Cleaning Up the Corruption at Secretary of State’s Office

We need a leader on the Land Board who will advocate for our outdoor heritage

By Bryce Bennett

Over the last four years, our secretary of state’s office has become plagued with incompetence and corruption under the leadership of Corey Stapleton and Christi Jacobsen. Under their mismanagement we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars given away in contracts to their top donors, hiring of family members into their administration, criminal abuse of state owned vehicles, an absolute failure to plan for the challenges of COVID-19, and much more. This November – we can clean up this mess.

I’ve spent my career bringing Republicans and Democrats together to get things done for Montana. Those are the values I learned growing up in a small town in eastern Montana.

I helped protect health care for 90,000 low income Montanans and kept our rural hospitals open, I led the effort to keep dark money out of our state, and I’ve passed sweeping ethics reform that stopped politicians from hiding their misconduct from the public.

That’s the stark choice we have in this election. We can elect a fifth-generation Montanan with a record of solving problems by reaching across the aisle or continue the legacy of, what the Bozeman Daily Chronicle calls “the most inept, partisan state office holder in recent years.”

This office has faced considerable challenges, but with new leadership we can refocus it on customer service, not partisan politics and frivolous lawsuits.

We need a secretary of state who understands that Main Street is struggling and uses their office to help them recover, not place more burdens in their way. I was recognized by the Montana Chamber of Commerce for my work to support small businesses and cut through the red tape my opponent has created. We need to bring Main Street businesses to the table to make this office responsive to them by creating a one stop shop for Montana’s entrepreneurs.

We need a leader on the Land Board who will advocate for our outdoor heritage. I grew up exploring our public lands and have defended access to them tooth and nail in the Legislature. When reporters asked my opponent about her vision for the Land Board she responded that she was “not well-versed in Land Board issues.” We cannot trust someone to do the job of protecting access to our public lands if after four years in that office she doesn’t understand the job.

We need someone who has gone toe-to-toe with dark money groups and won. I’m the only candidate in this race with experience keeping our election secure against special interests. I led the effort to pass the nation’s leading dark money reform legislation to ensure every penny spent in our elections is transparent and accountable to Montana voters.

On November 3, we have an opportunity to forge a new direction for this office. Settling for the status quo means four more years of hyper partisanship, self dealing, and less of the services Montanans depend on. I’m asking for your vote to make this office once again work for you.

Sen. Bryce Bennett, candidate
Montana Secretary of State

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