Incumbent Democrat Dave Fern already has a Republican challenger in the upcoming House District 5 race.
Republican Catherine Owens has announced her candidacy for the state Legislature, saying she felt a need to step in and fight for what she believes in.
“I’m running because about a year ago my son said, ‘A complainer without a solution is just a whiner,’ and I don’t wanna be a whiner,” Owens said.
Owens has lived in Whitefish with her family for nine years and is a stay-at-home mother.
She says her biggest concerns are protecting individual rights and increasing “economic growth and opportunity here in the Flathead.”
“I want to have an impact on property taxes and help the elderly, especially who have been living in their homes for 30 years on a pension and now as their property values increase, so do their taxes,” she said. “I want to protect the First and Second Amendment rights of the people here in Montana, especially in Whitefish.”
Fern is running for his third term in the Montana Legislature, after serving consecutive terms beginning in 2016.
He is the owner of a small business, Chimney Solutions and has lived in Whitefish since 1988. He previously served eight terms on the Whitefish School Board.
“For me, it’s been a positive experience in the Legislature,” he said. “I feel I’ve made some positive accomplishments. I want to continue to do so in regard to the needs of our district, including such divisive issues as property taxes, access to both public lands and the lands currently owned by Weyerhaueser, policies to improve access to mental health services and continue to support our public school system. Those are important issues to me that I want to continue doing what I think is being on the right side of those issues.”
The deadline for candidate filing is March 9. A primary will take place on June 2, and the general election is on Nov. 3.