Montana Politics

Jan 3, 2013 7:10 PM by Claire Anderson (Great Falls)

Montana teacher trades blackboard for legislative duties

Casey Schreiner, a Great Falls middle-school science teacher, is putting down the books and picking up legislative duties in Helena next week.

Schreiner was elected in November to represent House District 22.

Last year while on a field trip with his students to Helena, Schreiner decided that he would throw his hat in the ring, and after being elected into the seat, he is excited at what this opportunity means for him and his students.

He explained, "I think this is a great opportunity for me to kind of get a first-hand feel of that and bring it back and present it to them, that I don't think a lot of students in our state have the opportunity to get."

Schreiner is almost ready to take his position in Helena next week, but before that happens, he has been busy getting everything in order: "It's long, long days of basically show up, you teach until 3:30, you grade papers until 5:00, and then you go to local meetings for constituents that are kind of interested in getting your ear for a bit to talk about issues that are important to them."

For Schreiner to leave his classroom and participate in the 90 days of the legislative session, he is willing to dedicate his time, even if that requires him to pay out of his own pocket.

He noted, "We've made sure that for me to take this opportunity to do this it was not going to cost the people of Great Falls any extra money; you know money is tight for everybody, so I am willing to pay out of my paycheck for my sub (substitute teacher)."

Schreiner hopes to teach people that this is something that all Montanans can become involved in: "You know we are a citizen legislature, and I don't know if people understand that, you know, I'm not a career polititan, no legislator is, we all have real, as people would say, real full-time jobs that we leave for those 90 days and have to go back to the day after the session's over."

Schreiner is excited for this unique opportunity and even though he will miss his students, he knows they will be cheering him on from the classroom.

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