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Getting to know candidate for Congress Kathleen Williams

Who is Kathleen Williams?

Kathleen Williams’s life has been shaped by hope, a hope she strives to foster in her campaign and in the hearts of voters across Montana. Hope that we can work together, hope that we can unite around our shared values, hope that we can bring about positive change for the people of Montana, and hope directed toward a future that is good for all of us.

Profoundly hopeful, but not naively so, this three-term legislator’s actions are grounded by the reality of hard work, objective information, and a genuine respect and love for the people of Montana.

Born in an Army hospital and daughter of a veteran, Kathleen was raised with a deep respect for service and sacrifice. She had to grow up fast. Her family relied on her when her mother contracted Alzheimer’s Disease at a young age. November was designated National Family Caregivers Month to bring attention to the work of people like Kathleen who sacrifice so much to take care of older, sick, or disabled family members, and it is the perfect time to advocate for greater support for family caregivers.

Kathleen learned firsthand how important it is that people have access to affordable quality health care. These lessons in Kathleen’s early life eventually influenced her work in the Montana House of Representatives where she consistently worked to ensure high-quality healthcare for all Montanans. True to her reputation as a lawmaker who listens and responds to her constituents, Kathleen heard that insurance companies were denying routine care for cancer patients in her district who wanted to participate in potentially life-saving clinical trials, so she worked with patients, providers, and insurers to pass a bill that required insurance companies to cover that care.

Photo credit: Lauren Brown Photography –

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Kathleen also worked to ensure the equal protection of all patients in Montana, whether they were covered by group insurance plans or purchased plans as individuals, and sponsored a bill to eliminate “surprise” medical bills that can cost working families tens of thousands of dollars. As a Congresswoman for Montana, Kathleen would combat the uncertainty surrounding healthcare that is currently being sown in Washington because every Montanan deserves access to affordable quality health care. She is committed to working with others in Congress to identify the best way to achieve that, and get it done.

Elected to the Montana Legislature during the Great Recession, Kathleen knew that too many Montanans were struggling for good jobs with decent pay and access to a high-quality, affordable education for their kids. As she pushed for more high-tech, entrepreneurial, renewable energy, and film industry jobs in the Montana House of Representatives, Kathleen was looking for innovative solutions to the problems she was seeing and hearing about from her constituents. She wrote and passed a bill that created a new type of corporation in Montana that allowed mission-driven entrepreneurs to work to make a difference without the fear of being sued for not maximizing profits.

To give working Montanans some immediate help, in 2013 she initiated an Earned Income Tax Credit and worked across the aisle to build dialogue and momentum that led to the successful passage of the measure in 2015. In her current job at the Western Landowners Alliance, she works to maintain Montana’s agricultural heritage, helping Montanans stay on their family farms and ranches and bringing the next generation back to the land.

As Congresswoman for Montana, Kathleen will work tirelessly to ensure that all working Montanans are treated fairly, with safe jobs, decent paychecks, and benefits. She knows that working families also deserve to see their kids get a good education without having to take on massive debt, and she will do everything she can to make that a reality.

Kathleen’s career in natural resource management spans 30 years in the private, public and nonprofit sectors where she came up with solutions to low streamflow issues, improved drought response, and worked to protect and enhance river health. Much of her expertise is related to issues surrounding water and water policy. After the 2015 Legislative Session, Bozeman Senator Mike Phillips said that Kathleen was “a major behind-the-scenes force ensuring the sufficiency and eventual passage of the Confederated Salish-Kootenai water compact. Without [her] work,” he told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, “the Compact’s future would have been deeply suspect.”

Montanans love the outdoors and Kathleen knows that we need to advance access, habitat, and safety. There are many proposals in this Congress and Administration to transfer or sell off our public lands and roll back policies created to protect our natural world. Kathleen wants to demonstrate the value of environmental protection as well as the cost of not recognizing the need to fundamentally change our approach. As a member of the U.S. House, she would protect access to our public lands and waterways, find paths to success in the polarized theatre of natural resource dialogue, and address the causes and challenges of a hotter and drier Montana.

Kathleen met her husband, Tom Pick, in Helena, where they were married under the rotunda of the State Capitol. The two shared a love of hunting, fishing, and the great outdoors as well as a passion for caring for the places and people they loved. In January of 2016, Kathleen announced that she would not seek re-election to the Montana House of Representatives, and Tom unexpectedly passed away six days later. Tom served his country in the Vietnam War era and as an Agricultural Advisor on a Reconstruction Team in Iraq from 2009-2011. The memory of his experiences and wisdom continue to inform Kathleen’s policy decisions and inspire her to advance peace and understanding around the world, and fight for people at home in Montana.

A water protector, a bill drafter, a lawmaker, a daughter, a caretaker, a wife, a stepmom; Kathleen Williams has worn many hats. The hat she seeks to wear next, that of a U.S. Congresswoman, comes with great responsibility, and she will wear it proudly as she continues to fight for the people of Montana, as she has for 23 years.


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