Forward Montana hosts online town halls for congressional race

Democrat Rob Quist and Republican Greg Gianforte are vying for Montana’s sole seat in the U.S. House in the May 25 special election.

By Ed Kemmick/Last Best News

All across the country, voters often sit elections out because they lack access to good, reliable information about the candidates and issues.

With a special election coming up in Montana on May 25 to find a replacement for Ryan Zinke, until recently Montana’s lone House member and now secretary of the Interior Department, Forward Montana is hoping to change that.

Forward Montana is a youth-advocacy group whose slogan is “Not right, not left, but forward.” It’s mission is “to mobilize and engage young Montanans to use the democratic process to improve their lives and the lives of their fellow Montanans.”

In partnership with Last Best News and the Missoula Independent, Forward Montana is hosting Facebook Live town halls—which will be online-only events—with all three candidates in the special election. Forward Montana has hosted candidate forums for local and statewide elections for over five years.

“By offering the town halls online, we’re hoping to reach young people across Montana,” said Rachel Huff-Doria, Forward Montana’s executive director. “The town halls will provide accessible, fun and informative opportunities for voters to engage with candidates about the issues that matter most to Montanans.”

Each congressional candidate will be featured independently in hour-long town halls shown live on Facebook during the first week of May. Both Rob Quist, the Democratic candidate, and Mark Wicks, the Libertarian candidate, have confirmed their participation in the town halls. Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate, has been invited, but has not yet responded.

“We hope that Greg Gianforte will participate in the town hall,” Huff-Doria said. “It’s important that young Montanans have information about all of the candidates on the ballot.”

Leading up to the town halls, people can submit questions at forwardmontana.org/questionsforcongress by April 20. All questions must come from someone who currently resides in Montana, and questions may not be submitted anonymously.