Butte representative says she's being urged to seek House seat

2013-07-16T19:24:00Z 2013-07-21T06:18:08Z Butte representative says she's being urged to seek House seatBy CHARLES S. JOHNSON Gazette State Bureau The Billings Gazette

HELENA — State Rep. Amanda Curtis, D-Butte, a freshman lawmaker best known for her daily video reports on the Legislature, said she is being urged by a number of people to run for the U.S. House next year.

“I have not made any decision about running,” Curtis said Tuesday. “I’m really proud and content to do what I’ve been doing now.”

She said she has been called and stopped on the street with increasing regularity by a number of people asking her to run for the U.S. House.

“It’s humbling. It’s heartwarming. It’s somewhat surprising,” Curtis said in an interview. “If that opportunity presents itself, I would be crazy to say no. I know that I have an army of supporters, a list of people who would give money and a number of people who said they would quit their jobs and work for a campaign.”

She added, “I do not have any plans at this time to run. I am starting to feel more pressure on a weekly basis, if not a daily basis, to step up to the plate.”

Curtis, 33, is a math teacher at Butte High School.

She became best known for the 87 videos, one a day, that she produced during the session. In front of a camera, Curtis recounted what happened on the House floor that day, offered her opinion on the issues and comments made during debates. She posted them on her Facebook page and on YouTube.

Curtis said she hadn’t planned to do the daily videos until she came home with “the shiny new laptop” she received as a legislator from the state “and decided I better be using it for something.” She had never made videos, but quickly figured out how to do it.

“I can’t track on Facebook who watches and shares the videos,” she said. “On YouTube, I had viewers from every state and 50 different countries. One was picked up by Huffington Post and had 50,000 views. I thought maybe my friends and family would watch it to spy on me.

“Who knew that it was going to reach a statewide audience and a young audience? If nothing else comes of it, I’m really proud of that.”

Curtis said she hasn’t set a deadline on deciding whether to run for the House.

“I’m so thankful to have these options,” she said.

The U.S. House seat is now held by freshman Rep. Steve Daines, a Republican.

Some political insiders expect that Daines now may run instead for the U.S. Senate now that Democratic incumbent Max Baucus announced in April he would retire and not seek re-election. In addition, former Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer had been gearing up to run, but said Saturday he had decided not to run.

Curtis is a Billings native with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a secondary teaching certification in biology and mathematics from University of Montana-Western.

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