This is the latest profile in what will be a series of pieces highlighting candidates for the Montana Legislature in 2018.
Jade Bahr is running for an open state house seat in district 50 in Billings. You can follow Jade’s campaign for legislature here: Jade Bahr for HD 50
Who is Jade Bahr?
Growing up, I spent my summers with my grandparents on the Crow Reservation. Much wisdom was gained when living with my elders in a small town. I found a beautiful patience in my grandmother and emotional strength in my grandfather. I hold fond memories of the countryside and playing in the dirt. My mother moved my brother and I to Billings when I was 3 so that she could obtain her college degree and get a good paying job, which is exactly what she did. My mother taught me to be hardworking, strong, independent and empathetic. I am someone who desires to engage with my community and has invested time towards raising awareness for social justice. I treat others how I want to be treated and in this political journey, I seek to raise the voices of our most vulnerable citizens.
What got you involved in politics?
It wasn’t until around 2016 that I started to realize the power of one’s vote, the power of grassroots organizing and the importance of getting the best candidates elected. In 2016, I saw a truly good person get elected and become my state senator. I was renewed with hope to know that not all politicians were corrupt. Good people can be elected and good legislation can be passed. Before all this though, I was a bit apathetic towards “politics.” Like many of us, I didn’t trust it. So most of my twenties were spent going to college, building relationships, “finding myself” but also finding the value in the human services field where I could feel like I was actually making a difference. I didn’t know it then but I was taking steps towards a political career. I majored in sociology at the University of Montana. Sociology, being the scientific study of society’s patterns in relationships, institutions and culture. This played a huge role in awakening me to the systemic injustices of our country. I then worked with our youth deemed most at-risk for several years and now currently with our adults with disabilities which gave me further first-hand experience with our most vulnerable people. Also, knowing what life is like on a reservation certainly helped to open my eyes to generational trauma and a need for systemic changes.
What do you hope to accomplish in the MT Leg?
In general, I would hope to accomplish positive things that will last beyond my own lifetime. More specifically, I hope to pass legislation that gets back to the roots of developing a healthy and thriving society. I suppose for me, that would mean major investment in the quality of our public education, continued protection of the workers’ right to bargain with their employers over wages and working conditions, and major investments in our behavioral health services. People want a safe community. That means taking care of the people first. Corporate interests have become more important and it’s time to put a halt on that. It is time to invest in the people. People are in need of affordable healthcare, quality education, better paying jobs and community connection. Knock doors and the voters will tell you. Also, I would say an accomplishment would be made on behalf of voters by electing a Native American women. We only have 28% women and a 6% Native representation in our legislature.
You can donate to Jade here: DONATE
Who do you look to for inspiration and why?
I look first to my maternal figures. My grandmother and mother. The women that came before me. Their perseverance is my inspiration. I look to other community leaders who take action to make change and voice the injustices of our society. In these people I can find a sense of self, faith and unity. In unity, we can find the foundation to rise.
How will you connect with voters in your district?
By coming straight up to their door, greeting them, sharing my story and finding common ground. We have more in common than not. I find connection with people because most of us want the same things. Most of us our living paycheck to paycheck. Most of us struggle to pay for healthcare and most of us care about the welfare of our children. Another major connection you find in Montana is our love and respect for the land. Protection of our waterways, wildlife, parks and natural resources holds so much importance for not only our own personal sanity and quality of life but for also future generations. We borrow this land from our children, so let’s not forget that.
Anything else you would like us to know?
I want people to know that I am approachable. I am a real human being who lives on the Southside of Billings with my two cats. I’m still just a gal who loves a good laugh, the outdoors, live music, dancing, and hanging with people. My favorite microbrews are usually Scottish ales and I’m certain there is a TV show or movie we can relate on… I would like others to know that I am open-minded and curious. I will hear you out. Please know that I am not an expert on everything political but my intentions are good and I will seek the education of others to inform me more thoroughly on issues. I wasn’t always politically engaged but I certainly am now. I care sincerely about the progress of our community and hope you will too. Here’s to 2018 & beyond! Cheers!