2018 Targeted Candidates
Billings | Senate District 24
Mary McNally is running for re-election to the Senate, where she has served since 2014. She is Professor Emeritus in the College of Business at MSU Billings, was a member of the Energy and Conservation Commission for the City of Billings, is a board member of the Friends of Public Radio, and an alumnus of Leadership Montana. She also served on the boards of the Alberta Bair Theater and Community Seven and was a member of Zonta, an international organization of executives in business and the professions working to advance the status of women. She is a cancer survivor, and previously volunteered for Reach to Recovery. Mary is married to Monte Smith, a geologist. Prior to her service in the Senate, Mary served two terms in the Montana House of Representatives.
Missoula | Senate District 49
Diane Sands is running for re-election to the Senate, where she has served since 2014. She was born in St. Ignatius and grew up on the Fort Peck Reservation. She graduated from the University of Montana and has lived in Missoula for over 50 years. A tireless advocate for women, Diane was the founder of Montana’s for Choice (now NARAL Montana). Diane is a former board member of Planned Parenthood and Blue Mountain Women’s Clinic. Before retiring from the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, Diane worked in many public interest organizations, including Missoula’s Partnership Health Center and at the Office of Public Instruction. After a decade as executive director of the Montana Women’s Lobby, Diane served as a member of the Montana House of Representatives for four terms prior to being elected to the Senate.
Great Falls | House District 22
Laura Dever is running because she believes that more strong, progressive women serving in state government can create lasting legislative changes that will benefit all Montana citizens. She and her family work hard, get involved to improve their community and enjoy Montana’s beautiful parks and public lands whenever they can. Her priorities are excellent public education, access to quality affordable health care, equal pay for equal work, infrastructure investment, a sustainable recreational economy, a strong small business economy, support for the military, veterans, and first responders, and public access to public lands. Laura wants to make a difference and to help change the legislature's priorities to reflect what matters to real Montanans.
Great Falls | House District 24
Barbara Bessette is running for office because she doesn’t want to just talk about creating change, she wants to be the change. Barbara was born and raised in the wide open spaces of Montana. She works in her community to reduce substance abuse among youth and young adults. Barbara is a barrel racer that knows the value of hard work. She has served as the chair of her county’s DUI Task Force, currently serves on a number of coalitions that help to fight substance abuse and work to bring the community together. She is passionate about creating healthy Montanans and being a representative for everyone.
Billings | House District 50
Jade Bahr was born in Crow Agency, MT. She is an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe. At age three she moved with her mother and brother, Jake, to Billings, MT. She grew up and graduated from Billings Senior high but while growing up spent her summers living on the Crow Reservation with her grandparents. After high school, Jade earned a bachelor's degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Inequalities and Social Justice from the University of Montana. She began her interest in social services ten years ago after working as a receptionist at a foster-care network for Native American youth. She saw a real need for these services and continued to work for programs targeted toward at-risk youth. She currently works with adults with disabilities in supported living and supported employment services.
Billings | House District 52
Amelia was born and raised in Billings, Montana. She graduated from Senior High and acquired her degree from MSU Billings. Amelia has advocated for the arts and youth through theatre. She has taught students in the school district about important issues through art. She is serving as the Yellowstone County Democrats Vice Chairwoman. Currently, Amelia works at a non-profit mental health organization for children. She also works part-time at a department store, takes care of her foster siblings, and assists in making the government work for the people.
Eldena Bear Don't Walk
Saint Ignatius | House District 93
Eldena Bear Don’t Walk is running for the House because she wants to give a voice to her community. She is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and a descendant of the Crow and Chippewa people (Turtle Mountain and Little Shell). Eldena is a public defender for the State of Montana, Chief Appellate Justice of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and serves on the Montana Human Rights Commission. She is actively engaged in mentoring the youth in her community and has helped many achieve their dreams. Her priorities are the support of the public defender system, the department of corrections, and the mental healthcare system.
Great Falls | House District 25
A retired Postmaster, Jasmine Krotkov has been serving the Great Falls area since 1995. She served as a board member, editor and legislative liaison for the United Postmasters and Managers of America. She earned undergraduate degrees in International Political Systems and AgroEcology from Simon’s Rock Early College and World College West and went on to earn certification in Horticulture from UC Berkeley. As a dedicated outdoors enthusiast, Krotkov spends the winter months grooming the cross country ski trails at Silver Crest Cross Country Area. Her priorities are education, the environment, healthcare, and corporate responsibility.
Billings | House District 48
Jessica Karjala was first elected to represent House District 48 in 2014 where she fought tirelessly to protect and expand the rights of people with disabilities and access to Medicaid. She earned a degree from the University of Montana in English Literature with minor studies in Nonprofit Administration and Spanish. She moved to Billings, MT where she has worked as a volunteer manager, Director of Marketing, and as a statewide Program Director. It is her background and deep understanding of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid that has helped her develop and pass legislation for better support and services for people with disabilities. When Karjala is not enjoying time with her grandson, Stanley, she also likes to ski, hike, and camp in the beauty of Montana’s public outdoors.
East Missoula | House District 92
Lee Bridges is running for the House with the promise to “build bridges to common ground.” She grew up in an Air Force family, and after high school worked as a draftsman, various ranch jobs, and a carpenter on the Ute Reservation. After a motorcycle accident in 1983, she went back to school at Montana State University and Helena Vo-tech and became a fabricator specializing in architectural sheet metal design and construction. Lee has always been active in her communities, volunteering for the Park Service at Riverbend Park and Great Falls Park in VA, the Humane Society in Bozeman, and First Responder and medical training officer for the East Missoula Volunteer Fire Dept. She is currently a member of the East Missoula Sewer Board and the East Missoula Community Council.