Articles by Cowgirl

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Chamber, MSU Alumni make early bet on Gianforte

Greg Gianforte, the billionaire tech executive and religious zealot from Bozeman, has unofficially kicked off his 2016 Governor campaign with a 30-town tour of Montana.  In this tour he will be describing his idea to “Bring Your Families Back.”  That’s the name of the tour, and it will be a charade in which Gianforte will tour the state and discuss his plans for “luring back” people who supposedly want to live in Montana but cannot find a job, and have family here.

There are a host of problems with what Gianforte is doing.  First is the plan itself. His big idea is…wait for it…that people should “telecommute.


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Chronicle: Two Top Montana Attorneys Will Prosecute Wittich Case

The Bozeman Chronicle is reporting today that two of Montana’s best lawyers, Gene Jerussi and John Heenan have been appointed as state’s special attorneys general to prosecute the political practices case against TEA Party state Representative Art Wittich, of Bozeman. Both Jarussi and Heenan are shrewd, with good insincts in the courtroom and in politics (as is the firm’s other partner Randy Bishop).

They will play the proper role of prosecutors, which is to bring down the quarry.  So whomever represents Wittich has their work cut out for them. Perhaps it will be one of the state’s collection of famous republican attorneys like Matthew Monforton or Jim Brown at Thunderdome Law.


New Problems Emerge with Lee Newspapers

If you read the Missoulian tonight, you might start to wonder just how big of a problem Lee Newspapers has with poor employee treatment. Apparently, asking two of the state’s top reporters, Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison, to apply for their own jobs at lower salaries, may not be an isolated incident. (If you haven’t read the media blogger Jim Romenesko’s report on this, you should.)

In a report posted tonight that one had a hard time believing could be completely unbiased, the Missoulian is reporting that it is suing its own former employees over some advertising accounts.

A source with knowledge of the case says

Mike Dennison Chuck Johnson

GUEST POST: We will miss democracy’s watchdogs Johnson and Dennison 

By Mary Ann and Don Dunwell

Mary Ann Dunwell represents Helena and East Helena in the Montana House. Don Dunwell is a Montana television journalist.

It’s a disappointing time for Montana’s Fourth Estate because the bylines of Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison will no longer appear in Lee newspapers. With their years of experienced and insightful coverage of Montana’s Capitol, Dennison and Johnson held elected officials and government accountable, and held watch over our democracy.

Cyndi Baker (left) and Rep. Cleve Loney R-Great Falls (right)

Montana TEA Party Rebranding as Not the TEA Party

The Tea Party in Montana has been tarnished by demonstrations of racism, rabid extremism, general ignorance and, after the 2015 session, failure. So tarnished, in fact, that they are now shying away from being called “Tea Party.” In fact, the organization formerly known as the “Montana Shrugged TEA Party” in Montana is now calling itself…

Lee Newspapers

Lee State Bureau, RIP

Surprising news was delivered Thursday by the Great Falls Tribune. The Lee Newspapers company is shutting down its State Bureau, meaning that Mike Dennison and Chuck Johnson, the state’s two veteran political reporters, are departing, leaving the company.  Sources with knowledge of the the decision say Lee…

Montana Legislature

GUEST POST: The Danger Of Preemption Laws!

by Norma Duffy.  

Ms. Duffy is lifelong resident of Beaverhead County, a businesswoman, farmer, public advocate, and single mother who has no tolerance for the bad politics-as-usual, interfering with our future as Montanans. Follow her on Twitter @Ilikewoods

(First in a series of Three)

Though I have my own dreadful, personal, business story about preemption law, which I will speak to in the next post – problems right here in our state of Montana…. I’d rather first, take this time, to explain to the average Montanan, what so called “Preemption laws” are.

Generally, every state in the union has…


Advances at the Cowgirl Blog

You may have noticed the Cowgirl Blog has been experimenting with a new look, as well as an increased number of guest posts.  I’m always looking for ways to improve the blog and your suggestions to the tipline at mntnacowgirl (at) are welcome–as are your…


GUEST POST Montana values shaped lawmaking during session

by Mary Ann Dunwell  

Mary Ann Dunwell is a democrat and represents Montana House District 84 Helena/East Helena. You can reach her at (406) 461-5358 or

As we celebrate summer graduations and holidays that honor our service men and women, and parents and families, it’s a good time to point out how our shared Montana values shaped lawmaking in the recent legislative session – values like the equal opportunity of public education, healthy and hard-working families and communities, and service to country and each other.

Here are a few examples of laws passed that reflect these values…

hypocrisy meter

The Montana Hypocrites of the Week Award Goes to

..the Montana State Fund. Turn on your TV and you might see a piece of propaganda the Montana State Fund is currently running featuring firefighters the ad boldly, if inaccurately, asserts that the State Fund is supportive of these men and women who keep our homes and families safe.

Problem is, over the years the Montana State Fund has repeatedly lobbied against allowing Montana firefighters to get the care they need when injured on the job.

Re-elect Brad Johnson

Gubernatorial Story, Speculation Raises Questions

Chuck Johnson reported today that GOP PSC Commissioner Brad Johnson is running for Governor. While this is somewhat interesting in itself, given Johnson’s history, the piece of the story that struck me the most was this bit: Rumors persist that Greg Gianforte, of Bozeman, the founder…