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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Bryce Bennett 2020 Election Questionnaire

Bryce Bennett is the 2020 Democratic candidate for secretary of state.
Montana Legislature

Montana Public Radio is gathering information on all statewide primary candidates to publish as a resource for our audience. We asked all the statewide candidates to respond to the following questions via email, limiting their answers to 300 words per question. These are their unedited responses.

Secretary of State candidate Bryce Bennett:

What is your full name as it will appear on ballots?

Bryce Bennett

What is your age?


What is your education background?

Bachelor's Degree (Communication Studies) - University of Montana

What is your current occupation?

State Senator

Non-Profit Executive Director

Why are you running for this particular public office?

I am running for this office to ensure Montanans can always count on their Secretary of State to be fair, honest, ethical, and hardworking. When I’m Secretary of State, Montanans will always know I’m working for them - no matter who you are or how you vote.

I’ve built my career working across the aisle to make our democracy more secure, accessible, and stronger than ever before. I’ve championed legislation to improve access to voting for rural communities across Montana, fixed our broken vote by mail system, and helped pass the nation’s leading dark money reform. As Secretary of State, I’ll give Main Street business a seat at the table so we can work together to build a system that allows folks to get in, get out, and get back to putting food on their table. I’ll also continue my record of protecting access to the public lands we as Montanans all own.

What makes you qualified to hold this position?

I’ve brought people together to successfully solve problems, save taxpayer dollars, improve lives for working Montanans - and I have the record to prove it. As a legislator, I worked to expand Medicaid to ensure our neighbors in need could go to the doctor when they get sick. I was named Legislator of the Year for my efforts to pass laws shining a light on dark money special interests which have no place in Montana’s elections. I was recognized as the most pro-business candidate by the Montana Chamber of Commerce of anyone in this race for my work prioritizing jobs last session. I’ve also fought off extreme efforts to sell off our public lands to the highest bidder. As a Vice-Chair of the legislative committee that directly oversees this office, I’ve ensured every voice is heard and every vote is counted - not only in our elections, but in the halls of our Capitol.

What are three policy issues that distinguish you from your opponent(s)?

DARK MONEY - Montana’s elections need to be for Montanans. That is why we need leaders with a record of standing up to out of state special interests intent on pouring millions of dollars of undisclosed money into Montana’s elections. While my opponents have colluded with dark money groups and fought attempts to clean up our elections, I’ve stood with Montana voters and helped pass legislation to fix the problem. I was proud to be a leader in the effort to pass the DISCLOSE Act, which made every penny spent in our elections transparent and accountable to voters, so the only voice that matters on Election Day is those of us in Montana.

ACCESS TO PUBLIC LANDS - I’ve championed bills to hold folks accountable who put gates and barbed wire across our fishing and hunting access roads to keep us from the lands we all own. We need leaders on the Land Board who will partner with private landowners to open up more access to sportsmen/women, hikers, and everyone who wants to explore these special places. While my opponents have supported bills to start the process of selling off our public lands to the highest bidder - I will never let that happen.

SECURITY - The integrity of Montana’s elections are being challenged in a way we haven’t seen since the corruption of the Copper Kings. We need a Secretary of State who won’t sit idly by while foriegn hackers attempt to infiltrate our election infrastructure and break not only the integrity of our system, but Montanan’s faith in it. We must bolster our election security by allowing the cyber security experts in our National Guard to make our voter registration lists and election results resistant to hackers.

What are the greatest issues facing Montana that have gone unsolved by elected officials and how would you address them?

As I’ve travelled the state, I’ve heard from Montanas about what is impacting their lives and our communities. From the rising cost of health care and prescription drugs, a quality education for their kids, and an economy that works for everyone, folks want our elected officials to put party politics aside and get things done for Montana. Unfortunately, what they see is out of state special interests stopping the progress they need on these pocketbook issues and drowning out their voices with dark money on Election Day. It makes many Montanans question whether their vote matters or their voices are even being heard.

We need a Secretary of State who will push back on the influence of dark money groups, so the only voices that matter on Election Day are Montana voters. I will work to engage all Montanans in our democracy to ensure that we have a government that works for all of us. We need a Secretary of State who will inspire people to not just know how

to vote, but why it is so critically important. I’ll work with civics groups, high schools, and anyone who wants to be a partner in helping Montana continue to have a vibrant democracy. Ensuring voices are heard from all corners of the state will help us build a government that truly works for us.

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