Troy Downing

A question I am often asked is “Why? Why are you running?” The answer is simple: These United States of America, all she represents, and all of the opportunities she offers have been good to me, and I need to give back. I need to serve. I need to feel that I deserve all that she has offered without asking anything in return. I need to know that someone like me, from meager beginnings, an unplanned pregnancy to an unwed teenage mother, someone without money or connections, can still work hard and build the American Dream.

I know it sounds cliché. There is a lot of talk about the American Dream and how it is becoming unreachable. However, this dream is real, it’s unique, and it’s worth fighting for.

Growing up in an on-again/off-again single-parent household taught me a lot. I was raised by my mother who was a checker in a grocery store. She did what she had to do to raise 3 kids mostly on her own, and for that I am grateful and proud. Life wasn’t always easy for her, but she worked hard, kept food on the table, and kept our Christian faith at the center of our family.

A valuable lesson I learned growing up was that if you want something, you have to work for it. That lesson drives me. Through hard work, and a little bit of dumb luck, I landed a research position and eventually a teaching job at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. I wrote books and taught in the Information Technology and Computer Science departments while running a certificate program I designed for the school. For a poor kid from nowhere, this was a big deal. So naturally, I quit.

I left NYU to found a startup company that ended up merging with a nascent Yahoo! Inc. in the 1990s. I built my American Dream! Then September 11, 2001 changed my life.

September 11th was a moment of realization and introspection, a true wake up call. Shortly after the attacks, I walked into a recruiter’s office and enlisted in the US Air Force/Air National Guard. My friends, family, and colleagues asked “why?” To put it simply,  because I had to. This great nation of ours gave me everything. I needed to give back – I needed to feel that I deserved it.

After finishing my military service, I found new ways of giving back. I worked to help young Americans build their dreams, I worked to help veterans in Montana. I took opportunities to serve in higher capacities in elected office.

As a businessman and combat veteran, I have the experience to represent Montanans and fight for the values we hold dear.

I have approached my tenure as the Montana State Auditor as an opportunity to give back. We have prosecuted bad guys, we have protected seniors and consumers, we have educated Montanans, we have provided resources for Montana businesses to find investors to grow their companies, and we have partnered with industry, searching for opportunities to make it easier for businesses to thrive in Montana. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. It’s been a team effort, and I’m proud of my team.

Today I look around and see that the American Dream is under attack. The brass ring is almost out of reach for most of our younger generation trying to build their lives. Inflation, border security, crime, drugs, out of control federal spending, and unaffordable housing costs are all threatening this dream. It is harder now for my kids and their generation than it was when I was a kid. We need good people to show up and fight the good fight to make sure that the United States of America is still the shining beacon that is the American Dream.

I would be honored to serve and fight for Montanans in Washington representing the greatest state in the greatest country that has ever graced God’s creation. I will always show up, and I will never stop working for the people I represent. I will never stop fighting to protect the American Dream.