GOP primary set in Senate District 14 race: Steve Chvilicek
Last updated 5/11/2022 at 11:27am
Steve Chvilicek of Havre is running against incumbent Russ Tempel in the Republican primary for Montana Senate District 14.
Chvilicek was born north of Hingham, Montana, raised on a farm and ranch with a few cows and a dry-land grain operation and went to school in Hingham as their high school consolidated with Rudyard's.
He said he graduated from Northern Montana College, now Montana State University-Northern, with a teaching degree in physical education and minor in history.
From there, he went on to coach basketball and teach at St. Jude Thaddeus School in Havre before starting Frontier Lawn and Landscaping with a few business partners.
In early 2017, the partners separated and he went on to buy some more cows and start a farming operation.
Chvilicek said he decided to run because the legislative session was only 90 days long every other year, so it wouldn't require a massive occupational change, especially since his children have moved out of the house.
While he did weigh in on some issues, he said no particular issue motivated him to run, and that he's eager to learn when he gets there.
"I really don't have an agenda," he said.
Chvilicek said he loves SD 14 which contains a tremendous amount of natural resources and beauty, including rivers and mountains that provide places for people to hunt and fish along with other outdoor activities.
He said he believes the state has a good system of public lands and he doesn't want that to change.
"I think we have a lot going for us in District 14. It's a neat district and I want to keep it that way," Chvilicek said.
He said he doesn't see any particular issues with access to public land at the moment but would certainly get involved if it looked like anyone was trying to reduce that access.
He said he also wants to make sure the state's infrastructure, like roads and waterlines, remain in good condition.
Chvilicek said he does want to make sure the state's money is invested properly in education, believing the focus should be on teaching young people morality in school instead of making more programs to help people after they get in trouble with the law after high school.
He said teachers need to be teaching the right curriculum and should be well-paid for it.
By investing money there, that also could take some of the pressure off of programs the state has like addiction treatment, he added. He said programs like that will always be needed, but hopefully won't be needed as much if more is invested in education.
He said he doesn't see any particular areas of current curriculum that are deficient or require significant improvement.
Chvilicek also said he believes voter fraud is a serious issue in the state, and he's heard concerns from people that he trusts that voting machines can be manipulated.
He said he's not fully educated on the situation, but he doesn't remember hearing about anything like this during his childhood.
"Without the ability to vote and vote honestly I don't think we even have a country," he said.
Despite many conservative activists and operatives, as well as some Republican politicians, raising suspicions about the integrity of Montana's elections in the wake of the 2020 election, no evidence of wide-spread voter fraud has been found in the state or the U.S.
Chvilicek said he doesn't really know his opponent personally and doesn't have any particular criticism of his handling of issues, at least none he feels informed enough about to comment on.
He did express some general concerns about money coming into the state and the politics it funds, but reiterated that he doesn't feel he has a full enough story to make specific comments.
Chvilicek said his upbringing, education, 34-year marriage, fatherhood, history in business and network of helpful friends makes him the best person for the job.
He said he's scheduled to speak at North Central Pachyderms later this month and looks forward to meeting more people during the race.