This is the latest profile in what will be a series of pieces highlighting candidates for the Montana Legislature in 2018.
Anna Drew is running for an open state house seat in district 58.
You can follow Anna’s campaign for legislature here: Anna Drew for Montana
Who is Anna Drew?
I was raised in Billings, Montana by two hard-working parents. My mother has been a public defender for 25 years and my father is a disabled Veteran and a retired 20-year postal worker. I grew up with only one sibling, a brother, but was surrounded by a huge Butte Irish-Catholic family.
I currently work full time in Red Lodge at Domestic and Sexual Violence Services, working with volunteer recruitment, outreach and policy advocacy. I also continue to work part time in Red Lodge at a popular bar and grill that I formerly managed. I value working in nonprofits because it reminds me to make the most of the money others generously give to take care of their neighbors. I also value my current and past jobs in the service industry because they teach the value of hard work, putting the needs of others first, and how to keep unusual hours to make ends meet.
In addition to my work, I also serve as an elected member of the Red Lodge City Council, am an active Rotarian, volunteer as a mentor at the Red Lodge High School, serve as a Red Lodge Parks Board representative, and volunteer for many community activities.
I think put simply, I’m a patriot. I’m proud of my country and our system of government. My whole life has reinforced the American values of hard work and the importance of getting things done. I care deeply about giving back to my community. I believe it is my duty to serve my country. As JFK once famously said, “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.” What I have to offer is my public service.
What got you involved in politics? Have you been engaged in politics your whole life?
The first time I followed politics was during the 2000 Presidential election between Al Gore and President George W. Bush. I was about 10 years old and it was an assignment in Social Studies. I really enjoyed listening to people debate ideas on how to best move forward as a nation and how to best care for our country. I appreciate my teacher introducing to us the value of civic engagement at such a young age. I have always believed that our democracy is strong and remember that it is designed to help make change if people just stay involved.
In 2016, I ran for the Red Lodge City Council and was proud that I knocked on every door in the district I now represent. I listened to every voter and was honest in answering questions. People really appreciated that. Elected by a large and bipartisan margin, I have brought my energy and work ethic to city government by introducing and supporting smart policies to move our community forward, while looking out for the interests of all community members.
What do you hope to accomplish at the legislature?
I’m running for some pretty simple reasons. I ran for City Council because I lived in a part of town that intermittently had brown water running from the faucet. I was frustrated and decided I was going to the city to fix it. After getting there and getting more information, I realized the price tag for the total completion of that project was around $4.5 million. I knew the population of Red Lodge could not do it alone so I looked to the State Government for help with loans and grants through infrastructure improvements. I soon realized that wasn’t there.
Carbon County pays taxes to the state and it’s about time the legislature votes to fund an infrastructure bill to send some of that money back home to pay for much needed local projects. I’ve always known if you want to do something, you don’t complain and you work hard and do it yourself. The first thing I plan to do is work with both Democrats and Republicans to pass an infrastructure bill that would help support rural communities across the state of Montana. A comprehensive infrastructure bill hasn’t been passed in the state of Montana since 2007. It’s about time people put our State before their party and get it done.
I also believe in hard-working Montanans. Growing up here, I know that Montanans work hard and look out for each other. I’ve never been stranded on the side of the road without a neighbor helping me out. I want our State Legislature to start operating with some of our state’s basic values such as taking care of our sick, our elderly, and our disabled. We’ve been able to pass smart, financially feasible policies in the past. I want to head to Helena and clean up our State Budget so that it starts putting our tax dollars back to work for us.
You can Donate to Anna’s campaign here: DONATE
Who do you look to for inspiration and why?
I learned the value of hard work by watching my mom work late nights and my father push through a disabling military injury to keep working. Inspired by their example, I got a job at an ice cream parlor as soon as I legally could and have held at least one job ever since. In addition to their work ethic, my parents inspire me to always do my best at everything I do. If I say I will do something, I will put all of my energy into making it happen. I appreciate that life has not always been easy for my family and I always take inspiration in my parents working hard to be where they are.
My mother’s father died in a work accident when she was around two years old. She grew up with a single mom, her grandmother, and two brothers. It wasn’t easy for her family but she worked hard and put herself through college and then law school. Her whole life has been spent caring for others. I’m inspired by her dedication to work for those less fortunate. She reminds me that I have so much to give as long as I am willing to work hard.
My father inspires me to always fight. Growing up with nine siblings, my dad didn’t have a choice but to be stubborn! He was injured in the Navy in his early 20’s. His injury completely changed his life plans but he didn’t sit idly and complain. His tenacity pushed him through countless surgeries. When his health was really bad, I always told him he was too stubborn to die. I know that is true and I am inspired to never give up by my father.
How will you connect with voters in your district?
As I did with my successful City Council race, I am already out there knocking on doors, getting to know voters by listening to their concerns and responding to their questions. My goal is to talk to as many of the 10,000 residents as I possibly can between now and November 6th. I know I have 2,000 square miles to cover, but Montana is a beautiful place and I am glad to do it. Through my work on City Council, I am known for being accessible and sincerely listening to everyone who has a concern or an idea they want me to hear. When I knock on doors across my county, I willingly give out my email address and my personal cell phone number. People know they can call me and I will listen and respond.
I’ll also connect with voters by running a campaign with integrity. It is important that folks see a genuine candidate who wants to talk to people about our shared values. I’m an eternal optimist and this helps me connect with folks on the values we share instead of the way sometimes things try to divide us. I believe growing up in Montana has taught me how to be friendly and appreciate those around me, even when we’re different.
Anything else you’d like people to know?
I am running for House District 58 because I think my county deserves a Representative who works as hard as they do. I know I can get support from people across the political and age spectrum.
Montana is and always has been my home. I believe there is much more that brings us together than divides us. I want state government to reflect that belief. We can work together, despite our differences, to make Montana a better place to live and work.