State auditor-elect Matt Rosendale has announced his first staff appointments, including current state senator Kris Hansen of Havre.
Hansen will resign from the legislature to become chief legal counsel for the auditor’s office.
Hansen currently works as a lawyer in private practice. She previously worked for the Hill County Attorney’s Office and Montana Supreme Court Justice John Warner. She was deployed to Iraq in 2007 as a judge advocate with the Montana Army National Guard.
She was elected to the Montana Senate in 2014, after serving two terms in the state House. She represented Senate District 14, which includes the city of Havre and parts of Hill, Chouteau, and Cascade Counties, along with all of Liberty County.
According to state law, the Secretary of State has seven days to notify county commissioners and the Republican central committees in those counties of the vacancy.
The party committees will then have 45 days to name three potential replacements. The county commissioners must come together and appoint one of those candidates within 15 days.
Each commissioner’s vote will be weighted based on the percentage of votes Hansen received in their county in 2014. That means Hill and Chouteau County commissioners will have the largest votes.
Rosendale announced five other appointments Tuesday. He chose Nancy Butler as his deputy state auditor. Butler was the general counsel for Montana State Fund before retiring in January.
Rosendale also named Marissa Stockton of Helena as special assistant, Kendall Cotton of Florence as policy administrator, Kyle Schmauch of Kalispell as media specialist, and Dan Stusek of Billings as land board advisor and director of government affairs.
The state auditor website provides this overview of its role:
We are the state government watchdog of the insurance and securities industries for the citizens of Montana. The Office of the Montana State Auditor, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance (CSI) is a criminal justice agency that protects Montana’s consumers by ensuring fairness, transparency and access for Montanans in two of Montana’s largest industries — securities and insurance.