Written by Nancy de Pastino
For many first-time candidates running for office, I’m sure it’s a somewhat foreign feeling to have others trying to define who you are, to defeat you. It’s not so unfamiliar to me. I’ve been fighting the NRA for the past five (plus) years, and my opposition is constantly trying to win that messaging war by creating a false narrative about our organization’s motivations. We’re just trying to save lives, pure and simple.
But now, as I’m running to represent my community in the Montana House, I want to be very clear that I’m no single-issue candidate. My platform reaches deep into issues that impact my family and my community. I fight for safe communities, yes, and I fight for conservation, people on the margins of our community, and for public education. My work in gun violence prevention has taught me a great deal: How to build a movement, how to tackle a really difficult and contentious issue (and win) in a Republican-controlled legislature. I’ve learned how to build coalitions and how to work with folks across the aisle and across the state.
I’ve done all this in the interest of making this state a safer, better place for our children. For all of us. I have fought for our basic well-being and safety, and I truly believe that I can take those experiences and skills and fight for the betterment of our public school system. I can use those coalition and movement building skills to improve our energy production and our protections of clean water, clean air, and accessible public lands.
My political career was built by rolling up my sleeves on one of the toughest issues out there, so you can bet that I’m not going to shy away from anything. But that’s not the only thing that sets me apart from the rest of the pack in this crowded primary. I’m a mom to two young Montanans, who are in our public school system right now. We’re a family with two working parents. The decisions our legislature makes that affect working families in Montana are not hypothetical or theoretical to me. They affect me and my family the way they do you and yours. And as mom, you better believe I’m invested in making sure that every Montana student has the best possible opportunities from preschool through higher education.
As a Mom, I care deeply about protecting our environment. Conservation is a top priority of mine, and I will always be a staunch defender of our public lands and open spaces. I will support innovations in clean, renewable energy — Montana has incredible potential to be a leader in these innovations, as we transition from dying industries to those practices that are far less harmful to our environment.
As a Mom, I want to make sure our schools and communities are safe, which is why I will continue to strengthen our public safety and gun laws. We can do more to protect women and children from domestic violence. And we can certainly do more to curb Montana’s astronomically high rate of suicide. This is not the time to be cutting funding to the Department of Health and Human services.
And as a Mom, I will always stand up for the rights of all Montanans, especially for those whose voices have been marginalized. I have always taught my kids to look to the corners of the room, for the lonely kids who aren’t fitting in, and to bring them into the circle. Let’s make a larger circle, and make sure we stand up for the rights of all Montanans.
I’ve truly enjoyed getting out there and talking to so many of you in the last year. Thank you for inviting me in and sharing your honest concerns. I’m listening to you, I’m learning from you, and together we can work to deliver a better future for all of us.
Now, it’s time to vote! Ballots will be mailed May 11th, and the primary election day is June 5th. I humbly ask for your vote in this critical election.
Nancy de Pastino is running for an open state house seat in district 91 in Missoula. You can follow Nancy’s campaign for legislature here: www.nancy4montana.com
She was also profiled here: Moms Are Running for Office to Fight Gun Violence