to operate effectively throughout the pandemic. The Election Department won an honorable mention award for election innovation for the use of satellite offices during 2020 Presidential Election. He is currently serving on the Executive Board for the Montana Association of Clerk and Recorder’s.

Eric is recognized around the State of Montana as an expert in county recording issues and his office is a model for modern and efficient operation for both land records and elections. Eric has many working relationships in his years of service and has proven to be able to work effectively with all who he comes in contact with including federal, state, county and city departments. He is a lifelong public servant who wants nothing more than to best serve the people of Gallatin County by continuing to improve county records accessibility and running secure, efficient and accurate elections. Outstanding public service is and always will be his first priority as Clerk & Recorder.

Jennifer Boyer Headshot

Jennifer Boyer

For County Commissioner

Jennifer is a mom, a facilitator, a wife, a farmer and a volunteer and lives with her family on their farm east of Bozeman. Her experiences have focused on public engagement, building partnerships, and policy development.  She has also served as the strategic facilitator and community engagement leader of a planning effort, bringing together stakeholders from all perspectives to create the Triangle Community Plan and Triangle Trails Plan. Recently approved by the Gallatin County Commission, these plans provide the people of Gallatin Valley an effective roadmap for future development. Jennifer has served on numerous boards and community initiatives including the Gallatin Growth Policy committee, Gallatin County Planning Board and Consolidated Board of Adjustments. With her family, she runs a goat farm, supplying meat to local restaurants and butchers. To learn more, visit www.boyerforgallatin.com

Hear directly from Jennifer at this recording of her speaking at our monthly meeting!

Jim Hamilton, House District 61

Jim Hamilton

For House District 61

2021 Voting Record

100% on environmental issues (Montana Environmental Information Center)

100% on LGBTQ2S+ rights (Forward Montana)

10o% on Native rights and voting rights (Western Native Voice)

Ed Stafman, representative for House District 62

Ed Stafman

For House District 62

In furtherance of his lifelong commitment to public service, Ed Stafman is running for re-election to the Montana House, District 62 (south central Bozeman). In his first term in the legislature, he was the only freshman elected (on a bipartisan vote) to chair a major committee. As Chair of the Health & Human Services Committee, Ed is working on many issues, but especially to address the many needs of Montana’s behavioral health system.

For ten years, Ed served as rabbi in Bozeman (and is now Rabbi Emeritus), and was a civil rights  attorney for 25 years before that. Ed works to bring people together to be stewards of our threatened planet; to create affordable housing and child care; to support good paying jobs and small businesses; for conservation and responsible wildlife management (Ed received a rating of 100% from the Montana Conservation Voters); to achieve tax fairness; to work for excellence in public education, to assure access to health care, and to protect the vulnerable among us. 

Ed has been active in the community for many years, teaching in various settings, working with HRDC, Family Promise, Eagle Mount, and many local conservation, justice, and music and arts groups. He is an avid cyclist, skier, hiker, and dog owner. 

Commenting on the last legislative session, Ed has said “We can leave the culture wars behind us and return to some normalcy, working together on issues that matter most to Montanans. Montana remains a moderate State, and we can reclaim that ground.”

2021 Voting Record

100% on environmental issues (Montana Environmental Information Center)

100% on LGBTQ2S+ rights (Forward Montana)

10o% on Native rights and voting rights (Western Native Voice)



Alice Buckley, candidate for House District 63

Alice Buckley

For House District 63

Alice Buckley serves as a representative in the Montana State House for District 63, which covers MSU and southwest Bozeman. She is running for re-election after her first term in office. Alice’s policy work focuses on childcare and early childhood development policy and preventing sexual and domestic violence. She also works hard to increase transparency and accessibility to politics, particularly with younger voters. When she is not in session, Alice is a professional facilitator.

2021 Voting Record

100% on environmental issues (Montana Environmental Information Center)

100% on LGBTQ2S+ rights (Forward Montana)

10o% on Native rights and voting rights (Western Native Voice)

Alanah Griffith Headshot

Alanah Griffith

For House District 64

I was born and raised in HD 64.  I was lucky enough to be able to move back to Bozeman after law school in 2002 and back to the district in 2013.  We are close to my parents who still live in our family home in Four Corners and are happy that we are raising our son here. My parents instilled in me the importance of serving our community. My father, Gary Griffith, served as the Chair of the Monforton School Board for 30 years.  My mother, Linda Griffith, was involved with Eagle Mount for more than 20 years, 10 of those as Executive Director.  Like my parents, I also have served our community in a variety of ways, both through my work and my volunteer experiences.  I taught debate at Monforton, I am the coach of the Mock Trial Team in Big Sky, served on the boards of nonprofits Reach and Morningstar Learning Center, and volunteered my time at Eagle Mount and the Gallatin Legal Assistance Clinic.

I have been practicing law for almost 20 years.  Most of my practice is dedicated to representing owner’s associations.  I help them with everything from redrafting their governing documents so that their rules actually address the needs of the community, working with government agencies on infrastructure, acting as a mediator between neighbors who may not see eye to eye on a subject and when all else fails, going to court to argue on their behalf, and helping them preserve property values.  Basically, I am like a legislator for my associations.  I work hard to get their needs addressed through changes in their laws and working with various branches of government.  

I hope to take my decades of experience giving my clients a strong voice in their communities and in court and put it to good use representing us in Helena.  I believe together, we can find the common sense solutions to the real challenges facing our state today.


Kelly Kortum, Representative for House District 65

Kelly Kortum

For House District 65

Kelly Kortum grew up in Ekalaka, a small agricultural community in southeastern Montana. After high school, he moved to Bozeman seeking education and a career in technology. Kelly has worked at the Community Food Co-op as a Systems Administrator for more than ten years.

Kortum was elected to represent Montana House District 65 in 2020. In the recent session, he served on three committees: State Administration, Energy, and Local Government, specializing in voting rights and technology.

2021 Voting Record

100% on environmental issues (Montana Environmental Information Center)

100% on LGBTQ2S+ rights (Forward Montana)

10o% on Native rights and voting rights (Western Native Voice)

Eric Matthews Headshot

Eric Matthews

For House District 66

Eric Matthews, a Chief Joseph Middle School teacher and Bozeman native, has filed as a Democratic candidate for the Montana Legislature, representing House District 66 in central Bozeman. Matthews was born in HD 66 and lives in the district. He’s a graduate of Bozeman High School (1992) and an alumnus of Montana State University, earning two degrees from MSU. Matthews has been a teacher for 23 years, tended bar at the Haufbrau for a decade, and is a proud member of our community. Matthews has been an active leader within the school district for more than 20 years, helping to negotiate contracts for educators and facilitating contracts for classified personnel in the district. He has served as the Bozeman Education Association vice president for 6 years and in 2018, joined the board of Montana’s largest workers union, MFPE (Montana Federation of Public Employees) to advocate for working Montanans. In 2021 Matthews was elected to serve as the first vice president of MFPE.

Elizabeth Marum headshot

Elizabeth Marum

For House District 67

Elizabeth Marum is running to represent HD67 which covers Belgrade and east. She has lived in Belgrade for 26 years where she’s served over a decade on the Belgrade City-County Planning Board. As a member of the Gallatin County Planning Coordination Committee, she actively participated in the creation of the Triangle Plan. Her two sons graduated from Belgrade High, and then from MSU and UM. She is past chair of the Gallatin Democrats and a retired member of MFPE.

Joe Hancock Headshot

Joe Hancock

For House District 68

Joe Hancock was raised outside Big Timber by his ranch-hand father. He joined the U.S. Air Force at nineteen and served honorably for over five years. After being discharged in 2008, Joe moved to Gallatin County to attend college. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Construction Engineering Technology and later earned a second degree in Political Science while working full time in the hotel industry. Joe has always been great with people, and now he’s running for office to show that he can be great for them as well.

Rocky Hamilton

For House District 69

Rocky Hamilton, a former police sergeant for the Manhattan Police Department, has filed in order to bring focus back to the issues important to the people who live in House District 69, like public safety and mental health resources. One of the things that he loves about Montanans is that we have always been able to have a conversation and meet in the middle to act on what is best for our state. He loves that we can listen to one another and come up with solutions that work for most. This commonsense approach is how he conducts his public service. A keystone of his campaign, and service if elected to office, will be to remain accessible to constituents. He encourages constituents to call him, text him, email him, or drop a letter in the mail. He wants to hear how he can serve you, and he will get back to you.

Pat Flowers, Senator District 32

Pat Flowers

For Senate District 32

State Senator Pat Flowers spent a career in forestry and fish and wildlife management.  In 2018, he was elected to the Montana State Senate.  In the last two legislative sessions, he served on the Senate Fish and Game Committee, Senate Natural Resources as vice chair in 2021 and on the Senate Finance and Claims Committee.  During the interim between legislative sessions, Senator Flowers is serving on the Legislative Audit Committee, the Environmental Quality Council, the Legislative Council, the Section A Interim Budget Committee and the Forest Land Tax Advisory Committee.  Senator Flowers also served as Minority Whip in the 2021 Legislative Session.  He lives with his wife Melissa in Belgrade and they share four daughters.

2021 Voting Record

100% on environmental issues (Montana Environmental Information Center)

100% on LGBTQ2S+ rights (Forward Montana)

10o% on Native rights and voting rights (Western Native Voice)



Denise Hayman

Sen. Denise Hayman

For Senate District 33

After four terms in the House where she serves as one of four Democratic Minority Whips and on the Energy, Technology and Federal Relations; and State Administration Committees, Hayman is running for Senate. Hayman, a long-time Bozeman School board member, is an advocate for quality public education. She is a strong supporter of public lands and for small businesses.

2021 Voting Record

100% on environmental issues (Montana Environmental Information Center)

100% on LGBTQ2S+ rights (Forward Montana)

10o% on Native rights and voting rights (Western Native Voice)


Damion Lynn Headshot

Damion Lynn

For Senate District 34

My name is Damion Lynn. I am running for Montana State Senate district 34, because my experience as a blue collar worker with difficulties securing affordable housing is common among fellow younger workers in the district. I am passionate about creating new jobs to improve our infrastructure, because, as a water and sewer systems operator, I know the consequences of allowing the systems we rely on to deteriorate. As Belgrade and the surrounding areas grow, we will want to make sure the folks in Helena don’t undermine our policy like they did in the 2021 legislative session. Come this November, vote Lynn for SD-34.


Monica Tranel Headshot

Monica Tranel

For US Congress in MT-1

Monica Tranel was raised with her nine brothers and sisters on a ranch in Eastern Montana, and she always had a job to do: feeding pigs, stacking hay, fixing fences. The strong work ethic Monica learned on the ranch led her to become a world-class rower, competing in two Olympics and winning a World Championship Gold for the United States Women’s Rowing Team.

Monica worked her way through college and law school. She has spent her career fighting for Main Street Montanans, ranchers and landowners. As an attorney, she has taken on some of the biggest corporations in the world and won. Monica stood up to corporate monopolies, and when the monopoly utility tried to saddle Montanans with $10 million dollars in replacement power costs due to their failure to plan, Monica stood up for consumers and kept that money in Montanans’ pockets rather than going to out of state corporations.

Now, Monica is running for Congress because the Montana she grew up in is slipping away. Montana shouldn’t be used as a playground for the rich while folks in the middle can’t get ahead no matter how hard they work.

If you work hard, you should be able to afford a decent place to live, support your family, and save for a secure retirement. In Congress, Monica will invest in the middle class instead of tax giveaways to the super rich. She will work to create a strong labor force and develop more good-paying jobs by leveraging our natural resources — Montana should be a leader in the energy transition. And Monica will take on corporate monopolies that are squeezing our Main Street businesses, ranchers and landowners, and all Montanans.

Monica Tranel lives in Missoula with her husband and three daughters.

Watch the Forward Montana Congressional Candidate in Bozeman

Watch the Farmer’s Union Debate

Gallatin legislators seeking reelection all received 100% scores from environmental, LGBTQ2s+, and Native rights/voting rights organizations. Check out the complete 2021 legislative scorecards from:

Montana Environmental Information Center

Forward Montana

Western Native Voice