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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Biden chooses former Montana lawmaker for state rural development director

Kathleen Williams is the 2020 Democratic candidate for Montana's lone U.S. House seat.
Olga Kreimer
Montana Public Radio

The Biden administration has tapped a former Democratic state lawmaker and congressional candidate to lead a rural U.S Department of Agriculture program in Montana.

Kathleen Williams was sworn in Monday to serve as USDA’s Montana State Director for Rural Development.

According to Williams, that means it’s now her responsibility to be an ally and advocate for rural Montana.

“Whether it’s helping with wastewater systems to housing preservation to broadband and lots of different grant and loan and assistance programs,” she says.

Williams is a Bozeman Democrat who served in the Montana legislature and made two unsuccessful bids for the U.S House.

Williams replaces USDA Montana’s Acting State Director for Rural Development, Jake Ceartin. Ceartin will now resume his position as the office’s assistant director.

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at