In the People's Interest

Democrats Energized by Local and State Candidates Filing on First Day

New candidates, incumbents and a former legislator fill the Democratic ranks for PSC, County Commission and State Legislature. 

Gallatin Dem Candidates at Courthouse
Gallatin Democrats announce their candidacy Gallatin County Courthouse

BOZEMAN, MT.  The Gallatin Democrats proudly announce a strong slate of capable, qualified leaders running in the 2020 election for Public Service Commission, County Commission and Montana legislative seats. Included is a promising group of new and experienced candidates inspired to work for smart solutions on local issues and good government. Eight candidates are filing on the first day for offices from the regional Public Service Commission to Gallatin County Commission and Montana Legislature.

A press conference will be held on Thursday, January 9, at 9 am, on the steps of the Gallatin County Courthouse. This is the first day candidates can file to run for elected office. The public is invited to attend and meet the candidates.

“There is momentum and vibrancy among Democrats that we can make gains all the way around in 2020,” said JP Pomnichowski, Senate Democratic Minority Whip. “We will make the most difference at the local and state level, though we will work hard to elect Democrats up and down the ballot in 2020.  Our first commitment is to elect local representatives whose policy decisions will improve our everyday lives: water, roads, schools, and jobs. These are the bread and butter issues that local government most directly affects. We’ve seen the effects of the GOP tax cuts already. We can help alleviate that if we take back the Montana Legislature.

Filing for office on the first day of filing are the following candidates:

Public Service Commission

Tom Woods

As a four-term representative, Tom wrote legislation to stop Northwestern Energy’s price hikes on consumers, dealing the utility a rare defeat in the legislature. He took on high hospital prices that send Montana families into bankruptcy every year and also helped lead the fight for Medicaid expansion which helps 80,000 Montanans get affordable healthcare.

In the past, Tom has been a bartender, a bus driver, and a musician. Now he’s a teacher, a husband, and a father to two kids. Tom entered public service because he believes in government that is by real people and for real people.

Gallatin County Commission

Zach Brown

After serving three consecutive terms in the Montana Legislature, Zach Brown is running for Gallatin County Commission in 2020. He wants to turn county government into a change agent – an active advocate for fiscal responsibility, rural-urban cooperation, and sustainable growth. His passions for water policy and criminal justice reform are central to his motivation to serve as a County Commissioner.

Montana State Senate

Chris Pope, Senate District 31

Pope, as successful businessman, is serving his second term in the House of Representatives representing HD 65. He serves on the Business and Labor; Energy, Technology and Federal Regulations; and Local Government committees. He seeks to replace Sen. Mike Phillips who has met the limits of his term.

Montana House of Representatives

Jim Hamilton, House District 61

Rep. Hamilton is running for his third term in the MT House where he serves on Appropriations; Legislative Administration, and the Joint Committee on General Government Committees. He has regularly held outreach and information gatherings to explain budget and financials policies of the Montana Legislature to his district and the community.

Ed Stafman, House District 62

In furtherance of his lifelong commitment to public service, Ed Stafman is running for the Montana House, District 62 (south central Bozeman). For the last decade, Ed served as rabbi in Bozeman, and was a civil rights attorney before that. Ed seeks to bring people together to be stewards of our threatened planet; to assure access to public lands; to achieve economic and tax fairness; to work for excellence in public education, to assure access to health care, and to protect the vulnerable among us.

Alice Buckley, House District 63

Alice Buckley is running to serve her community, listen to the concerns and priorities of the district, and collaborate to create change. She is motivated to bring the issues and concerns of House District 63 to Helena and fight to ensure Montanans have access to affordable healthcare, particularly reproductive and mental health care and services, high-quality, public education, and stable jobs. In her day job, Alice works for Profitable Ideas Exchange (PIE), a Bozeman-based firm where she facilitates peer conversations within peer communities. She also volunteers with HAVEN, a local nonprofit that works to reduce domestic violence.

Kelly Kortum, House District 65

Kelly Kortum is a lifelong Montanan and a tech worker in Bozeman. He grew up in Ekalaka, MT, and moved to Bozeman for college, and then never wanted to leave. He has volunteered for several political organizations for the last 5 years and is interested in improving citizen protections in the fields of tech policy, voting rights, and healthcare.

Denise Hayman, House District 66

Incumbent Representative Denise Hayman is running for her fourth term in the House where she serves as the one of four Democratic Minority Whips and on the Energy, Technology and Federal Relations; and State Administration Committees.  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.

A press conference with all the candidates will be held on the steps of the Gallatin County Courthouse at 9 am, on January 9, the first day the Secretary of State allows candidates to file for office. The Gallatin Democrats are inspired by this smart, qualified and hard-working group of public leaders. We plan to do all we can to get them elected.


Interviews will be available with the following:

Tom Wood for Public Service Commission

Chris Pope for SD 31

Ed Stafman for HD 62

Alice Buckley for HD 63

Kelly Kortum for HD 65


For further information call Elizabeth Marum, 406-570-1033

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