Lynda Bourque Moss

Lynda Moss speaks during the Yellowstone County Commissioner commissioner candidate forum at the Billings Public Library.

BRONTE WITTPENN, Gazette Staff

Former Billings legislator Lynda Moss has joined the list of Democrats running for the U.S. House.

Moss is the fifth Democrat to announce a challenge for her party’s nomination. The winner will challenge Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte in the 2018 general election. Moss told Lee Newspapers on Thursday that a current political environment harmful to women has prompted her to run.

“Part of it is what happened in the election last November, and seeing photos across our media of a lot of white men making decisions on women’s health care,” Moss said. “I have a granddaughter and I was helping her select a Walt Disney movie and saying, ‘Don’t watch the television news.’”

Moss will officially announce her candidacy Saturday at Toucan Gallery in Billings.

Women voters have been a deciding factor in electing Montana Democrats to statewide office in recent years. There is considerable energy among Montana women angered by the election of President Donald Trump, who was caught on tape last fall bragging about sexually assaulting women.

The weekend after Trump’s swearing in, thousands of women marched through Helena’s January cold in protest. Moss references that march as evidence Montana is ready for change.

Moss said she will make protecting women, children and seniors the core of her platform. The Republican-controlled Congress has this year attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and has yet to renew funding for the federal Childrens Health Insurance Program. The working poor and children are key beneficiaries of those services. The recently passed federal budget also calls for trimming growth of Medicare spending over the next decade.

Moss was an eight-year state senator, representing downtown and South Billings. In 2007, she was Senate majority whip. She has been executive director of the Western Heritage Center and is vice chairwoman of the Northwest Area Foundation.

Moss joins fellow Billings resident John Heenan, as well as state Representative Tom Woods, and former state Representative Kathleen Williams, both of Bozeman. Former land trust director Grant Kier of Missoula, and Whitefish attorney Jared Pettinato are also candidates in what is shaping up to be the most crowded Democratic primary for U.S. House in decades.

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Agriculture and Politics Reporter

Politics and agriculture reporter for The Billings Gazette.