Havre Daily News
Havre City Council member Terry Schend, a Republican, filed this week to run for the state House seat held by Democrat Bob Bergren, who is seeking re-election.
Schend, who won a second term on the City Council in November, said he would concentrate on economic development and education if elected.
“I believe that we need better support for small business and work force development,” Schend said today. “I'd like to bring some stuff to the Legislature on some issues that are imperative for economic development in Montana. And on school issues, I think there's a real need for some understanding in that area.”
Bergren, who is in his second term and was elected as Democratic whip during last year's legislative session, said he looks forward to the competition.
“I think we got a lot accomplished last session but I don't think we're done,” he said Thursday. “We backfilled a lot of holes left by the Republican administration without raising people's taxes.”
Bergren, a Havre firefighter, said he enjoys legislative work and has a “great shot” at being elected House majority or minority leader, depending on how the Nov. 7 election shakes out. Last year, the House was split 50-50 along party lines.
He sponsored a bill to implement country-of-origin labeling for beef products sold in the state. The law will be implemented Oct. 1, and the entire country will be watching Montana, he said.
Bergren also sponsored a bill that would have changed the property tax formula for railroad property as a way of addressing the high costs of shipping grain on BNSF Railway. After railroad officials agreed to meet with Gov. Brian Schweitzer to negotiate shipping prices, Bergren killed the bill.
He said he will continue to push for fair shipping rates and the development of ethanol production in Montana.
Schend last year served as the chair of the City Council's Labor Relations Committee, and this year was appointed to chair the Grievance and Fire and Police committees.
Schend has pushed for the city to annex commercial and residential properties, including land west of town that will soon be home to two new hotels and a Wal-Mart. An electrician for 30 years, Schend also serves on an advisory board working to implement an electrical program at Montana State University-Northern.
He said his time on the City Council has taught him that government works best when parties work for the common good.
“I have a hard time with partisan politics,” Schend said. “In order for things to move forward, there needs to be discussion and melding of ideas.”
Candidates have until March 23 to file for legislative seats. A primary will be held June 6.
Democratic House members John Musgrove of Havre and Jonathan Windy Boy of Rocky Boy have filed for re-election. They do not yet have any challengers. Democratic state Sen. Ken Hansen of Harlem has also filed for re-election and is unopposed.
Republican Jim Peterson of Buffalo has filed to run for Senate President Jon Tester's seat. Tester, who could not seek re-election because of term limits, is one of the Democratic challengers for U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns' seat.