Be part of politics - attend listening session
Last updated 9/22/2023 at 12:09pm
My name is Andrea Melle. When I turned 18, I went to Havre’s City Hall to cast my first vote. But other than voting in every election, I wasn’t very involved with politics. Over the years, that sure changed.
Having two kids with needs in public schools without adequate funding, going through a divorce, being a 24/7 unpaid caregiver, and seeing rights being taken away has made me get involved. I have fought for special ed bills in our public schools, Medicaid Expansion, justice bills, and was lucky enough to have the support of Rep. Mary Caferro and Rep. Jacob Bachmeier in 2019 to get HB 726 passed and signed into law.
HB 726 extended the period of child support obligation for a child with a disability when the custodial parent is the caregiver. Although over 30 other states provide this support, until 2019 Montana didn’t. While Mary and Jacob did their work, I emailed every legislator in Helena to explain how important this bill was to families like mine. It was so rewarding to know that I could make a difference beyond just voting.
I know many do not want to get involved in politics. Then something happens to you or a loved one or affects a neighbor or co-worker, and you discover there is no law to protect you or a right has been taken away. Then you realize how important it is to know who represents us in Helena and Washington and to communicate with them, especially if you disagree.
You have that opportunity at a legislative listening session! The Legislative Listening Session will take place at the Havre Eagles Club this Wednesday, the 27th of September, at 6 p.m. Havre’s Rep. Paul Tuss and Appropriations Committee Vice-Chair Mary Caferro of Helena will be on hand to listen to your priorities, ideas, hopes and/or concerns. They want to hear from us, and I can personally attest that this type of event can lead to actual legislation and results.
My two children and I know that our civic duty doesn’t end when we cast our votes. You have a voice and may actually be the person who can get an idea started and help make a change for the future. I will be there to speak to things that are important to me. I hope you’ll come and express your concerns too.
Andrea Melle, Havre