The office of Secretary of State is one I once held. Ensuring it’s run efficiently and effectively, with a focus on customer service, is extremely important to every Montanan. That is why, even though I’ve served as a Republican all my life and supported countless Republicans in the past, I have decided to endorse Bryce Bennett to become Montana’s next Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State oversees elections in Montana, manages articles of incorporation for businesses and nonprofits, is one of five members of the Montana Land Board, and is the chief election officer in Montana.
In the course of the 2020 election, I became particularly aware of the candidacy of Bryce Bennett and his strong compelling qualifications for this office. His record of bringing Republicans and Democrats together to get things done has earned my respect and my endorsement.
As a former government and history teacher, I know that elections are the fundamental building block to a free and fair democracy. The chief overseer of elections must be fair and competent to assure that elections are conducted in a way that allows all qualified Montanans who want to vote to be able to do so and assures that their votes will be accurately counted.
One issue that attracted me to the candidacy of Bryce Bennett is the issue of controlling dark money in Montana elections. Bennett worked tirelessly as a Montana legislator to successfully pass groundbreaking bipartisan anti-dark money legislation. The Disclose Act requires that the contributors of any group attempting to influence Montana elections be revealed to the public. Through Bryce’s leadership, Montanans have the right to know who is peddling influence in our elections. That’s vitally important in keeping our elections transparent, free and fair!
I also appreciate that Bryce is listening to business leaders in Montana and knows their struggles as COVID-19 continues to harm our communities and our economy. This office has to put business customers first and make sure they can quickly
get registered and back to running their shop.
Another issue that is near and dear to my heart is Bryce’s work with the County Clerks and Recorders, the offices across the state that carry out the nuts and bolts of conducting elections. As Secretary of State, I learned very quickly how important it is for the Secretary of State’s Office to partner with them, to seek input, and to work closely with these key election administrators.
Bryce Bennett has already established a trust relationship with these elected officials and was recognized by the Montana Association of Clerks and Recorders with an award for extraordinary leadership. His will be a collaborative relationship with them, not an adversarial or politicized one.
Bryce Bennett has done much during his legislative career to assure our elections processes in Montana are transparent and local election officials are supported in their efforts to make voting in Montana accessible, fair, and efficient. A final issue that attracted me to Bryce Bennett’s candidacy is his commitment to keeping public lands accessible to all. His opposition to selling off public lands to the highest bidders is as important to me as it should be to all who hunt, fish, hike, and otherwise enjoy the land treasures of this Treasure State.
Bryce Bennett has a clear record of being a leader who has demonstrated his commitment to working with others to protect our elections and our public lands. In these troubled times, he seems to me to be a perfect fit for the office he seeks. Please join me in getting behind Bryce Bennett for Secretary of State.
Bob Brown of Whitefish served as Montana Secretary of State and State Senate President.