This is the first in a what will be a series of pieces highlighting candidates for the Montana Legislature in 2018.
Emma Kerr-Carpenter is running for an open state house seat in district 49 in Billings. You can follow Emma’s campaign for legislature here: Emma for Montana
Who is Emma Kerr-Carpenter?
I am a young, progressive woman, and I am dedicated to a career in public service. I have worked the past four years in the field children’s mental health care, most recently at Youth Dynamics, providing direct care to Montana’s most vulnerable children and families. In my spare time, I serve on the Board of Northern Plains Resource Council, one of Montana’s most powerful genuinely grassroots community organizations. I am a member of Billings First Congregational Church and a member of the Church Council. I am a founding member of Billings Sanctuary Rising and a member of Forward Montana. I am an alum of New Leaders Council Montana, class of 2017. I love cooking, eating, and exploring Eastern Montana’s beautiful landscapes.
What got you involved in politics? Have you been engaged in politics your whole life?
I decided to run for the legislature because mental health services and many other services that provide for the most vulnerable Montanans were drastically defunded during our last legislature. This is my first campaign for public elected office.
I am running because I believe ensuring a dignified and stable standard of living and care is our baseline obligation to our fellow Montanans. I want to raise my kids here, and I want the Montana they grow up in to reflect the values that make this place home. We help our neighbors here. If we have a little more, we share it. And if we’re in times of trouble, neighbors are quick to do the same for us.
What do you hope to accomplish at the legislature?
My top priorities as a legislator will be to:
-Restore funding to medical and mental healthcare.
-Strengthen our public education system (including expanding early childhood education to be universally available and making an education at our state universities affordable).
-Find a way to make quality daycare accessible and affordable for every Montana family.
-Protect our ability to enjoy Montana’s pristine streams, clean air, and beautiful views.
Emma is hosting a Fundraiser this Friday: RSVP Here
You can donate to Emma here: DONATE
Who do you look to for inspiration and why?
I look to the families I’ve worked with over the past four years for inspiration because, even if I did not always agree with their choices or decisions, they woke up every day and worked to overcome the incredible obstacles of generational poverty and trauma.
How will you connect with voters in your district?
My plan is to engage voters in longer conversations about what they are worried about and what they care most about, rather than the brief conversation typical of most campaigns. I think that this form of engagement is the best way for me to connect with voters on a one-to-one basis, which is key for them to feel comfortable with me, see that their interests are being heard, and feel confident that I will represent them as their legislator.
Anything else you’d like people to know?
I am running against a fellow Democrat that many people would consider a ‘safer’ choice because he is an older white man who is well connected in the Billings community. My race is one of many in Billings like this, with a young progressive outsider against an older established insider. I have been inspired by the hard work and leadership that my fellow progressive candidates have displayed. It is an exciting time to be a voter in Billings and Yellowstone County. I think Billings has a real chance to be a leader in Montana by electing one of the most diverse, dynamic, progressive legislative delegations in the state.