I am running to be the public service commissioner for District 2 because Montanans deserve a representative to make decisions based on facts and an established track record of getting things done. I am serious about my campaign.
Since 2005, my experience in the Legislature has given me multiple opportunities to address a broad range of issues impacting Montanans. While in the Senate, I held leadership positions as majority whip, vice chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the secretary of the Audit Committee.
For two sessions I served on the Energy and Telecommunications Committee. This committee is critical because it legislates policies affecting the regulation of utility companies.
While serving on the Energy and Telecommunications Committee, I saw battles between corporate giants and industry insiders against everyday Montanans. Lobbying by these well-financed insiders is in stark contrast with my grass-roots advocacy for small business owners, health care providers, students — Montanans who often drove hundreds of miles, paying their own way to testify.
I have always made an effort to practice due diligence and seek reliable information. During the last session, I stood up for Montana farmers and ranchers, opposed and voted against HB198, the eminent domain bill that was supported by the governor’s office, environmental and conservation organizations, utility companies and foreign corporations. Now private corporations with a major facility siting certificate awarded by the Department of Environmental Quality can declare eminent domain over private property.
My eight years as a senator have trained me to analyze data and policies and balance Montana law with consumer interests. I am committed to reaching out to people in southeast Montana to understand concerns not only in Billings, but also in Miles City and Forsyth, Red Lodge and Lame Deer.
As your public service commissioner, I will work hard to support utility rates that provide affordable, reliable services to residential and commercial consumers. I will weigh those considerations with the understanding that PSC decisions are required by law to provide opportunities for utility companies to earn a fair rate of return on their investments.
These are complex issues that demand respect not only for Montana laws regulating utilities, but also for the effect of rates on senior citizens with fixed incomes, families, manufacturers, public schools and other consumer groups.
I have been honored to represent Billings as your senator in the state Legislature. Our Legislature is comprised of Montana citizens and I should mention my “day jobs.” As executive director of the Western Heritage Center and most recently as executive director of the Foundation for Community Vitality, I have worked with communities and organizations for over 25 years to preserve remarkable places in our state and nation where we live, work, raise families, recreate and prosper.
Combined, these experiences give me the skills and knowledge necessary for the Public Service Commission. As a mother and grandmother, a “Westerner” who grew up on the windy prairie, I am committed to representing the people of southeastern Montana as your next public service commissioner.