Saturday, November 11, 2017

Happy Birthday to Bryce Bennett: 1st Openly Gay Man To Serve In Montana Legislature

Bryce Bennett was born today, November 11, in 1984. He is an American politician from Montana. A Democrat, he serves in the Montana House of Representatives, representing the 91st house district, based in Missoula. He is the first openly gay man to serve in the Montana legislature. 

Born in Billings, Bennett is a fifth-generation Montanan. While at the University of Montana, Bennett was heavily involved in political activities, serving in elected positions with the Student Senate (ASUM), the Lambda Alliance and the College Democrats. As a college senior, he served as president of the Montana College Democrats Federation, a statewide group.

After graduating in 2007, Bennett went to work for the Democratic National Committee in western Montana. Following the 2008 election, Bennett moved to Helena to take a job with the Montana House Democrats.

Bennett declared his candidacy for a seat in the Montana House of Representative in 2010. He was one of five candidates to run: two Democrats, two Republicans and a Libertarian. In the Democratic primary election held on June 8, Bennett won 85 percent of the vote. In the general election held on November 2, Bennett won narrowly: he took 50.4 percent of the vote while the Republican nominee won 46.9 percent and the Libertarian percent. He took office in January 2011. 

While Bennett has been a champion on LGBT issues in the state, he’s also spearheaded efforts to improve access to voting and led the charge against attempts to make it harder for Montanans, particularly students, veterans, Native Americans, and seniors, to vote. He was responsible for adding the option to opt in to subsequent absentee ballots to voter registration forms.

Bennett currently served as a Minority Whip of the House and is on the Agriculture, Education, Rules, and State Administration (vice chair) committees.

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