Elected Democratic Officials

Sandy Erhardt, candidate for Clerk of District Court

Sandy Erhardt

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.

Eric Semerad for Clerk and Recorder

Eric Semerad

County Clerk & Recorder/Surveyor

Goals

  • Continue to improve and modernize county public records storage and access in the office and online.
  • Diligently administer the election process and ensure the right to vote for all eligible citizens.
  • Oversee recording of County Commission actions.
  • Manage vital (birth & death) record issuance.

Qualifications

  • Recording Department Supervisor – 15 years
  • Chief Deputy Clerk – 10 years
  • Bachelor of Science from Montana State University
  • Modernized Clerk & Recorder records and put them online
  • Responsibly manage department budget and one of the largest revenue sources in the county

Candidate Statement

“I work with integrity and dedication to develop lasting relationships with county and private sector customers. I have the most in-depth knowledge and experience it takes to hold this office. I am the most qualified candidate for Clerk and Recorder/Surveyor.”

Erin Cox, candidate for County Auditor

Erin Cox

County Auditor

Goals:

  • Maintain transparency by keeping all internal audits public through the county website
  • Internal checks and balances to guarantee an efficient and effectively running office and county
  • Be a strong resource for other offices, and the public as needed

Qualifications:

My experience with the current administration has given me hands-on experience, and the opportunity to implement new financial software which will make the process even smoother. It is because of my current position and experiences, that I am confident I could make a seamless transition into the County Auditor position.

Candidate Statement:

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

“Currently I am working in the County Auditor’s Office, learning 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 the duty of these officers to uphold fiscal integrity while maintaining accountability and transparency.”

Jennifer Blossom for County Treasurer

Jennifer Blossom

County Treasurer

Goals:

  • Improve the efficiency, transparency, and accuracy of process within the Treasurer’s Office – including the investment of tax dollars.

Candidate Statement:

“If you pay property taxes in Gallatin County, or have ever had to register your vehicle or renew your registration, you’ve been directly affected by the Treasurer’s Office, which is responsible for the timely and accurate billing and handling of tax dollars, the efficient distribution of collected taxes to the various schools and agencies, the transparent investment of money and the management of the motor vehicle department.

“Every day for more than 13 years I have watched as people have waited to register their vehicles – a wait that can last up to four hours or more.  Some of these people are losing wages. Some of them have families they want to get home to. Some of them have places they need to be. Not one of them should be required to sit in a lobby and wait for such an unreasonable amount of time.  I believe it’s time that the Treasurer’s Office recognizes, respects and honors that.

“An elected official shouldn’t have to be pushed to make positive changes. They need to be willing to take a step back, listen to those around them, and make improvements where necessary. That was the reason I ran for Auditor in 2003 and why I am running for Treasurer now.”

More information:
http://www.belgrade-news.com/news/county/county-auditor-to-challenge-county-treasurer/article_b16019ba-06e3-11e8-898f-d34a49bc2a06.html

Scott MacFarlane, Candidate for County Commission

Scott MacFarlane

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.”

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

Zach Brown

County Commissioner

Goals

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.

Jim Hamilton, House District 61

Rep. Jim Hamilton

House District 61

Jim is the current representative for House District 61 and is running for re-election in 2020.

Ed Stafman, candidate for House District 62

Rep. 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

Rep. Alice Buckley

House District 63

Do you live in House District 63

Goals

  • 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.

Kelly Kortum, candidate for House District 65

Rep. Kelly Kortum

House District 65

Do you live in HD 65?

Goals

  • 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

Rep. Denise Hayman

House District 66

Denise currently serves as the representative for House District 66. She is running for re-election in 2020.

Chris Pope, candidate for Senate District 31

Senator Chris Pope

Senate District 31

Check to see if you live in Senate District 31!

Occupation

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

Goals

  • 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

Qualifications

  • 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.

Pat Flowers, Senator District 32

Sen. Pat Flowers

Senate District 32

232Who 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

Sen. 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

Senator Jon Tester

Senator Jon Tester

United States Senator

Joe Biden, candidate for United States President

President-elect Joe Biden

United States President