HomeTop StoriesTwo Republicans and one Democrat are vying for the newly designated House...

Two Republicans and one Democrat are vying for the newly designated House District 11

April 17 – Three candidates are seeking to represent the newly appointed House District 11, an area that includes southeastern Kalispell, Creston, Lake Blaine and northern Bigfork, in November.

Republicans Rob Tracy and Ed Bryne, in addition to Democrat Jennifer Allenare all trying to secure their first terms in the state legislature.

Tracy, the former Bigfork School District transportation director, is making his second run for the Legislature after coming up short against Sen. Mark Noland in Senate District 5 in the 2022 primary.

According to Tracy, former colleagues encouraged him to take up running again this year. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Tracy has lived in the Flathead Valley since 2007, although he has relatives in the area who have lived here since the 1970s. Tracy volunteers with the Bigfork Fire Department and works as a school bus driver in Bigfork.

Tracy, who will face Byrne on June 4, said he is running to give his community a presence in Helena that will work for and with them. After speaking with residents of House District 11, Tracy said many are tired of the Legislature “not doing much at all.”

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“There’s such dissatisfaction that a lot of people don’t think their votes count, but they do,” Tracy said.

Tracy said his focus is on supporting teachers and students, lowering property taxes and addressing health care costs, while also listening to community needs as they arise.

“It’s good if there is a bipartisan solution being worked on. I believe solutions don’t come from one party taking away from what the other party has, but from complementing it and saying let’s work together,” said he.

His main opponent is campaigning against property taxes, scrutinizing water agreements and resolving the issue of corner crossings, when people or hunters must cross private property to get back onto public land.

Bryne’s family has lived in the valley since the early 1900s, he said, and still lives on the same land. Bryne manages the family farm near Lake Blaine.

Bryne served in the U.S. Army for 30 years and has held positions with Republicans in the Valley, including treasurer for the campaigns of Republican Senator John Fuller and Republican Flathead County Commissioner Randy Brodehl.

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“I have the determination and leadership skills to serve in the Legislature. I’m not about the drama,” Bryne said.

The district also has a Democratic candidate, Jennifer Allen, a social worker originally from Pennsylvania. Allen has lived throughout Montana, but now lives near Bigfork.

Growing up as a Quaker, serving others is a core value, Allen said.

“I got into politics in the first place because I wanted to continue to serve others… I felt very strongly that you can’t grumble about what’s going on if you’re not willing to stand up and do that.” the work,” Allen said.

This is Allen’s third run for the Legislature. She previously campaigned for Senate District 5 against Senator Bob Kennan in 2018 and for House District 10 in 2020 against Representative Mark Noland.

“…This is an important race for the valley as there are no incumbents,” Allen said.

Expanding Medicaid, addressing climate change at the state level, protecting reproductive rights and supporting agriculture are among the issues she is focusing on during her campaign.

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Reporter Kate Heston can be reached at kheston@dailyinterlake.com or 758-4459.

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