We're Better Together...
A great thing about being an independent-leaning Democrat is that the party encourages such variations in their representatives. The last line spoken in a Democratic caucus is often, “Vote your conscience and/or your constituency.” There’s a lot of freedom in the Democratic party to have and represent a wide range of views.
My experience in publishing and editing newspapers for over 20 years gives me a unique perspective. I’ve cultivated a sharp ability to gather data and be objective and fair to all sides before presenting or tackling an issue. My experience as a Montanan, from working as a professional chef running commercial kitchens to struggling as a single mother to make ends meet, gives me insight into the lives of many who, like me, had little time for politics in busy, hard-working, stressful lives.
I’ve worked in the media nearly all my life, in newspapers. I also trained and worked as a head chef, managing commercial kitchens across Montana before I returned to the publishing industry. I’ve lived in Livingston now for 15 years. Previously, I lived in Seeley Lake and Missoula and spent considerable time in Dillon and Glacier National Park.
I was born in Ireland, near Dublin, when my parents were American teachers there in the 1970s. We moved to my mother’s hometown of Memphis, Tennessee when I was five. My mother ended up working for University of Tennessee Medical School publications where she reported to Lamar Alexander and my father founded a publishing company with sweat equity which still produces a city magazine and newspaper.
I grew up in the publishing business and headed west early in my life. Even though both of my parents had good jobs, money for college (unless we wanted to take out big loans) was scarce so I went right to work in publishing.
In the late 90s, I worked in southwest Colorado at the Ouray Plaindealer and Ridgway Sun as a reporter and photographer. I was Marketing Director and Associate Publisher of the Ruidoso News in New Mexico and then moved to Missoula to attend UM in 2000. I worked as a consultant, columnist and provided design and management support at the Independent in Missoula, including the execution of their 10th-anniversary party with the UMJ school which was attended by over 1,500 people.
I'm proud of my career but I speak from hard-earned experience in saying that higher education is a worthwhile investment. I’ve attended both UM and MSU Bozeman. One thing I’ve learned in my professional life and that I stress to young people is the importance of college education, especially early in life. Once you start working and raising a family, it becomes more difficult to afford the time and tuition to finish a degree. I know this first-hand.
My husband Brad Snow is the former Chairman of the Wheeler Center for Public Policy in Bozeman and a former Livingston School Board member. He earned his Ph.D. at MSU Bozeman in American History and currently teaches at MSU. We met eight years ago and combined our families, my one son and his four children. Since leaving Legislative service, I have prioritized my family over my career as our children have grown.
Prior to meeting my husband, I was a single mother working full time to run a business with dozens of employees and contributors. My family still consists of the many individuals who helped me in the early years of my son's life, from co-workers to friends who were like sisters, brothers, grandmothers, and aunts helping to create a village of care for all of our children.
A Lifetime of Experience
Before my son was born, I moved from Missoula to escape a violently abusive relationship and had to start my life completely anew. This experience changed my life and gave me the confidence to turn a hobby of cooking into a career. After working my way up to Sous Chef at the Double Arrow Lodge, I traveled out of the state to get my professional chef’s training. I finished an apprenticeship with Earling Jensen Restaurant in Memphis, Tenn. near my parents in the early 2000s and returned to Montana to work at the 2nd Street Bistro in Livingston.
When I returned to the publishing industry, I founded the Livingston Weekly/Current, which was in publication for eight years before it was sold to the Park County Community Journal in 2012. Since 2018, I have published and edited the Montana Press Monthly, an arts and culture newspaper distributed across Montana.
Recognizing the Need to Prepare for the Future
From the first course I took at UM Glacier Park Ecologist Dan Fagre in 2000, I've been committed to informing citizens about the harsh reality of coming climate variability and the need to prepare for increasing temperature, precipitation, and storm anomalies. Coupled with my experience as a chef, I began an ongoing study and assessment of agricultural security.
When elected in 2012 by my community to serve in the Montana State House, I went to Helena and discovered a level of dysfunction in our state government that was disheartening. l relished the opportunity to interject leadership on key issues and I spearheaded efforts on both sides of the aisle on a hot-button political issue: man-made climate change or climate variability, as we agreed to call it, by focusing on the impacts of water in the state on our agricultural economy.
I recognized that even within the system of bi-partisan dysfunction, Montana’s lawmakers could work together to get things accomplished.
Staring us in the face is the need to tackle the tough issues of persistent drought, deluges, and wildfire across the state and continue work within our state agencies to identify, manage, adjust and prepare for projected impacts.
'm launching Montana 2035 to build a sustainability plan for Montana. Montana needs a balanced approach to the future where economic, social and environmental goals are in balance with the reality of climate change. We want to preserve a vibrant, diversified economy; a healthy quality of life that is grounded in equality of all people; and healthy natural resources.
I want to bring the experience of a lifetime of integrity in the publishing industry to the Governor's office where I will be working hard for the people of Montana. I