2024 Candidates

  • Alanah Griffith Headshot

    Alanah Griffith

    for House District 60

  • Alex Colafrancesco

    for House District 68

  • Anja Wookey-Huffman Montana House District 65

    Anja Wookey-Huffman

    for House District 65

  • Becky Edwards for Montana District 61

    Becky Edwards

    for House District 61

  • Ben Alke for Montana Attorney General

    Ben Alke

    for Attorney General

  • Brian Close for Montana House District 65

    Brian Close

    for House District 65

  • Carl Anderson

    for House District 67

  • Cora Neumann

    for Senate District 30

  • Jeremiah Dawson for House District 77

    Jeremiah Dawson

    for House District 77

  • Jesse Mullen

    for Secretary of State

  • Josh Seckinger

    for House District 62

  • Monica Tranel Headshot

    Monica Tranel

    for US House, MT District 1

  • Peter Strand Montana House District 63

    Peter Strand

    for House District 63

  • Ed Stafman, representative for House District 62

    Rep Ed Stafman

    for House District 59

  • Eric Matthews Headshot

    Rep Eric Matthews

    for House District 66

  • Kelly Kortum, Representative for House District 65

    Rep Kelly Kortum

    for House District 64

  • Rio Roland for Montana House District 62

    Rio Roland

    for House District 62

  • Ryan Busse Candidate for Governor

    Ryan Busse/Raph Graybill

    for Governor/Lieutenant Governor

  • Sandy Erhardt, candidate for Clerk of District Court

    Sandy Erhardt

    for Clerk of District Court

  • Scott MacFarlane, Candidate for County Commission

    Scott MacFarlane

    for County Commissioner

Alanah Griffith Headshot

Alanah Griffith

for House District 60

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.

 

Alex Colafrancesco

for House District 68

Alexander is a proud Montanan who served overseas in Syria, fought wildfires, and responded to the January 6th insurrection–all in his capacity as a Montana National Guardsmen. After three years of working in the Montana Legislature as a nonpartisan staff member, he became a first-hand witness to the dysfunction of the current state of Montana politics.

The ostracization of lawmakers who did not conform to the will of the few powerful individuals at the top, attempts to pass laws that infringed on Montana citizens’ rights, and lack of action towards an increasingly urgent housing crisis convinced him to step up. He means to effect change and fight for the residents of District 68–to have affordable housing, secured water for the future, rights without government infringement, and proper representation.

Anja Wookey-Huffman Montana House District 65

Anja Wookey-Huffman

for House District 65

I am a lifelong Montanan, born and raised in Bozeman. I graduated from Montana State University in May 2021 with Sociology and Political Science degrees. Growing up in Bozeman, the child of divorced parents who worked paycheck-to-paycheck, I learned the value of hard work. My family always showed me the value of love, family, and hope. I learned I could achieve anything if I put my mind to it.
Since high school, I have been working in restaurants to fund my way through college and now to make sure the bills are paid. My true passion is to have a meaningful positive impact on my community.

Since high school, I have been working in restaurants to fund my way through college and now to make sure the bills are paid. My true passion is to have a meaningful positive impact on my community.

When we can help each other, we are all better for it. Some days, it is hard to imagine a future beyond my generation, let alone feel like resources are available to put down roots and stay in the community I call home. This community has grown so much, even just in my lifetime. Now, we are at a point where it is hard to deny that so many people in our community are fighting to survive. Whether they are living paycheck to paycheck, losing access to affordable healthcare, being priced out of their home, or simply lacking respect- the list could go on and on. Life does not have to be this hard.

Once we unite around shared experiences and values, we can make a government an institution that provides stability for our communities. That hope is why I have stayed engaged and am now running for the legislature.

I am tired of watching legislators make laws without listening and interacting with the public. Montana has a relatively transparent and accessible legislative process that was designed to allow the public to engage. But legislators still need to listen to the public. Simply being a voter, following what’s happening, and trying to activate my network is not enough anymore. I am running for the state legislature to be a lawmaker who votes with integrity to promote community and sustainability.

Becky Edwards for Montana District 61

Becky Edwards

for House District 61

Becky is a 26-year resident of Bozeman, working mom of three daughters, local small-business owner, and an executive director of a national conservation organization. Vital voices are largely missing from the state legislature–her family struggles with affordability issues and she worries her teenage daughters won’t have access to quality public education or safe healthcare. Edwards made a career of protecting our cherished public lands and climate.

Becky’s Values:

  • Women’s & LGBTQI+ Rights
  • Conservation & Climate
  • Education
  • Affordability

 

 

Ben Alke for Montana Attorney General

Ben Alke

for Attorney General

Ben’s professional career is focused on practicing law in Montana. He is a litigator who has represented individuals and businesses, non-profits and police officers. He has litigated and won cases involving the constitutionality of Montana laws. His work has included fighting to re-open public roads to maintain access to public lands, representing individuals to protect their constitutional rights, representing business in complex disputes, and representing individuals against powerful corporate interests.

Ben’s career is dedicated to the state of Montana and its people. That is why he is running for political office for the first time, to serve as the next Attorney General for the State of Montana. Ben believes strongly in the independence of the court system and that there is no room for politics in the Montana Department of Justice.

Brian Close for Montana House District 65

Brian Close

for House District 65

Brian Close moved to Bozeman in 1994, where he created an independent law office specializing in estate planning and tax law. Over the last 30 years, he has served as Chairman of Galavan, chaired the city task force on transit, pushed through Bozeman’s Smokefree Ordinance, co-wrote the Bozeman City Charter, which includes ethics reform, and chaired the Recreation board that proposed and passed the creation of Bozeman’s park district. A staunch opponent of censorship and advocate for public libraries, Brian served as a Lawyer for Libraries, pro bono, and is a recipient of a special award Intellectual Freedom award made by the Montana Library Association.

In his own words, Brian says on his candidacy, “I am running for the statehouse office after hearing the concerns of my fellow citizens about decisions made at the recent session of the Montana State Legislature. Seniors, in particular, are being devastated by the irresponsible property tax hike pushed through by Republicans in the last legislative session. As a tax attorney and experienced policymaker, I have the skill to fix that.

The state constitution, medical privacy rights, libraries, the LGBTQ+ community, professional credentials, and the Montana Supreme Court are all under attack by Republicans. Meanwhile, our antiquated tax system, state hospital at Warm Springs, mental health infrastructure, and Medicaid wither on the vine dying from lack of attention. We need less culture war and more good government.

As we campaign across the district, I look forward to hearing from the voters and better understanding their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. Government should serve the people. If elected, I will devote my legal expertise and policy-making experience to protect taxpayers, and improve how our government works for all Montanans, especially the most vulnerable among us.”

Carl Anderson

for House District 67

I’m Carl and I’m proud to be running for Montana House District 67 to represent Belgrade in the state legislature.

I was born and raised in a small  Eastern Montana town—for many folks,  just a gas station stop called Forsyth, on the way to North Dakota or the distant mountains of Western Montana.

My dad was a family physician for forty years. Often throughout that time, he was the only doctor in Rosebud County—a vast area encompassing Montana’s fifth-largest county. My mother was an X-ray and laboratory technician working at the Forsyth Hospital where she and dad met. I have 3 brothers; my eldest brother has served in the Coast Guard for 25 years, my elder brother has been a union pipefitter for 20 years, and my younger brother served in the army for four years with two tours in Iraq earning him a Purple Heart.

Through their hard work raising our family and bringing healthcare to one of Montana’s most remote and underserved places, my parents set an example of service—giving to one’s friends, neighbors, and community without expecting anything back. It is out of that legacy of service that I decided to run for the Legislature to represent Montana HD 67.

I’ve called the Gallatin home for 13 years. It’s here that I’ve chosen to build a life with my partner Coleen and our daughter, Krystal, both proud members of the Blackfeet Nation.

We’ve watched with dismay as social media and poisonous political messaging try to tear us apart. We must do better. We must find common ground.

That is why I am running for Montana HD 67. I respectfully ask for your vote. Together, we can forge a new beginning as friends, neighbors, and Montanans.

Cora Neumann

for Senate District 30

Cora Neumann is a rural health and economic development leader with a track record of delivering results for underserved and rural communities, improving access to health care, and protecting our public lands. She’s running for Congress to make sure Montanans have access to good jobs and wages; that our small businesses can succeed; and that families who’ve lived here for years or generations can afford to stay.

To get her education, Cora worked as a waitress, nanny, and construction worker – and still has student debt to this day. Over the past 25 years, Cora has founded and led multiple non-profit organizations that help create jobs, improve child nutrition and mental health services, boost maternal health, and protect our public lands. She has done this work in Montana and across the country and world – working with local leaders, Republicans and Democrats alike, to solve problems that families and workers are facing.

When COVID hit, Cora founded We Are Montana to get personal protective equipment, life-saving information, financial aid, and vaccines out to Montanans so our economy could re-open as quickly and safely as possible. She worked with small business owners to help them keep the lights on, raised money to support rural county commissioners and health workers, and centered her work on delivering tangible results to rural counties.

Since 2015, Neumann has been working across Montana and the Rocky Mountain West to fight for the protection of public lands. As part of that effort, she collaborated with Indigenous communities, farmers and ranchers, and the conservation community to fight back against Washington’s attempt to cut protections for public lands – recently celebrating the restoration of Bears Ears National Monument.

We deserve a leader who understands what Montanans are experiencing and can meet this moment. Someone whose Montana roots and experience delivering for rural communities gives them the backbone to stand up to Washington and protect the Montana we love. And someone who will make sure Montana continues to be a place where our children can grow and thrive. Cora is that leader.

Cora Neumann was raised in Bozeman by her mom, a homemaker, and her step-father, a union carpenter. She and her husband are raising their two teenage children there, surrounded by four generations of family.

Watch the Forward Montana Congressional Candidate in Bozeman

Watch the Farmer’s Union Debate

Jeremiah Dawson for House District 77

Jeremiah Dawson

for House District 77

I look forward to serving and working for my neighbors in HD 77 and all Montanans across the state!

I support

  • Public Lands
  • Healthcare
  • Affordable Housing
  • Small Businesses
  • Equality for All

Jesse Mullen

for Secretary of State

Jesse and his wife, Sasha, live near Deer Lodge with their children, dogs, and horses. Jesse is the father to daughters (Emily, Charlie, Breezy, and Ramona) and son (Leif).

A business owner and entrepreneur, Jesse built Mullen Newspaper Company from two newspapers in Granite and Powell counties to 21 newspapers in six states – nine in Montana alone – over the last six years. Jesse and Sasha also own Browsing Bison Bookstores. Sasha is the office manager of Clark Fork Veterinary Clinic in Powell County.

Jesse creates jobs and invests his time and resources where his heart is, Montana. He worked his way up from paperboy to become a senior executive at one of the largest newspaper companies in the world before returning to his small-town roots and starting Mullen Newspaper Company.

Jesse spent years holding politicians accountable as a journalist and editor before founding his company, now he’s bringing accountability and trust back to the Secretary of State’s office.

Josh Seckinger

for House District 62

Josh Seckinger is a long time Bozeman resident and fly fishing guide. A passionate, pragmatic, progressive, Josh is committed to protecting our public lands, upholding women’s reproductive rights, and strengthening our public school system. Josh is also willing to work with anyone who has a good idea on tax relief, climate change policy, increasing access to health care, or housing availably and affordability. Josh is looking forward to getting to work, for the people who go to work everyday.

Through his frequent travels and love for the outdoors, Josh has gained a deep understanding of Montana and its people. His outgoing and personable nature has allowed him to connect with individuals from all walks of life, giving him a unique perspective on the needs and desires of everyday working Montanans. After years of simply talking, listening, and engaging with the people of Big Sky Country, Josh is convinced that the preservation of Montanan’s way of life is of utmost importance to its residents. He strongly believes that Montanans are dedicated to ensuring that the “last best place” remains just that.

Red Line Issues:

  • Reproductive Rights
  • Public Lands
  • Public Education
  • LGBTQ+ Rights

Pragmatic Issues:

  • Property Tax Relief
  • Fair Share Income Taxation
  • Climate Change Policy
  • Healthcare
  • Local Government Control
  • Housing Availability & Affordability
Monica Tranel Headshot

Monica Tranel

for US House, MT District 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

Peter Strand Montana House District 63

Peter Strand

for House District 63

Peter served Bozeman as a public school teacher for nearly three decades, primarily at Irving Elementary School. In that role, he was named 2007 Montana History Teacher of the Year and 2019 Teacher Fellow with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Also, he worked actively to secure three sizeable grants through the US State Department, bringing to Irving full-time Arabic teachers and programming from overseas. In addition to his teaching role, Peter served as a legislative organizer for MFPE for three years, where he discovered the possibilities afforded by legislative organizing, even when confronting an extremist supermajority. All of these are markers of his commitment to the community.

While acquaintances are sometimes puzzled by Peter’s switch from teaching children to running for office, to him the progression is natural: Schools present arguably the most complex, emotionally charged, high-stakes, unpredictable work environments in the valley. When you can remain productive and successful there, you are well poised to ride the rollercoaster that is our current legislature. Peter has dedicated himself tirelessly to Bozeman families for decades, and now he seeks to give similarly but in a fresh way.

Peter wants to see Montana’s government return to serving the needs of regular Montanans rather than the interests of gargantuan corporations and the hyper-elite. Montana should prioritize expanding access to opportunities for people who can’t pay for them out of pocket: robust public schools for our children, meaningful access to services, affordability and fair taxation, stopping governmental overreach into our private lives, protections, and fair compensation for anyone on the clock, reproductive rights, and access to public lands.

Peter feels lucky to have raised his three now twenty-something children in the Bozeman community with his wife, Cameron Hildreth. You may have seen him walking the streets with one of his better friends, his wheaten terrier, Severus.

Learn more about his campaign at strandformontana.com

Ed Stafman, representative for House District 62

Rep Ed Stafman

for House District 59

In furtherance of his lifelong commitment to public service, Ed Stafman is running for re-election to the Montana House (District 59, south-central Bozeman). 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 10 years, Ed served as a Rabbi in Bozeman (and is now Rabbi Emeritus) and was a civil rights attorney for 25 years. 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. 

 

 

Eric Matthews Headshot

Rep Eric Matthews

for House District 66

Eric has spent years supporting his fellow workers in Montana. He believes in strong wages, health care, education, retirement with dignity, and a fair equitable tax system for all Montanans.

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.

Kelly Kortum, Representative for House District 65

Rep Kelly Kortum

for House District 64

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.

Rio Roland for Montana House District 62

Rio Roland

for House District 62

My name is Rio Wittmayer Roland. I was born and raised in the Turtle Mountains of north-central North Dakota. I have an undergraduate degree at Oregon State University in Bioresource Research and a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Minnesota.

I’ve worked as a land use and environmental planner for Minnesota, and later at an environmental consulting firm focused on hydrologic restoration opportunities and critical trout habitat preservation. I have spent the past 16 years working for renewable energy developers and wind turbine manufacturers.

I also volunteer on the Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority, for state and local Democratic candidates, as an Executive Committee member of the Gallatin County Democrats, and as a commissioner on the Bozeman Citizen’s Transportation Advisory Board.

Oh, I love to fly-fish and have a super cute dog, BeBe, who loves being on the water.

I Am Running Because I Have A Vision For Montana’s Future

  • Affordable Housing
  • Fair Taxation
  • Public Lands
  • Renewable Energy
  • Responsible Growth
  • Personal Freedom
Ryan Busse Candidate for Governor

Ryan Busse/Raph Graybill

for Governor/Lieutenant Governor

Candidate for Governor: Ryan Busse

Ryan grew up on a family cattle ranch and wheat farm, and graduated with 16 kids in a rural public school. He and his wife Sara have raised their two boys in Northwest Montana, hunting, fishing, and respecting the lands, waters and people of the Last Best Place.

For more than 25 years, Ryan was a successful executive who helped build an iconic American gun company from Kalispell. But he also saw how unchecked extremism risks all gun owners’ rights—and how that extremism could take away American freedoms and even jeopardize our democracy.

Ryan is running as an advocate for ALL Montanans and as a champion for our Montana way of life.

Running mate for Lieutenant Governor Raph Graybill

Fighting for the rights and freedoms enshrined in Montana’s Constitution is part of Raph’s personal history. His grandfather chaired Montana’s 1972 Constitutional Convention.

A union-side labor lawyer, Raph represents Montana firefighters fighting for fair pay, Montana nurses fighting for their patients, Montana students and teachers fighting to protect our public education system and election integrity, and for countless other Montanans who need a champion to stand up for our Constitution and against politicians and big government.

As Chief Legal Counsel to Governor Steve Bullock, Raph chaired the Montana State Emergency Response Commission at the Department of Military Affairs. He successfully took on Big Tobacco to prevent the marketing of vaping products to kids. And he argued and won the case before the Montana Supreme Court that saved Habitat Montana, Montana’s flagship public lands conservation initiative.

Raph now works with his uncle in the same small, family law practice Raph’s great-grandfather started in Belt, Montana, 104 years ago.

Born and raised in Great Falls, Raph served four years with the New York City Police Department as an Auxiliary Police Officer, patrolling the streets of Harlem in the 26th Precinct of New York City. In law school, he prosecuted terrorism suspects held in Guantanamo Bay.

Raph was the 2020 Democratic nominee for Montana Attorney General.

Sandy Erhardt, candidate for Clerk of District Court

Sandy Erhardt

for Clerk of District Court

Goals

  • 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, including 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.

Scott MacFarlane, Candidate for County Commission

Scott MacFarlane

for County Commissioner

Goals

  • The Gallatin County Commission needs to do more to recruit and retain valuable public safety employees
  • Updating and expanding the county’s law and justice facility is a top priority. The safe, efficient, and effective operation of the courts and sheriff’s office is not possible at the current facility.
  • Affordable housing to support the region’s workforce

Qualifications

  • Manage multi-million dollar school construction projects and all district facilities personnel and funding as Belgrade Public Schools Facilities Director

Candidate Statement

“Gallatin County has recently found itself on the world stage as a top destination to live, learn, invest, start-up, or relocate a business. Long term residents have come to understand this growth is a permanent reality, and know it will only speed up.

“Gallatin County has a small army of dedicated people looking out for our communities and environment with five incorporated municipalities, multiple unincorporated communities, and additional leadership groups such as school boards, water boards, fire boards, lands boards, and irrigation boards.  I witness the accelerating growth in Gallatin County cause strain among the numerous management groups in our area. These organizations each have their own responsibilities to plan for our future, and all these plans risk failure without respectful collaboration, communication, and partnership.

“Serving at-large, the County Commissioners represent EVERYONE in our County. I am resolved the County Commission holds the greatest responsibility in the success of these partnerships.

“Gallatin County is made up of hard-working citizens with brilliant minds.  When we work together, there is no problem too large to tackle. I will be a Commissioner who collaborates and builds partnerships. I am completely dedicated to the success of our future. Together we can ensure Gallatin County plans its future responsibly in a way that benefits everyone.”