By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
The Republican candidate in House District 33 said he would work to improve job creation, the education system and the prices farmers receive in north-central Montana.
"In our area, the demographics, the loss of jobs, job creation and the cost of doing business are all concerns that I have and that our community has," said Havre-area businessman and farmer Kenneth Wilson.
"Certainly I would support legislation to correct these concerns, for jobs, fair trade, affordable education and affordable health care," he said.
Wilson filed to become a candidate on March 25, the filing deadline, at the request of the Hill County Republican Party. He has no opponent in the primary, and faces Rep. Bob Bergren, D-Havre, in the general election.
Wilson said his knowledge of local issues and his desire to listen to people would make him a good legislator.
"Listening to our local community, knowing what questions to ask, would lead to positive decisions for presented bills," Wilson said.
Wilson's parents farmed in Hill County. He graduated from Havre High School, and studied business education at Northern Montana College, now Montana State University-Northern, and received a degree in business finance with a minor in social sciences from Montana State University in Bozeman.
He continued to work on the family farms while he was employed in mid-level to upper management at First Security Bank, now Independence Bank, in Havre and other banks in Montana and North Dakota.
Wilson said that when his father decided to retire, Wilson returned to the area to take over the farms.
"I wanted to get my children into the local public school system," he added.
Wilson started a local taxi service in 2002.
One area he emphasized is making sure farmers receive fair prices for their grain and for shipping, Wilson said. He added that he would support the work of the Montana Agriculture Development Council to help do that.
Wilson supports increasing the harvesting of raw materials, like coal, oil and natural gas, in the area. That would help create new jobs and increase the tax base to help schools, he said.
He said his background in farming and other businesses has given him a work ethic that would serve his constituents well.
"Challenges do not come without risk, and achievement does not come without hard work" he said.
Wilson does not have extensive political experience, although he cites his support for community organizations like the Kiwanis as giving him some background in working with groups, and has worked as an instructor or substitute teacher in the education system and as an assistant tennis coach.
He made an unsuccessful bid for the Havre City Council in 1982, losing by three votes, he added.
HD 33, created in the redistricting following the 2000 census, includes part of Havre and western Hill County.