I was born in Ronan Mt. in March of 1938. My parents left the dust bowl of Eastern Idaho to have a new beginning in the beautiful Mission Valley of Western Montana. My father farmed and did custom harvesting while my mother worked hard to raise 5 kids and manage the household including a large garden, chickens, an orchard and all of the challenges involved with being a farm wife and mother.
I graduated from High School and after the summer work, entered the Army. For the next two years I did all of the Army things and since it was a time that the Nation was between wars I stayed stateside and served in a training company. When I returned I rejoined the family farm with my father and two brothers. That fall I married my High School sweetheart Faithe, this September we will have been married for 54 years. We were blessed with two children, Coleen, who with her husband David, lives in Helena and Ward who lives in Missoula and teaches 3rd grade in Lone Rock. We have two grand-daughters, Meghan who is attending U of M Western in Dillon and Morgan who is heading for Eastern Washington Univ. this next fall.
Faithe and I farmed and because of the economy at that time did other outside jobs trying to keep our young family fed and clothed. In the fall of 1962 I got a job driving truck for the local feed mill. Five years later I was assistant manager and was re-assigned to Hamilton as Manager of the new feed plant. Nine years later the company transferred us to Minneapolis where I worked as National Product Manager. Two years later the company decided to sell the Hamilton facility and we made the decision to venture into the private sector and purchased the plant.
Faithe and I started Lake Milling Inc. and over the next 22 years evolved from a local supply business to a regional feed manufacturing and distribution company.
During the 43 years we have lived in Hamilton I have been involved in many community and state activities. I was honored to serve as Bitterroot Chamber of Commerce President, Chairman of the Board for the Montana Chamber of Commerce, President of the Montana Feed Manufacturer Assn., President of the Montana Chamber Foundation, Montana delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business and many other boards and advisory groups. Faithe and I sold Lakeland Feeds in 2000. This gave me the opportunity to pursue other interests, namely politics.
In 2002 I was elected to the Montana House of Representatives. For the next 8 years I served on The Taxation Committee and as Chairman for 4 years. I also spent 8 years on the Education Committee. During the 8 years in the House I was honored to be chosen to be on the Select Committee that dealt with the Education funding lawsuit and the definition of a quality system of schools and the committee chosen to review all of the taxes paid by Montanans’.
I was elected to the Senate in 2010 after terming out of the House. I serve as Vice-Chairman of the Taxation Committee, on the Education and Energy Committees.
I am on the Legislative Advisory Committee for WICHE (Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education), on the Taxation and Economic affairs committee for American Legislative Exchange Council and the Education committee for National Council of State Legislatures.
I have received a rating of 100% from the Montana Family Collation, Guardian of Small Business from NFIB, The Most Valuable Policymaker from the Montana Chamber of Commerce and have always rated high with NRA.