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A Billings Democrat, active in state party politics, filed recently for the open seat in House District 19.

June Hermanson wants to replace Rep. Tom Dell, D-Billings, who did not run for re-election this year because of commitments to his business. Billings labor leader, Republican Mike Lange has filed for the GOP nomination in HD 19. Dell served two terms in the Montana House. Lange won the GOP primary in 2000 by eight votes. Dell turned back Lange's challenge in the general election by 180 votes.

Hermanson, 48, wants to address education problems at every level to promote development of partnerships with the private sector.

"A crucial first step is building communication between the Legislature, the Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Higher Education," she said.

She said the burden for K-12 education has been pushed to the property taxpayers and called for research into increased partnerships. "It has been successful in other states, but we have not done enough research on that," she said.

Hermanson, who is legally blind, believes the Legislature could use more members with disabilities. She was highly critical of the reorganization of the executive agencies that resulted in the Department of Health and Human Services.

"Bigger is not better," she said. "It makes good theory, but it let the people down. I am disappointed that there is not going to be a special session to address the current budget shortfalls."

Hermanson

Electrical deregulation and the advancement of the initiative to purchase the hydroelectric dams, is also a priority for the next session.

Hermanson is a project coordinator at the Montana Center on Disabilities, the public service arm of Montana State University-Billings. She is also a graduate student in education at MSU-B.

She ran for the Montana Legislature in 1988 in House District 74 against John Mercer. She has served six years on the Montana Democratic party Executive Board and served as vice-chair four years.

District 19 is in central west Billings.

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