Tag Archives: Kelson Young

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.

GOOD:

  • 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.

BAD:

  • 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.

 

The TEA Party Doesn’t Represent Helena

Montanans have a strong candidate in the race to take back the seat held by TEA Party nutjob Liz Bangerter.    

Long-time Helena leader Kelsen Young (pictured) says she’s running for office because she believes “we need more strong, independent and progressive voices at the State Legislature.”  So true.

Bangerter is a Republican first-term legislator campaigning for re-election to Helena’s House District 80.  She was elected to represent a liberal district by pretending to be a moderate. Then, she turned out to be one of the most conservative GOPers out there.   Bangerter voted for Derek Skees’ unconstitutional scheme to create an eleven person panel to nullify federal laws and voted to allow hunting with silencers.   Worse, she actually sponsored the bill to legalize insurance company discrimination against women.

It turns out that Bangerter actually serves on ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force.  For those of you not familiar with ALEC, here’s the deal.  Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators like Bangerter exact changes to the law they want passed.

What kind of bills?  Often these are changes to the laws that will make the corporations more money.  They are also often bills that the GOP will introduce only to attack Democrats in the next election, based on their votes.  The pre-drafted ALEC bills are all wrapped up with neat little talking points and press releases so the legislator doesn’t actually need any brain cells.

Besides legislators like Bangerter, only corporations have full membership standing in ALEC. Corporations sit on all ALEC task forces–like the one Bangerter is on.  The corporations vote with legislators to approve “model” bills–the only difference is that the corporations get veto power over any legislator ideas.

And so, Bangerter is one of the last people we need making Montana laws.  Thankfully, with a top quality candidate like Kelsen in the race, it looks like Bangerter’s is one more seat that the Republicans won’t be keeping.

To find out more about Kelsen, visit her website.  Kelsen grew up in Havre and Helena and has spent the last 15 years working to end domestic and sexual violence. She currently serves as the Executive Director for the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, which is a statewide non-profit.