The new Montana governor picked a Hill County farmer with a wealth of local government experience to serve on the state board that oversees state investments and administers loans provided to local governments and which stimulate economic development.
Gov. Steve Bullock said Tuesday that retired Hill County Commissioner Kathy Bessette is one of his four appointments to the Montana Board of Investments of the state Department of Commerce.
“I’m humbled,” Bessette said this morning, adding that she believes her experience in local government can help her in her new duties.
Bessette declined to run for re-election last year, retiring at the end of December after 22 years as county commissioner. She will represent the agriculture sector on the Board of Investments.
She said she also will sit on the committee that oversees the board’s loan program to local governments for infrastructure projects, such as water and sewer projects.
“We’ve used it before,” Bessette said, adding that it is a valuable tool for local governments.
The board oversees the investment of all state funds in the Unified Investment Program that was created by the state Constitution. The largest components of the program are state pension funds, trust funds and Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
The board also oversees loans made for in-state projects to businesses, local governments and economic development organizations.
The governor appoints the members of the board, subject to approval of the state Senate. Four are appointed to four-year terms coinciding with the governor’s term, while five are appointed to four-year terms in the middle of the governor’s term of office.
Additionally, Bullock appointed retired Missoula school teacher Marilyn Ryan as the representative of the Teacher’s Retirement System, re-appointed Billings attorney Mark Noennig as the business representative and to serve as chair of the board, and reappointed retired Great Falls banker Jack Prothero as the small business representative.
Bessette said her first meetings with the rest of the board will take place next week. The board is scheduled to meet five more times in 2013 after that.
Bessette said the board has a very competent staff that provides information to the board to use in making its decisions.
“It’s going to be a lot of reading and a lot of big numbers … ,” she said. “I’ve done quite a bit of reading already.
“I know that it will take some homework,” she added.