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Candidates listed for Havre city judge


January 21, 2019

Since City Judge Virginia Seigel announced her resignation last November, effective today, the city of Havre has received four applications for the position.

One candidate, Susan Brurud, withdrew her application Friday afternoon. She said she withdrew her application because she recently took the position of a prevention specialist with the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

The remaining three applicants will go before Havre City Council Tuesday, where they will be interviewed by the council. The council expects to vote on filling the position after the interviews.

Josh Tyler Miller

Josh Tyler Miller said he would be a fresh face in the city government and, with that, he can provide an unbiased approach to the city judge position.

“I’m ready to put my whole heart into this position, if I’m able to get it,” he said.

Miller said that he attended Dawson Community College in Glendive, taking classes and obtaining an associate degree in applied science with emphasis on criminal justice and law enforcement.

Born and raised in Havre, Miller said, he has always wanted to pursue a career in criminal justice and after graduating from Dawson College was hired by the Cut Bank Police Department, although he had to leave that job shortly after due to health issues.

In the past, he said, he has also worked internships with the Montana Highway Patrol and the Havre Police Department.

He then came back to Havre, working at the Havre Daily News, Edward Jones Investments and the Hill County Mosquito District, he added.

Miller said that recently he has gotten his health under control and now he wants to get back to his roots and once again pursue his interest in criminal justice.

“I saw the judgeship open up and thought it was a great time,” Miller said.

“I love my community, I love where I’ve been born and raised and I want to make a difference here,” he added. “I think I have a unique background that can really help me out in that area.”

He said that in college he had to apply the Havre city code and Montana code and apply them to every project he did. Miller said that in every class he attended that was related to criminal justice, there was always some component of the court system.

Miller said an important issue for him is reducing the number of repeat offenders that go through the court system. There may be some new ideas that has not yet been explored to help reduce this number, he said.

“I understand that everyone makes mistakes, I understand that there are struggles,” Miller said. “I want to listen to what these people have to say, I want to hear their side, I want to know what can we do, how can we help you.”

The number one concern for the city judge, Miller said, is ensuring the safety of the community, overpopulation of jails is a big concern, but the safety of the community is the number one concern.

He added that he wants to also set a good example for the youth in the community and show people that they can achieve that they want in life, but only if they put their minds into it.

Janie Hedstrom

Candidate Janie Hedstrom, a former teacher at Havre High School, is a Havre Police Department administrative assistant and communications technician.

“I feel I can be fair, impartial, open minded, and I think everyone deserves a fair opportunity to present themselves,” Hedstrom said.

Hedstrom is a graduate of Northern Montana College, now Montana State University-Northern, earning a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, and a master’s degree in business education from Montana State University in Bozeman.

She said she was born and raised in Havre and was a teacher at Havre Public Schools for 32 years. She added that she has worked part-time at Havre Police Department for the past 16 years — starting at part time until she retired from teaching in 2010 when she went to full time at the police department.

Hedstrom said that while working at the police department she has become familiar with the procedures. She said that she found the job interesting and challenging and wants to take some of the skills that she learned there to the city judge position.

She said that she understands the budgetary aspects of the court system and the paperwork related to court orders as well as other procedures related between the court system and the police department.

Havre City Court is a court of limited jurisdiction, she said.

This means that the city court works with matters such as misdemeanor crimes and orders of protection. She added that it is important to protect people’s rights.

“I hope to make it a fair, impartial situation,” Hedstrom said.

She said communication is important between other jurisdictions, the police department and other agencies.

She said that she has worked with people who were on alcohol or drug monitoring, and has seen many repeat offenders. She said she has seen a rise in the people who are on the alcohol monitoring program and hopefully as a judge she will be able to reduce repeat offenders.

Hedstrom added that, if elected, she will seek out other programs for offenders to get involved and utilize the drug court.

Scott Guyant

Scott Guyant said that when he saw that there was an opening for the city judge position he wanted to apply because he has always wanted to get into government.

Guyant graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science in general studies, he said. He added that he would have changed his major to political science and was taking a large number of classes in that field, although he needed to step away due to family obligations.

He said he wanted to get into government work and sees this position as a good way of getting his foot in the door.

He said that he is not originally from this area, living here for only the past three years, but he sees this as an advantage. Guyant said that he does not have any of the biases that come from growing up in the area and believes that because of this he can be more impartial and fair.

The city judge has to be listening to both sides of the argument and make a fair call by what is being presented, he said. He added that sometimes people are not happy with the decision but he will try his best to be fair.

He said he looks forward to working with the people in Havre, adding, that is his favorite thing about his current job as a cashier at the Montana State University-Northern cafeteria.

He wants to carry that attitude over into being a judge, he said.

Havre struggles with repeat offenders, although this is a problem nationwide, Guyant said. He said that with every person the judge needs to follow the law, the law having specific guidelines written in, but some people deserve a second chance.

He said it is not hard to determine if somebody is worth their word, people who honest want to change their life around, but there are others that are not that way.

Guyant said that knowing the law from college classes and how the different branches of the government work provides him a decent basis to start as judge.

He added that he knows he will have to do a lot of studying and learning on the job, if he is appointed. Everybody, whoever gets the job, will need to study extensively, he said, and he hopes that they are willing to put in the time to do it.

He said in the future, in three to five years, he would like to take the opportunity and maybe run for other local government offices.

“I’ve always bad a dream to serve as a public official,” Guyant said.

He added that, if elected, he is excited to work with the vacant property ordinance, which is currently being worked on by the city council.

“It is a great thing for the community,” he said.

The vacant property ordinance is a step that needs to be taken, he said, something needs to be done.


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