By Ross Markman
With only one week remaining to file as a write-in for positions like treasurer, auditor, and justice of the peace of Hill County, one person, Roselee Duran Winchell, has done so.
Winchell, a lifelong resident of Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, will run for justice of the peace. Her competition is Havre Public Schools substitute teacher Ramon "Ray" Bergh and retired Montana Highway Patrol officer Terry Stoppa.
The primary election will be held on June 4, but Winchell, because she's a write-in, will not be on the ballot. The last day to file as an official candidate and to appear on the ballot was March 21. Winchell filed on April 29.
The deadline to file as a write-in is May 20.
The top two vote-getters in the nonpartisan contest will compete in the general election on Nov. 5.
The position is currently held on an interim basis by a triumvirate of judges Havre lawyer Lane Hauge, Havre City Judge Joyce Perszyk and Blaine County Justice of the Peace Perry Miller.
Former Justice Carol Chagnon retired on April 30 after 16 years on the bench and 30 years working in the Hill County Courthouse. She stepped down to spend more time with her husband, Paul, who suffered a stroke in September.
Winchell said it was Chagnon, a personal friend, who convinced her to run for the slot.
"Carol wanted me to file because I've been a judge before. I know I can do the job," she said.
Chagnon, however, said she never suggested that Winchell should run for the post.
"What I said is somebody from Rocky Boy should run," Chagnon said. "I don't endorse anybody."
Winchell, a 54-year-old single mother of three, was justice of the peace at Rocky Boy for two years in the late 1970s.
"I'm reliable, trustworthy and dependable," she said.
Winchell is employed as a kitchen helper for Box Elder schools.