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Meet Your Legislative Candidates: Nancy de Pastino

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This is the latest profile in what will be a series of pieces highlighting candidates for the Montana Legislature in 2018.

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

Who is Nancy de Pastino?

A Missoula resident for over 14 years, I have deep roots in House District 91 where I’m running for office. I’m a mom of two young kids in Missoula Public Schools and understand the importance of excellent schools and a safe community. Working as a community organizer with Moms Demand Action, I’ve mobilized volunteers to effect change and empower their neighborhoods. I intend to bring this passion for community and know-how to the Montana legislature and advocate for education, the environment, women’s rights, and public health and safety.

What got you involved in politics? Have you been engaged in politics your whole life?

Yes! I’ve been engaged nearly my whole life in politics. I remember when I was 10, lobbying my Republican dad to recycle. It was the 80s, and the struggle was real. In my teens and twenties I participated in rallies for the environment and for equality. In my 30s, I became a mom and the responsibility to make the world better, safer for my kids came into even sharper focus. I became a true activist when the Sandy Hook shooting happened in 2012. I was heartbroken. My daughter was in first grade at the time, and I knew intimately what was lost. I didn’t know what I could do to help, but I knew I couldn’t sit back and post the occasional Facebook declaration for justice, as I (and so many others) had done before. I founded the Montana Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and have been leading the charge to advance common-sense gun reforms on the state and local level ever since.

For nearly six years, I’ve been working for Moms Demand Action, managing several state chapters and empowering volunteers on the ground as they fiercely advocate for safer gun laws in their own communities. Along with Montana Moms, we have kept guns off of Montana’s college campuses, out of K-12 Schools, out of banks, bars and government buildings. We organized, we lobbied, and we were able to defeat every single dangerous gun-lobby backed bill that we worked on. I’m very proud of that work, and of the movement we’ve built all across Montana.

What do you hope to accomplish at the legislature?

As proud of my work on gun violence prevention as I am, there’s so much more we can do. All the work we’ve done has been to hold the line — to keep in place laws we already had. I want to make progress.

We need to curb Montana’s extremely high rate of suicide and keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. There’s a lot of talk right now about how we keep our schools safer from gun violence. Safe communities = safe schools. We must do everything we can to keep guns out of dangerous hands.

I want the best education we can offer for Montana’s kids, from pre-K through higher ed. That’s an investment, and I know it’s going to take more money to adequately fund our schools. We simply must make that investment.

I have and will always fight to protect our clean water and outdoor heritage by, defending our public lands from senseless attacks, and work to promote renewable energy solutions. In the legislature, I am going to be a Conservation Champion.

Who do you look to for inspiration and why?

I’m inspired every day by the volunteers I work with at Moms Demand Action and all the women and men who are speaking truth to power. I’ve never seen anything like the swell of activism that was born out of the 2016 election. I’m not only inspired by it — I’m excited to see how it will affect the 2018 election and am thrilled to be on the ballot.

How will you connect with voters in your district?

I’ve been out all through the winter, knocking on doors, going to events, and participating in my community. I’ve talked to thousands of voters, and I ask them what they want to see happen in the Montana Legislature. I live and work in my district, and have for many years. My kids go to school here. I run, hike, bike and ski the trails here. I’m a part of my community.

Anything else you’d like people to know?

I want people to know that I will fight for them. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s injustice, and I am not afraid of the tough issues or the powerful interests. I’ve been fighting for conservation issues and against the NRA for a long time. I will keep on fighting for justice, public safety, excellent education, and our clean air and water until we don’t have to anymore.

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