Democrat Jack Ballard enters U.S. House race

by NBC Montana Staff & The Associated PressTuesday, August 3rd 2021

MISSOULA, Mont. — Democrat Jack Ballard announced a run for the U.S. House hoping to unseat Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale.

Ballard, 58, is a writer who resides in Red Lodge and covers hunting, fishing, wildlife and conservation. He announced his campaign Tuesday.

Ballard is the first Democrat to announce a run against Montana’s only sitting U.S. House member. Three other Democrats announced earlier this year their intention to run for Montana’s new U.S. House seat.

Montana was awarded the second U.S. House seat based on the state’s growing population in the recent census results. The election is scheduled for November 2022.

“I’m running to tackle the challenges of everyday Montanans in the U. S. House of Representatives. We need lawmakers in Washington who will work with members of both parties to make progress in solving our most pressing concerns as a nation,” says Ballard.

The following was sent out by Jack Ballard for Montana:

Democrat Jack Ballard, 58, has entered the 2022 race for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives currently held by Republican Matt Rosendale.

Ballard, whose grandfather homesteaded his family’s ranch near Three Forks and who resides in Red Lodge, writes for numerous national and regional magazines on the topics of hunting, firearms, fishing, wildlife biology, conservation and other aspects of outdoor recreation.

He’s also a landlord who owns, manages and maintains rental property in Billings, Joliet and Bridger, and coaches youth and adult ski racers at Red Lodge Mountain and Big Sky.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, he taught for 12 years in the College of Education at Montana State University-Billings. He has also worked as a roofer, drywall finisher, fencing contractor, ranch hand and Baptist minister. Jack’s unique background gives him a breadth of knowledge and experience that’s a perfect fit for the Treasure State.

The economic challenges facing everyday Montanans are among Ballard’s top concerns. “The American dream is increasingly out of reach for many Montanans. Wages aren’t increasing much, but the costs of housing and healthcare are skyrocketing.”

Ballard supports an increase in the federal minimum wage.

“In the 1960s the average CEO of a major corporation made 15 to 20 times as much as the average worker. Today it’s more like 250 times as much. Business success isn’t just a product of management, and laborers deserve a fair share of the profits. The federal minimum wage hasn’t been increased in over a decade= and stands at a measly $7.25 per hour.”

Ballard grew up in a large ranch family that couldn’t afford health insurance.

“Today, like many self-employed individuals and small business owners, my wife and I struggle with the cost of a high-deductible insurance policy,” he says. “Quality healthcare should be available and affordable to every citizen of this country. Folks from Broadus and Ashland shouldn’t have to drive to Billings for routine healthcare.”

For the past two decades, the bulk of Ballard’s writing has been tied directly to public lands, wildlife and the environment. He understands that public lands play a critical role in Montana’s outdoor recreation industry, a massive economic driver that accounts for $7.1 billion annually, and that a healthy landscape is equally important to agriculture.

“The stress of drought and wildfire is crippling two of our state’s most important industries, agriculture and outdoor recreation. We desperately need innovation and investment at the federal level to reduce the devastation of an increasingly hot and dry climate. You can’t make a living as a rancher if there’s no forage on rangeland or as a fishing guide if streams are de-watered.”

Ballard says the current Congress is moving too slowly on the major issues facing Montana and the rest of the country. “It’s my nature to be a problem-solver,” says Ballard.

“As a member of the faculty at MSU-Billings and the board of directors of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, I frequently worked with others of differing opinions to improve policies. It’s like fixing farm machinery with adapted parts and a little creativity. It’s easy to sit in your corner tossing insults and tweets, but more challenging to find workable solutions. The country needs people in Washington, D.C. who understand the lives of everyday Americans and will work toward progress even if there are no perfect solutions.”

Ballard’s broad background and experience as a communicator uniquely qualify him to listen to and represent Montanans in the U.S. Congress.