Tag Archives: Jenny Eck

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.