Kimberly Dudik 2020 Election Questionnaire
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.
Attorney General candidate Kimberly Dudik:
What is your full name as it will appear on ballots
What is your age?
Where do you live?
What is your education background?
Frenchtown High School
Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Montana State University
Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Juris Doctorate from the University of Montana School of Law
What is your current occupation?
Attorney and State Legislator, previously Registered Nurse and Advocate for Domestic Violence Survivors
Why are you running for this particular public office?
I am running for Attorney General because Montanans need a fearless and qualified advocate who puts people over politics and fights to improve the everyday lives of Montanans. I am that fearless and qualified leader and I have the record to prove it.
As an attorney, nurse, substitute judge, and legislator, my career has been dedicated to reforming our criminal justice system, protecting children, and fighting to protect Montanans’ rights. I have taken on the big fights and won.
There is a lot at stake in this election and we need elected leaders with proven records of moving our state forward and who are ready to start on day one. I bring an unparalleled level of experience to this race, having been an attorney in Montana for over 17 years with extensive experience in both civil and criminal law.
I have been a private attorney working to protect everyday Montanans, as well as protecting our communities and holding those who break our laws accountable as a Deputy Gallatin County Attorney and Assistant Attorney General under then Attorney General Steve Bullock. This type of frontline prosecutor experience is crucial for the top law enforcement officer of Montana to have.
I also bring unique experience from the healthcare sector, having cared for the most vulnerable as a neonatal intensive care nurse and advocate who helped families escape violent situations.
After serving Montanans for four terms as a state representative and championing substantial reforms that have improved the lives of Montanans, I am ready to continue this fight and put people over politics as Montana’s next Attorney General. I have the lived experience to understand what the needs of our communities are and how best to address those to improve all citizens’ lives and protect our rights.
What makes you qualified to hold this position?
My career of two decades provides vast legal and public health experience that makes me qualified. I am the only candidate in this race, on either side of the aisle, who has the experience and proven record that is necessary to put people over politics and deliver results that matter for everyday Montanans.
That’s why my campaign has been endorsed by over 75 current and former elected officials from across the state of Montana, as well as prominent organizations such as Carol’s List and the Montana Chapter of the National Organization for Women.
I’m from Frenchtown, Montana, proudly educated at the University of Montana and Montana State University. I have four adorable children. My life’s work has been to protect the vulnerable. I held offenders accountable and protected vulnerable populations as a Deputy Gallatin County Attorney and an Assistant Attorney General under Attorney General Steve Bullock.
As a private attorney and small business owner, I fought for the rights of citizens at all levels: from protecting working Montanans’ rights, to fighting for justice for crime victims, to ensuring children are safe. I served the people of Montana as a substitute judge and have been a legislator for the past 8 years, examining and setting the state budget and leading essential reforms.
I bring unique experience in the healthcare and public health arena, having been a registered nurse specializing in neonatal intensive care, an advocate for domestic violence survivors, and director for a hospital. My unparalleled level of experience and proven record of delivering real results is critical for this office because the Attorney General is not just a lawyer. The Attorney General is the top law enforcement officer for our state and serves as an administrator, policy advocate, and member of the Montana State Land Board, as well as the peoples’ attorney.
What are three policy issues that distinguish you from your opponent(s)?
Three policy issues that distinguish my candidacy are access to affordable and comprehensive healthcare; protecting women and children, especially Indigenous women and children; and reforming our criminal justice system. As a nurse, I saw firsthand the choices patients had to make just to afford their medicine. In the legislature, I fought for transparency of drug prices and limiting the increases in costs for some prescriptions. I expanded Medicaid twice, ensuring every Montanan has access to affordable healthcare. I have vocally opposed all efforts to roll back safe and legal reproductive healthcare as a danger to women’s lives and violation of the right to privacy, guaranteed by our state constitution.
As Attorney General, I will fight against any efforts to take away these protections. Violence against women and children has not been adequately addressed in Montana, and as Attorney General I will make sure that recent, positive legal changes I have championed in our state are enforced, such as making the “grooming” behavior that occurs prior to child sexual abuse illegal. I also eliminated the criminal statute of limitations for prosecutions against those who sexually abuse children. Our failure to protect Indigenous women requires particular attention. I was part of the legislature last year that passed three bills to address the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons. I will work to dramatically improve these critical investigations as Attorney General. I led essential reforms to our criminal justice system by addressing mental health and chemical dependency and starting the only state-funded holistic criminal defense program in the nation, providing wraparound services to individuals for their specific needs, but more needs done.
As Attorney General, I will continue reforming our criminal justice system by expanding access to mental health and chemical dependency treatment and pretrial diversion programs so our communities are safe.
What are the greatest issues facing Montana that have gone unsolved by elected officials and how would you address them?
The challenges our Tribal communities are facing have been insufficiently addressed for too long. I will elevate the conversation surrounding tribal justice issues, especially violence against women and children. We must identify the underlying causes of increased violence against Montana’s Tribal Members and implement a comprehensive plan with our Tribal Nations to effectively address criminal justice and violence-related issues. I will build on the work already being done through the Attorney General’s Office and establish an official Office of Native American Affairs with representation from all tribes and tribal communities to work in partnership to solve these problems, enhancing efforts already being made. Members from all tribes and tribal communities as well as local, state, and federal officials will meet regularly so barriers to justice can be identified and improvements made together to make our communities safer.
Having affordable health care and prescriptions is a problem for too many Montanans. I will create a Prescription Drug Accountability Task Force to address drug pricing and related practices in Montana with the goal of ensuring prescriptions are affordable. I will utilize the powers unique to the Attorney General and enforce existing laws to ensure there is no drug price-gouging, consumer fraud, antitrust actions, or other violations occurring that increase pharmaceutical and health care prices. I will continue to protect all Montanans and work to improve the public safety in all our communities. The toll chemical dependency issues, especially methamphetamine abuse, are taking on our communities has not been adequately addressed. Montana has insufficient resources and programs available that are dedicated to alternative criminal justice and increased treatment responses for chemical dependency problems. This lack has caused increased public safety problems and needs to be addressed. We need coordinated leadership at all levels to improve our prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation efforts.