Tuss Enters Race to Represent Havre in State Legislature

HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) – A second candidate is planning to enter the race to represent Havre in the State Legislature.

Democrat Paul Tuss has announced he is joining the race for House District 28, where incumbent Republican Ed Hill had been the only candidate to file.

Tuss has served as the Executive Director of Bear Paw Development Corporation for 22 years and serves on the Business Advisory Board for MSU-Northern and as an officer of the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce. He has previously been a member of the Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education.

Tuss previously ran as a Democrat for Senate District 14, which represents Havre and most of Hill County, as well as all of Liberty County and most of Chouteau County, in 2018. Tuss lost by 132 votes to Republican Russ Tempel. Tempel has filed for re-election and is currently the only candidate in that race.

In a press release announcing his candidacy, Tuss also announced the formation of a 20-member campaign steering committee of people endorsing his candidacy.

The list includes Chippewa Cree Chief of Staff Richard Sangrey, current Mayor Doug Kaercher, former Mayor Tim Solomon, former Havre Chief of Police Mike Shortell, Former State Representative John Musgrove (D), and two current (Lindsey Ratliff, who is the Chair of the Hill County Democrats, and Heather Parker) and three former (Jay Pyette, Terry Lilletvedt, and Karen Swenson) City Council members.

The Co-Chairs of the Committee are Patrick Construction owner Tom Patrick and MSU-Northern Chief Diversity Officer/Advisor to the Chancellor/Tribal Liaison Dr. Margaret Campbell.

Another member of the Committee is Krystal Steinmetz, former Chair of the Hill County Democrats. Steinmetz ran for HD 28 as a Democrat in 2020 and lost by 163 votes to Hill. She is currently the Marketing and Events Director at the Boys and Girls Club of the Hi-Line.

Other members of the Committee:

  • Schine Electric Owner Debbie Rhines (Treasurer of the Committee). Rhines has previously run as a Republican for a seat on the Hill County Commission, as well as on the Havre City Council back when Havre municipal elections were partisan
  • Local Chairman of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Russ Stinnett
  • Hi-Line Chemical Owner Arlene Rice
  • Vice President of Havre Firefighters Local 601 Cody McLain
  • Havre Education Association President Jess Jones
  • Jeff Hockett of Hockett Farms
  • Claire Stoner of DJ Farming Inc

In the release, Tuss stated that the individuals on the committee “agree that finding common ground to solve the problems we face in Montana is far more important than what political party you belong to.”

Tuss added that his campaign will “emphasize issues that are particularly important to Havre and rural northern Montana, including proper funding for MSU-Northern and public education, infrastructure improvements, access to public lands, support for law enforcement and policies that promote small business growth.”

The filing period closes at 5 PM on March 14th. The primary will take place June 7th, with the General Election set for November 8th.

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