2018 Candidates for State Office

Rex Renk

Rex Renk

Clerk of the Supreme Court

For over 23 years, Rex Renk has served as Deputy Clerk of the Supreme Court of Montana, and was first appointed to the position in 1991 by current Clerk of the Supreme Court, Ed Smith. During that time, Rex has led a dramatic modernization in the Clerk’s office – improving the public’s access to court records by implementing new common-sense systems that save time, saves taxpayer money, and increase efficiency.

In the Clerk’s office, experience matters. Rex’s record includes the establishment of the Montana Supreme Court’s first ever case management system, the digitization of all Montana Supreme Court case pleadings, and the creation of a public view court docket. Most recently, Rex directed the implementation of statewide E-filing at the Montana Supreme Court – the first state court in Montana to do so.

Growing up the youngest in a family of fourteen children, Rex learned the importance of sacrifice, tolerance, hard work, and humor in getting things accomplished through collaborative effort with others. He is a graduate of Carroll College in Helena, and holds a Master’s Degree from Washington State University. Rex and his wife Angela are blessed with two children, Natalie age 14, and Mitchell, age 12. And like so many Montanans, Rex loves spending time in the outdoors – whether it’s camping with family, fishing for trout, or hunting birds with friends.

Rex is an active member of the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks (NCACC), where he served as a member of the Executive Committee from 2008-2010 and most recently was chair of the Program Committee at the Forty-Fourth Annual Meeting of the NCACC in August 2017.

Jim Hamilton

House District 61

Jim is the current representative for House District 61.

Tom Woods

Tom Woods

House District 62

Occupation

Currently serving as the representative for House District 62

Goals

  • Protecting Students from Debt
    When he was a teacher at MSU, Tom saw first hand how many students graduate tens of thousands of dollars in debt. As a member of the Education Joint Finance Committee, Tom fought hard to keep tuition low. He will continue to do that as well as fund K-12 education.

    Tom will always fight for Montana’s students and teachers. He worked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to pass a landmark bill endorsed by MEA-MFT to fix teacher pensions while warding off attempts by conservatives to gut these essential retirement plans. Over the past school year, he has worked with special needs kids in our schools and will fight for the programs these families rely on.

  • Ending Corporate Influence in Government
    Corporations have a right to make a profit, but they shouldn’t have the right to make laws. Tom will continue to successfully fight dark money in Montana politics. He will also continue to fight the corporate lobbyists in Helena!

  • Fix Healthcare Now
    Tens of thousands of Montanans still lack insurance, and millions of Americans struggle to pay their rising premiums. Meanwhile, one-in-four Montanans rely on Medicaid to provide their healthcare. Tom will vigorously resist attempts by Republicans to undermine this vital program.

    During the last session, Tom wrote and sponsored innovative legislation to impose price controls on hospitals. He also brought bills that exposed the exorbitant salaries some hospitals pay their administrators. Tom is on OUR side.
  • Investing in Indian Country
    Native families in Indian Country face a number of challenges, including sub-standard housing conditions, high unemployment, and a chronically underfunded Indian Health Service. We must do better. Tom has vigorously fought for Indian cultural preservation programs and will lead the fight to ensure these communities receive their fair share of state dollars.

Qualifications

  • 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 families, no matter what.

Zach Brown

Zach Brown

House District 63

Occupation

  • Program Manager for One Montana (onemontana.org)
  • Representative, Montana House District 63.

Goals:

  • Education:
    Advocate for investing in public education. supporting higher pay for teachers and professors, expanded early childhood education, and increased investment in our higher education system.
  • Energy Efficiency:
    Make public facilities more energy efficient to save the public money and resources. Advocates energy conservation as smart investments that improve our public buildings and can reap returns – for taxpayers, fiscal conservatives, and conservationists alike.
  • Health Care/Insure Montana: Supports efforts to revise and continue the “Insure Montana” program, which provides incentives for small businesses to continue to offer health insurance to their employees.
  • Health Care/Medicaid Expansion: Promote equal access to health care and preventative services for everyone including low income families. Expand Medicaid in Montana to provide health insurance to folks living far below the poverty line, struggling to make ends meet.
  • Health Care/Military Discount: Supports proposed legislation that would allow property and casualty insurance companies to offer consumers discounts based on military or veteran status, similar to “good driver” discounts.
  • Public Access and Outdoor Recreation:
    Advocate for every Montanan’s constitutional right to a “clean and healthful environment,” and I will fight for sportsmen and women’s ability to access public lands.
    Opposed to the Republican-led proposal to transfer federal public to state ownership. “Our state and federal agencies have a cooperative management relationship that spans decades or hard work and collaboration. This underhanded proposal is not about “better management” as transfer proponents will have you believe; it’s about opening up our public lands to extensive leasing to resource extraction corporations from out-of-state. I will not stand for it.”
  • Small Business
    Promote a clean, fair, and competitive tax code in support of small businesses and the jobs they create.
  • Women’s Rights
    “EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK”
    Supports wage equality in support of Governor Bullock’s “Equal Pay for Equal Work” task force initiative.

    SUPPORTING WOMEN’S RIGHT TO PRIVACY AND HEALTH CARE
    Advocate for women’s health, and access to family planning services crucial to the health of women and their families. Protection for a woman’s right to privacy and health care. Believe that women’s health care decisions should not be legislated.

Qualifications

Personal:

Truman Albright Fellow., Washington, DC. Research, trade policy for the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. immigration policy for the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University, Associate for MT Senator Max Baucus.

Legislative:

Montana legislative committee assignments: Taxation, Natural Resources, Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and the Water Policy Interim Committee. Appointed me to the Private Lands Public Wildlife Council, 2016, 2018. Vice-Chair of the Water Policy Interim Committee, Vice Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Co-Chair of the MT Legislative Sportsman’s Caucus.

Candidate Statement

“Montana will always be my home – I love this place deeply and believe in the future of our community and state.

“I would be honored to have your support as I seek my third term serving Montana’s House District 63. As one of Montana’s youngest legislators, I strive to be an effective policy maker who works within my own team and across the aisle to push my district’s issues forward and achieve results. I work hard every day to serve ALL of my constituents with integrity and treat all of my colleagues in the legislature with respect.

“I believe that the results speak for themselves: in two terms, I have been able to pass 11 separate bills into law. These reforms have dealt with issues ranging from insurance company regulation, to watershed protection, criminal justice reform, energy efficiency, and beyond. And in a few cases, I am equally proud of my legislation proposals that have failed, such as those dealing with opioid prescription abuse and student debt reforms.

“On this foundation, I am ready to continue my service to the people in my district and across Montana.”

Denise Albrecht, candidate for House District 64

Denise Albrecht

House District 64

Occupation

  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • Former Head Coach, Women’s Tennis Team, Montana State University

Goals

  • Protect Public Lands and Rivers
    Supports keeping public lands in public hands and for public access to those lands thereby ensuring quality recreational opportunities for all Montanans.
  • Improving Healthcare
    Advocates for access to affordable healthcare, including basic health services as well as treatment for those with mental health and drug addiction issues.
  • Building Infrastructure
    Advocates for strengthening local infrastructure including roads, bridges, fresh water and wastewater systems critical for the health, safety, and prosperity of society.
  • Growing Small Business
    Supports State government role in supporting the business community by educating the workforce of the future, assisting with development of new markets, and providing conditions that are conducive to entrepreneurial activity.
  • Public Education
    Supports investing in communities by ensuring teachers, students, and parents have the resources necessary to make our children successful.

Qualifications

  • Montana native, long-time Gallatin County resident.
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker and successful collegiate tennis coach.

Candidate Statement

“I recently heard U.S. Senator Kamala Harris make this statement: “Democracy is not a spectator sport. Change happens when we step off the sidelines and get involved.”  It really got me thinking. She is saying that if you are unhappy with the way things are going on the national, state or local level then get in the game and work toward making a difference.

“Democracy is an amazing privilege we have in America. In this country, if you feel things need to change, you can run for office and let the public decide. During my career, I have always advocated for individuals, families, and children. Ultimately, that is what a legislator does – representing and advocating for people and the community.

“Gallatin County and House District 64 are growing rapidly. Mindful growth, reliable infrastructure, and balanced public-land use are important issues facing the district. I also want to ensure that housing and basic healthcare are attainable for all Montanans.

“Given the opportunity, I will work diligently to represent an ever-changing district,” Albrecht stated. “In talking with many residents of Gallatin County, they tell me they are ready and looking for change.”

Chris Pope, candidate for House District 65

Chris Pope

House District 65

Occupation

Licensed commercial real estate, Certified Commercial Investment Member [CCIM]

Goals

  • Economy & Small Business
    Advocates State’s responsibility to develop a future workforce, assisting with new market development, and helping create conditions for entrepreneurial activity in the state. Supports increasing Montana’s share of new and emerging markets, and State government’s role in helping businesses transition to best practices of sustainability, technology transfer and industry collaboration.
  • Pulblic Lands & Environment
    Advocate for access to public lands, clean air and water, a serious pragmatic approach to addressing climate change, and leadership in energy conservation and renewable energy development

Qualifications

  • Chair, Bozeman Parking Commission
  • Presented Bozeman “Life is Downtown” achievement award
  • Board Member, Eagle Mount, the Yellowstone Business Partnership
  • Board Treasurer for the Montana Conservation Corps

Candidate Statement

Chris Pope is a Bozeman business and community leader who is running as a Democrat for State House District 65 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 an 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 affordable health care.

Chris enters his third run for public office with extensive private sector experience, not to mention volunteer service in the non-profit and public sectors.

During the 64th Legislature, Chris was an advocate for clean energy, investment in critical state infrastructure, and expanded opportunity for students with disabilities. He served on the Business and Labor, Local Government, and Federal Relations, Energy and Telecommunications committees.

Chris and his wife, Maddy, relocated to Bozeman in 1991 from Washington, DC, where Chris worked in the high-tech energy sector as a marketing manager for Amoco Corporation’s solar electric energy subsidiary. Upon arriving in Bozeman, Chris and Maddy started The Great Rocky Mountain Toy Company, an educational toy store located on Main Street in Bozeman’s historic business district. The Popes sold the business in 2005, after growing the business to four store locations.

Chris additionally holds a Certified Commercial Investment Member [CCIM] designation as a licensed commercial real estate agent with NAI Landmark in Bozeman, where he has worked for 10 years.

Chris is active in service to the Bozeman community, having served on various City advisory groups during the 15-year renovation of the Historic Downtown Business District. He chaired the Bozeman Parking Commission for 12 years, during which time the City successfully built a $12 million parking facility downtown. He was presented with the city’s Life is Downtown achievement award in 2011.

Chris has served on the boards of Eagle Mount, the Yellowstone Business Partnership, and is currently Board Treasurer for the Montana Conservation Corps. He is a 17-year member of the Bozeman Noon Rotary.

Chris has a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish Literature from the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR [1975], and a Masters in Public and Private Management from the School of Management, Yale University, New Haven, CT [1988].

Chris is 65 years old, and lives with his wife, Maddy, in Bozeman. They have two adult-age children, Jessie and Ben.

Denise Hayman

Denise Hayman

House District 66

Denise currently serves as the representative for House District 66.

Kris Menicucci, candidate for House District 67

Kris Menicucci

House District 67

Committed to OUR Community

I was born and raised in Butte, a fourth generation Montanan. I graduated from Butte High School and went on to earn a BA in History from Montana Tech. I then received Elementary Education Certification from Montana State University and began my career in education, teaching Reading and Math under Title I in Anaconda and Title IV in Polson. My family moved to Belgrade in 1990 and shortly after, I began my 20-year tenure at Belgrade Intermediate School.

After retirement and the death of my husband, I began my career in public service. In 2013 I was elected to represent Ward 2 on the Belgrade City Council, an office to which I recently have been reelected. I served on the Belgrade Community Library Board of Trustees for four years, three of which I served as Vice-Chair.

I am a member of the Belgrade Community Library Foundation and its Capital Campaign Committee. I represent Belgrade on the Planning Coordinating Committee in which Belgrade, Bozeman and Gallatin County work together in formulating future growth policies; I was recently appointed to represent the City of Belgrade on the Gallatin Local Water Quality District Board. As a council member I serve on the City of Belgrade’s Revolving Loan Advisory Committee and the Revolving Loan Fund Board. I am a member of the Montana Retired Educators Association and the MEA/MFT. I have been a member of Holy Rosary choir for more than four years. My son, Joseph, and his wife, Penny, also live in Belgrade and we enjoy fishing, camping, and traveling.

Learn more about Kris and her positions on key issues

Seth Mangini, candidate for House District 68

Seth Mangini

House District 68

Seth has been in love with the west for most of his life.  His father, Keith is a geologist and his mother Sue, a nurse.  They enrolled him in the Boy Scouts from a young age and he learned the values of service to one’s community and nation.

He attained the rank of Eagle Scout, which taught him two things.  First, that a person must work hard and be responsible.  Second that no one does it alone.  He could never have done it without the help and support of his family and fellow troop members.

Seth went on to work for the Boy Scouts at the world famous Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, NM.  While in college, he worked three summers as a rifle instructor and fur trade and Civil War reenactor.  After graduating, he worked in the Philmont Conservation Department where he lead a team of seven conservation crews who conducted projects in trail construction, forest restoration, invasive species control, and stream restoration.  He helped create a Noxious Weed Control District for his county and wrote a grant that delivered the money to help landowners get the resources they need to fight weeds on their land.

He moved to Montana in 2010 and earned a Master of Science degree from Montana State where he worked  for the Department of Energy studying carbon sequestration for power plants.  He has stayed involved with the project acting as a research consultant and also working for the US Forest Service and Bridger Bowl.  He has come to love his adopted home and the people he has met here.  He understands well the need for solid leadership to help the state create jobs and opportunity so that people can afford to stay in the place they love.

Learn more about Seth and his positions on key issues

Pat Flowers, candidate for Senate District 32

Patrick Flowers

Senate District 32

Who is Pat Flowers?

I moved to Montana from my Ohio birthplace in 1977 as a college junior to finish my undergraduate degree in forestry, and complete a master’s degree in forest economics at the University of Montana. I went on to a career in forest fire research, forest economics, forest management, and fish, wildlife and parks.  I raised two daughters in Montana with my wife, Hedvig, who passed away in 2007.   In 2014 I remarried.  My wife, Melissa, and I now share four daughters who are either pursuing their college degrees or professional careers.

Why is Pat running?

I am running for Senate District 32 to strengthen the reasons why you choose to live, work and recreate in Montana — including a robust public education system, access to affordable health care, and exceptional open access to our rivers and public lands. I bring a lifetime of public-service experience working to address Montana’s toughest natural resource issues. With your support, we will translate that problem-solving success into home-grown progress in many other areas.

Pat’s Values

Pat has demonstrated integrity throughout his public service career. He has taken on some of the toughest issues in Montana and through it all maintained a commitment to the sound management of our resources and the well-being of our citizens.

Pat has shown great perseverance on issues like elk management where he pushed for solutions that recognized the concerns of private landowners, while focusing on the goal of managing elk as valued Montana wildlife of great importance to sportsmen and women.

As a public servant Pat has embraced transparency in government, hosting hundreds of public meetings and forums on difficult issues. He understands the value and need for state government to find solutions in an open setting where Montana citizens can participate.

Pat recognized throughout his professional career that the toughest problems are best solved with all interests at the table. The shared solutions that come out of those efforts are not only better crafted, but they also result in outcomes that are more broadly supported, and better stand the test of time.

Learn more about Pat and his positions on key issues

JP Pomnichowski

JP Pomnichowski

Senate District 33

JP Pomnichowski is a Montana State Senator and serves in leadership as the Democratic Minority Whip, the only woman in Senate Democratic leadership. She’s currently completing her first term in the state senate after serving three terms in Montana’s House of Representatives. Prior to her state government work, JP served in neighborhood associations, city and county boards, and in MSU’s student senate.

She’s championed citizens’ rights, protecting public lands, our natural setting and Montana’s sporting heritage, and promoting a quality education. Her knowledge and experience make her a natural to continue her service in the Montana State Legislature.

First elected as our Lady of the House (of Representatives), now, A Woman’s Place is in the House (and the SENATE!)


JP currently serves as the senator for Senate District 33.

Learn more about JP and her positions on key issues

Sam Newville

Sam Newville

Senate District 34

I’m Sam Newville, your neighbor, running for our Senate District 34. My wife Jan and I have lived in Belgrade for 36 years, we’ve raised our children here and I’ve owned and run Turf Tech, a successful sprinkler business for over 20 years here in Belgrade.

You might already know me, you might’ve stopped by to inquire about my earth house on Jefferson, or admire the falcons in the front yard. You might know me as a customer of yours, you might sell me oil changes, gas fill-ups, hardware and home items, tires, or you might help me at the bank. I know you know my wife, she’s at the grocery store daily!

You might wonder why an already busy guy is running for our Senate, because I care!  I care about protecting our public lands, public school systems and quality health care for all Montanan’s. I’ve hunted and fished since childhood, my dad was a school teacher, my mom was an advocate for children through crisis help lines and one of the first CASA volunteers in the Gallatin Valley.  I feel many of the public services that I care about, and are necessary for so many Montanan’s, are coming under attack. I want to be sure our Montana legislature has advocates to protect them for our children’s future, I’d be proud to be one of them.