We continue looking at local Montana House of Representatives races in our area. MTN News introduces you to the candidates for HD 25. The area covers neighborhoods from 3rd Street North to residences along 57th Street North. Ballotpedia says just over 9,800 live in the area.
Democrat Jasmine Krotkov represents the area after winning the seat in 2018 against Republican Jeremy Trebas. She's running for re-election and is a retired postmaster for the U.S. Postal Service.
Krotkov responded to a number of our questions ranging from their thoughts on the state's coronavirus response to health care and ballot initiatives. When it came to the security of mail ballot elections, the incumbent said many Montanans, including herself, have voted by mail without trouble.
The Democrat has mailed in her ballot for years after a polling place in Neihart was eliminated. Krotkov also said she has a lot of experience working for the postal service, including training new employees on protecting the sanctity of the mail.
"Tampering with the mail is a felony, and election mail undergoes even more scrutiny than first class mail,” she said. “You have to sign for it a million times every day, pass it from hand to hand. And I really think that the nonprofit, nonpartisan Postal Service is trustworthy. I don't worry at all about mailing in my ballot."
Republican Steve Gist is running against incumbent Krotkov. This is his first time running for office, but Gist has followed bills through the Legislature that focus on fire issues and forest health. He works in emergency services as a first responder, who recently returned from fire assignment in California.
When asked about the security of mail ballot elections, the Republican challenger said he believes the process on the local level is pretty safe. He's voted absentee for years, but believes registering as absentee and providing a signature for his ballot has kept his vote secure.
Gist is concerned about lost ballots due to weather conditions or human error. He's picked up ballots that have fallen on the ground and handed them personally to voters who he said wouldn't have seen them otherwise.
“There are things going off that can happen, he said. “But I think in Cascade County I think we're pretty safe than bigger urban areas. I understand the issues- their concerns,” he said. “But the people in Montana for the most part are all good people."
MTN News asked both candidates a number of questions, Their full responses can be found below.