The Montana Democratic Party’s new executive director is no stranger to state politics.
Monica Lindeen replaces Nancy Keenan, who led the party since 2015. Lindeen served eight years as the State Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, and then lost the 2016 Secretary of State race to Republican Corey Stapleton. On Wednesday Stapleton announced he’s running for governor.
Lindeen also served eight years in the state house, representing the Billings area. Most recently, she’s led YWCA Helena.
"It’s interesting – I thought I was done with politics," Lindeen says.
But Lindeen says enough people convinced her to replace Keenan who recently retired as head of Montana Democrats.
“After being away for a couple of years, you miss it. And I’m really drawn to helping out the folks here in Montana. Montana is my first love – after my family, of course.”
Lindeen says Keenan did an "incredible" job.
“She built upon a good organization and made it a great organization. And I’m looking forward to taking that great work and building on that.”
Among her priorities, working with Democratic leadership during the legislative session that starts next week to, “Make sure that we are holding Republican legislators accountable.”
Lindeen also wants to make sure qualified Democratic candidates get recruited who she says will, “Represent those issues that are important to Montanans, like protecting those Montanans who have pre-existing conditions, defending our public lands and making sure that we’re keeping our rural hospitals open.”
Lindeen hopes the new Democratic majority in the U.S. House, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will be able to work with the Republican-led Senate.
“And I think that we need to make sure that folks are putting aside partisan rancor and they're working hard to do the job that the people in this country sent them to do.”
The 56-year-old Lindeen won the Democratic primary for Montana’s U.S. House seat in 2006, but lost the general election to Republican Denny Rehberg.