Tag Archives: Jenny Eck

Local Songwriter Writes Song Mocking GOP Dress Code for Legislature, Reporters

The story about the Montana legislature’s ridiculous dress code requiring that women mind their necklines and shirt lengths is receiving lots of attention nationwide, including an article in the New York Times featuring Rep. Jenny Eck (D-Helena), Rep. Caroline Pease-Lopez (D-Billings) and Rep. Ellie Hill (D-Missoula.)

Now, Missoula’s own local singer and songwriter Bob Wire has summed this embarrassment up in song. You can watch Bob perform Montana GOP (Dress Code), his parody song about the Montana House GOP dress code for the 2015 Legislative session, on Youtube here.

Bob Wire and his orginal band, the Fencemenders, made the rounds in Western Montana for years, and Bob still performs to packed houses at favorite Missoula hangouts. Be sure to check out his blog too.

His Heart Just Isn’t In It

Frank admissions of doubt from one Helena City Commission candidate make the Helena Vigilante’s profile on the capital city commission races an interesting read.

Here’s incumbent commissioner Dan Ellison:

Let me start by saying I didn’t have a burning desire to run for reelection.


So with some reluctance I made the decision to run for another term.

To be sure, Ellison  also says “I hope it doesn’t come across as egotistical to suggest that some people think that I have some skills that can be applied to an advantage for the community serving as a city commissioner.”

“Some people” may indeed think so, but it just doesn’t sound like Ellison’s own heart is really in it.  With three candidates running for two seats, this probably makes the choice  an easier one for many.

Ellison is most known in Helena for being the conservative City Commissioner who said he opposed Helena’s non-discrimination ordinance for LGBT citizens because it lacked protections for people who are bald or left handed.  His comments became the subject of parody and satire.  Ellison later caved to public pressure and supported the ordinance.  website: danellison.com

Also running is Andres Haladay, who’s already on the doors, and is the current chair of the Helena Citizens Commission. He’s got a website up haladayforhelena.com.  Haladay is endorsed by several popular Helena progressives including current city commissioner Katherine Haque-Hausrath, state Senator Christine Kaufman, and Rep. Jenny Eck.

The third candidate is David Nielsen who was formerly the Helena City Attorney. He also has a website nielsenforhelena.com.

Go read the whole piece at the Helena Vigilante.  One surprising revelation–not a single candidate discusses perhaps Helena’s most pressing issue–the near total lack of snow plowing in Helena throughout the winter months.


Montana GOP once again shows where their values lie, and it isn’t with public interest

by Lash

In committee room, in wood House seats,
No logic shall impede our feats.
Let those who live in Treasure State,
beware our record, it’s not that great.
-Oath of the MT GOP Corps

At some point in our lives Steve Martin explained to the world, “That a day without sunshine is like, well, night.” But with all the stumbling in the dark that’s happening, it could really be day fifty-four of the Montana Legislature or any day at all in the Montana House Judiciary Committee.

You may remember Pinehaven, the  “Christian” childrens’ ranch that made Montana news worthy of a spot on AC360,  was under threat of big, scary government regulation by HB236, which sought to require “certain” adolescent treatment programs to be regulated.  There was a push by Representatives Ellie Hill and Jenny Eck to blast the bill to the house floor for a full hearing. Continue reading

Will Horrendous CNN Story Move the Montana GOP?

Day of Reckoning Wednesday for Creepy School

by Cowgirl

The entire Montana House of Representatives will vote today on whether to regulate private religious schools, in the wake of a story by CNN exposing allegations of violence at Pinehaven School in the Flathead Valley.

Boarding schools claiming religious affiliation are not regulated in Montana.  They don’t need to be licensed at all.   Montana Democrats, responding to the Pinehaven and other such situations, are trying to change the law. Continue reading

GOP Wants No Regulation of Controversial Boarding Schools

by Cowgirl

A religious boarding school in northern Montana named Pinehaven Ranch has no license, no accreditation and employs teachers who are not certified, and is now dealing with allegations that the staff used violence to discipline students.

And yet the Montana GOP has voted, on a party line, to allow such schools to continue to go unregulated. CNN ran a big story about it tonight on the Anderson Cooper 360 show, with interviews with Montana legislators Jenny Eck and Krayton Kerns. Eck is a progressive democrat and Kerns, chairman of the Montana house judiciary, is one of the loudest and proudest Tea Partiers in America. Eck made an emotional appeal to the committee on which she sits, and which Kerns chairs, during a hearing on HB 236, a bill which would make homes for troubled kids like Pineheaven Ranch subject to the same regulation as other youth homes. As in, the state government would be allowed to get involved when school children at private religious schools are allegedly being abused. Religious schools, under current state law, are exempt from regulation.

Kerns, meanwhile, did not disappoint. He said, in an interview with CNN’s Gary Tuchman who paid a visit to the Montana legislature, that not only should schools like Pinehaven not be subject to any state education laws, but that all laws and regulations for all schools, public or otherwise, should be abolished.

The injustice was clearly on Eck’s mind in the committee when she pointed out to the committee that Kerns that allowed the headmaster of the school 20 minutes for his testimony against the bill, but gave opponents of the bill only a few seconds a piece.

And so, the general narrative that has been circulating in the media is that all is well at the Capitol and that “this Session is so much better than last session,” is not true at all. When it comes to the House Judiciary committee, the Montana legislature is still making national news for its awfulness. Perhaps now our own Montana press will get the true picture. HB 236 is sponsored by Rep. Ellie Hill (D-Missoula).  Here’s the video:

UPDATED: Dems Make Small Gain in Legislature

As of the time of this posting, with vote counts still coming in, it looks like the make-up of the Montana senate may be 21 Democratic senators to 29 Republicans in the next legislative session.   Democrats and Republicans appear to have won an equal number of the seats up for grabs, but Rs maintained an advantage in holdover senators.

During the 2011 session, there were 28 Republicans and 22 Democrats.

In the House, it looks like Democrats may pick up seven five seats, making that chamber 40 38 Democratic seats to 60 62 Republicans instead of 32-68 like the 2011 session.  This will help Governor-elect Steve Bullock sustain his 2013 vetoes.  UPDATE: As of 8:30 pm Wed evening, Dems have gained seven MT house seats. The Billings Gazette has the story.

All of the results STILL aren’t in yet, so this could change and the Dems could pick up more seats.

Here are a couple of highlights.  I’m sure there more more, please add them in the comments.


  • Democrats Brad Hamlett and Greg Jergeson were successful in winning tough Senate races.
  • Democrat Ed Leiser is leading Tim Baldwin.
  • Tom Jacobson appears to have taken out TEA Partier Cleve Loney.
  • Reilly Neill (D) looks to have taken out Dan Skattum in an ATP targeted race.
  • And in Butte, Ryan Lynch took back Max Yate’s house seat for the Dems.
  • Newcomer Jenny Eck was successfull in keeping her Helena house seat blue.
  • Gary Marbut lost in Missoula.


  • Janna Taylor and Dee Brown will be back in the Senate.
  • Militia-linked Jennifer Fielder is in from Sanders County is now a state senator.
  • Nicholas Schwaderer defeated Christine Johnson for the Superior house seat that was much in the news.
  • Dog killer Roger Webb is leading Wanda Grinde in Billings for the Heights senate seat, but all the votes aren’t yet in.
  • Warburton and Hanson will be back in the house. Though given the recent Frontline expose, she might be subject to a range of penalties, including removal from office, fines, or worse.  The question is whether there is a prosecutor out there who is willing to begin looking into this stuff.
  • Liz Bangerter from Helena and Joanne Blyton from Red Lodge will be back as well.


A Look at the Primary Election Results

Congratulations are in order to Kim Gillan and Pam Bucy who have won their respective primaries for Congress and Attorney General.

But that’s not the only good news.

Republicans have nominated Brad Johnson for Secretary of State. Johnson has battled alcoholism for many years, has had a few DUIs, and has been in and out of rehab recently (in 2008, he even campaigned from a rehab facility toward the end of the SOS race last time). Notably, in the article reporting on his announcement for office, he was unable to state a single reason why the current SOS, Linda McCulloch, should be replaced. Not a good start. He also says that he currently works as a “consultant”, although it is unclear who, if anyone, is paying him for his consultations. The nomination of such a weak candidate is good news for Democrats and for all those who don’t believe in the voter suppression tactics frequently championed by Republicans.

In the legislative races, congratulations to Helena’s Jenny Eck, who defeated two primary opponents for the open seat left when Mike Menahan decided not to run.  Here are a few other interesting legislative results:

Incumbents Taken Out

Incumbents are difficult to defeat and are rarely taken out.  It’s a lot easier when that incumbent becomes a laughing stock on national television. DUI promoter Alan Hale was taken out by primary opponent Kirk Wagoner 863 to 813.  Birther Bob Wagner was defeated by Ray Shaw in Madison County 1040-991.

Crackpots Advance

In Park City, nutjob TEA Party hatemonger David Howard somehow surpassed his two primary challengers by a wide margin.

In Sanders County, TEA Partier Jennifer Fielder (here’s her flyer) defeated the saner Rick Seeman. Feilder seems to have focused her campaign on the fact that her opposent was at one time employed by the government.   GOPers have also nominated the legislature’s largest recipient of government funds, TEA Partier Janna Taylor, over Republican Carmine Mowbray for Senate District 6.

More Good News for Democrats

Brad Johnson isn’t the only good news for Dems.   In the Laurel House races, supernatural scholar Sarah Laszloffy defeated main streat Republican Debra Bonogofsky, giving an edge to Democratic candidate Sean Whiting for that seat.

Corporate Money Wins

A secret list of corporations succeeded in electing State Senate TEA Party candidate Dee Brown over Republican Bill Beck in the Flathead. The corporations behind the so-called American Traditions Partnership are fighting Montana’s clean election laws in the U.S. Supreme Court.  Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock is defending Montana against ATP in that case.  Meanwhile, another corporate front group with secret donors has purchased the Montana Supreme Court race for $41,000.  TEA Party Republican Jason Priest’s shadow group succeeded in advancing right-winger Laurie McKinnon over Elizabeth Best.

I’m interesting in hearing your thoughts on the primaries and your takes on other races I didn’t get to here.  Please consider this a primary election open forum.

Helena Legislative Candidate Jenny Eck Up with Television Ad

Helena legislative candidate Jenny Eck has a campaign ad on air.  Eck is the Democratic candidate for  House District 82, which includes much of Helena’s west side. The seat is currently held by Rep. Mike Menahan (D), who is not running for re-election.  It’s worth noting with all the web-only video we’ve seen this cycle that the ad is actually on broadcast and cable stations.  Here it is:

Jenny Eck Files for Helena Legislative Seat

Jenny Eck is running for Helena's House District 82Helena mom and consumer advocate Jenny Eck has filed as a Democratic candidate for  House District 82, which includes much of Helena’s west side. The seat is currently held by Rep. Mike Menahan (D), who is not running this cycle.

UPDATE: Readers of the Montana Cowgirl Blog remember this seat well.  TEA Party “Lady Knight of the Gun” Kristia Allen-Gailushas, who made national news for campaigning against healthy food, ran in this district.  Allen Gailushas left the Helena TEA Party after it ousted Tim Ravndal for making comments that implied support for violence against gays.

In a press release, Eck says she has already knocked on hundreds of doors in the district and has raised grassroots financial contributions from her neighbors and friends:

“I love that in Montana we still have the opportunity to meet every voter. It’s not all about money or corporate influence here; it’s about getting out and talking to folks, listening to their opinions, perspectives and life stories.

“Every day I am amazed and humbled by the courage and unrelenting hope with which ordinary people face extraordinarily difficult problems: debilitating illnesses, job losses and financial crisis. I will carry these stories with me to the Montana Legislature and make sure that these concerns are addressed.”

Eck, 32, does public outreach and education for the Consumer Protection Bureau of the Attorney General’s Office. She served as secretary of the House Judiciary Committee during the 2009 Legislature. She and her husband, Brian Miller, an attorney with the Morrison, Motl, and Sherwood law firm, have two elementary-aged children who attend Helena Public Schools.

Eck, a first-time candidate for office, lists the endorsements of some well-known community leaders, including: former Helena School Board chair, Dana Toole; Big Dipper Ice Cream owner, Anna Doran (who is also Eck’s campaign treasurer); Col. Mike Tooley, chief of the Montana Highway Patrol; and City Commissioner Katherine Haque-Hausrath.

For more information on Eck’s campaign, visit her website at www.jennyeckformontana.com.