Missoula Democrat Dave Strohmaier said this morning that he believes his experience and abilities make him an ideal candidate for what he sees as the role of lawmakers in Washington.
“If I was to boil my campaign down to one theme, it would come down to the word stewardship, ” Strohmaier said in an interview with the Havre Daily News.
Strohmaier announced his candidacy in June in the race for Montana’s sole seat in the U. S. House of Representatives.
Incumbent Rep. Denny Rehberg, a Republican, has announced he will run against incumbent U. S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., in 2012, so the race for the House seat is wide open.
Bozeman business man Steve Daines, a Republican, switched from his announced candidacy for Tester’s seat to the race for Rehberg’s seat after Rehberg announced his Senate candidacy. Former Klu Klux Klan organizer John Abarr also has announced he plans to run as a Republican.
Other Democrats who have announced they will run for the House seat are state Sen. Kim Gillan and state Rep. Franke Wilmer.
Strohmaier was in Havre en route east, with plans to make a stop at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation today, head to Wolf Point tonight and travel to Scobey and Plentywood over the weekend.
He added that stopping at Indian reservations is a main goal of his early campaign. Promoting and increasing the respect of Indian nation sovereignty, and government-to-government relations both on a state level and a national level, is one of his goals, Strohmaier said.
“Since they are the native population, I want to make a concerted effort to reach out to them, ” he said.
Strohmaier, a former wildland firefighter for the U. S. Bureau of Land Management and U. S. Forest Service, now a historian in Missoula who is serving his second term on the Missoula City Council, said his best reasons not to run also are his primary reason for running.
The 7- and 4-year-old children, Ezra and Leizel, he and his wife, Gretchen, are raising give him good reason to not take the time to campaign for office and, if elected, to serve — he would rather be with them, Strohmaier said.
But they also are his reason for running — they and other Montana children.
“And for the future generations of Montanans, ” Strohmaier said.
“These two kids truly give me every reason in the world to not embark on this …, ” he said. “On the other hand … they give me every reason in the world to get in the race. “
He said it also is incumbent on people to give back to and to serve the communities that have helped and sheltered them throughout their lives. He wants to do that for Montana by serving in Congress, Strohmaier said.
“I would be remiss to let this opportunity slide by, ” he said.
His idea of stewardship is to protect, preserve and promote all aspects of life, Strohmaier said.
That includes being stewards of the land — not only to protect the land, air and water but to protect Montana’s tradition of agriculture and other industries — and to be stewards of the public trust. He said the “antics” in Washington over the last few weeks and last few months may have eroded that.
“I think the public is tired of that, ” Strohmaier said.
He said his background, including his time on the Missoula City Council, helps him work with others to reach agreement. Even when people disagree on issues, they should be civil, Strohmaier said.
He tied that together with his idea of being a steward of public investment.
“I’ve seen it in my community and other communities, ” Strohmaier said. “Investments made by all of us, working together, can make communities healthy and create economic development. ”