Editor's note: This is the second of a short series of articles to acquaint area voters with candidates whose names will appear on the June 6 primary election ballot at various voting sites within Hill County.
No surprises are expected in Tuesday's primary election races for county and statewide offices. All of the candidates on the Republican and Democratic ballots, with the exception of the U.S. senatorial contests, are running unopposed. The outcome, however, could give voters a glimpse of what to expect in two races for spots in the state Legislature in November's general election.
State Senate candidates Ken “Kim” Hansen, the Democratic incumbent from Harlem, and Richard Cronk, his Republican challenger from Chinook, will square off in the fall for the Senate District 17 seat. The
other legislative race heating up in the fall will be in House District 33 between incumbent Democrat Bob Bergren and Republican challenger Terry Schend, both of Havre.
The candidates were asked to pro-
vide a brief personal history and their reasons for running for office.
Rep. Bob Bergren, D-Havre, is a Havre native. He and his wife, Julie, have been married for 22 years and have a son, Bob Jr., 21, attending Montana State University-Bozeman, and a daughter, Shannon, 17, an incoming senior at Havre
High School. Bergren graduated from Havre High School in 1982 and attended Montana State University-Northern in 1983. He has been with the Havre Fire Department since 1985 and is currently an engineer and emergency medical
technician-I. He and his wife own Julie's Hallmark in the Havre Holiday Village Shopping Center. Bergren is a volunteer with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, sponsors the annual community Christmas Dinner, and is a former Havre City Council member. He has served on the Montana AFL-CIO executive board since
2001 and the Montana State Firemen's Association executive board since 1994. He was first elected to the Montana House of Representatives in 2002 and served as majority whip since 2004. He sits on the House agriculture,
transportation, business and labor, and interim committee - legislative council. He sponsored the Country of Origin Labeling for meat cuts and the mandatory ethanol use in Montana. He also sponsored a bill to make it easier to manage rural water and sewer districts and negotiated rate reductions for grain shipping for the
Bergren said his priorities, if re-elected, include affordable energy through regulation of the energy industry, renewable energy through bio-fuels production in Montana, fair shipping rates for farmers, expansion of
higher education funding, health care and insurance coverage for the elderly, creating good paying jobs, and seeking a third term in the House.
Terry Schend attended St. Judes through his freshman year and graduatCollege. He worked for the Great Northern Railway and Burlington Northern Railway from 1963 to 1976. He started Tempo Electric in 1976 and sold it to Syndicated Technologies in 2002. He managed the Montana region for Syntech until 2004. He is currently an estimator and consultant for Schine Electric. Terry and his former wife, Barbara, have grown four children and 10 grandchildren. He married Vicke Larson in 2002 and became stepfather to her two grown sons.
Schend was elected to Havre City Council in 2004 and re-elected in 2005. He serves on the finance, streets and sidewalks and water and sewer committees and is chair of the labor and negotiation, police and fire, and council rules of procedure committees. He is an alternate member of council to Bear Paw Development.
Schend is a longtime volunteer with the American Red Cross, serving as Hill County Chapter chair before it was rechartered and as representative of Bears Paw Chapter after rechartering. He also served as chair of the Montana State Service Council, during which he oversaw the reorganization of 13 chapters into a single chapter. He is a founding member of the Montana Subcontractors Association and helped to initiate two electrical degree programs at Montana State University-Northern.
Schend is a member of the Havre Lions Club and was elected to be president in 2007-2008. He and Vicke are Adopt-A-Parents for the MSU-N volleyball and basketball athletes. In 2005, he was nominated to serve as a board member of the MSUN Foundation and has served on the Foundation Fund Drive and Search Committee. He will begin a term as president of the foundation in 2007.
Schend said he is involved with the church of his choice and attends Sunday services regularly.
“Personal responsibility to your God, family, community and to yourself is what I am all about,” Schend said. “Service to others, whether it be in work, civic or fraternal organizations, or just being a friend, is what fills my cup. I also believe this will continue to keep our community cohesive and strong.”
Schend said his focus will be on educating children in the belief in God, respect for others, the dangers of drugs and the benefits of good health habits. He also considers energy exploration and development “essential for growth of our economy and reduction of dependence on foreign nations for energy.”
“Energy development need not always be extracted from the ground, but may be planted, therefore, becoming a renewable resource,” Schend said. “We will need to build processing plants to convert these products to usable commodity, thereby giving producers not only a local market, but hopefully a market that will have a better profit margin.
“Bringing back our agricultural economy would assure the present and future family farms and communities the opportunity to survive and grow once again,” he added. “This will be sustainable economic development, not the large employer based companies, but the small businesses that will develop and grow within a community.”
Richard Cronk of Chinook, a third generation Blaine County rancher, was born in Havre. He graduated from Harlem High School and Montana State University in Bozeman with a degree in general ag and served in the U.S. Army in Germany as a lieutenant in a missile battalion. After serving in the Army, Cronk returned to the family ranch in eastern Blaine County. He and his wife are currently sole owners and leased out the property two years ago.
Cronk served on the Harlem Study Commission, the Harlem School Board, 15 years on Blaine County Fair Board, six years on the Farm Service Agency Committee, and 12 years on the Board of the Equity Co-op of Harlem, Hogeland and Turner. Cronk is currently a member of Montana Stockgrowers, the Montana Grain Growers, the Harlem VFW, Chinook Lions Club, the Chinook Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Chinook Lutheran Church Council.
He is married to Paulette, an NMC graduate, who currently substitute teaches at Havre High School. They have three children, Jason, Trevor and Shantel and three grandchildren.
Cronk said he is running for the Senate because he believes more can be done to represent the needs of Hill and Blaine counties. He is a big believer in education, he said, and a strong supporter of MSU-N. A successful farmer, rancher and business owner, Cronk knows firsthand the challenges of operating a business in Montana and seeks to improve the business climate in our state.
“Our veterans and senior citizens need to be taken care of,” Cronk said.
Cronk said he looks forward to visiting with all the voters in District 17 in Hill and Blaine counties.
Sen. Ken “Kim” Hansen, D-Harlem, a third-generation farmer and rancher, is seeking his third term in the state Senate. Hansen was born in Havre in 1951. He graduated from Harlem High School and attended MSU-N and MSU-Bozeman. He graduated from Western College of Auctioneering.
Hansen and his wife, Renee, have five grown children and four grandchildren.
He is a former Harlem School Board member, and served on Gov. Ted Schwinden's economic council development board, North Central Montana Stockgrowers board, Sweet Memorial Health board, Milk River Co-op board and on Gov. Brian Schweitzer's freight rate commission.
“I am just now finishing my second term in the Montana Senate and feel that my job is only half done,” Hansen said. “I have been serving on some very important committees, such as the economic affairs, finance and claims, fish and game, natural resource subcommittee as vice chair, and Senate agriculture as chairman.
“With my past experience and voting record, I feel that I am in a good position to help the people on the Hi-Line,” he added. “I have worked hard on education, economic development and energy. I helped to balance the budget, and support many programs that benefit the people in District 17. This was all done by living within our means and without raising property taxes.”
Hansen said his priorities lie with “anything that will affect the people of this district and the state of Montana.”
“We must protect the children of this great state and the environment that we all live in.”