Missoula’s Ellie Smith to launch campaign for state Senate with “tribute to activists”

Rep. Ellie Hill Smith

Ellie Hill Smith of Missoula will launch her campaign for Montana Senate District 45 on Friday in what she’s billing as a “tribute to activists.”

Missoula Mayor John Engen, along with a lineup of musicians and artistic talent, will punctuate the evening event.

Smith announced her campaign kickoff in a press release sent this week to the Missoula Current.

“I came to progressive politics through a working class upbringing, running the Poverello Center, and as an attorney fighting for social and economic justice,” Hill said.

“Missoulians have always been on the front lines of grassroots activism, moving establishment Montana politics towards common objectives of social, economic and environmental justice.”

Hill won a close election in 2010 for the Montana House of Representatives and was re-elected to four terms. Now that she’s termed out, she’s looking to move to the Senate to “represent the voices of the people in a new office.”

Hill noted that she was voted “Missoula’s Best Activist” for 11 straight years in the former Missoula Independent reader survey for her advocacy and political engagement on progressive causes.

“Ellie has been a proven and effective voice for Missoula in our Capitol,” Engen said. “I am happy to lend my support to send her back to represent us again.”

Friday’s campaign kick-off, planned in the Old Post parking lot at 6:30 p.m., includes a number of musicians, including Tom Catmull, Jeff Medley, Meg Hänsen and the Cigarette Girls Burlesque. It also includes Bob Wire, Guthrie and Summer Quist, Grace Decker, Josh Slotnick, Kat Hawkins, Bob Zimorino and Cash for Junkers.

Hill said the performers have each chosen a song, poem or other artistic expression to pay tribute to activism. The event will be emceed by actor and educator Reid Reimers and stand-up comedian Charley Macorn, and it includes free beer, face painting, balloon animals and a photo booth.

“I wanted to create an event that was not about politicians but about the music and values that inspires a movement,” said Hill.