GALLATIN COUNTY — It’s one of the smallest but mightiest agencies in Montana’s state government: State Auditor.
The State Auditor regulates two of the state’s largest industries, insurance and securities.
On the 2020 ballot for Montana’s State Auditor race are businessman Troy Downing on the Republican side, and Democratic state legislator Shane Morigeau.
Downing, a Republican who lives outside of Bozeman, touts his business experience and understanding of these highly regulated industries.
“We just have too many people who are running for offices that have never done anything in the private sector,” said Downing in an interview with MTN News. “They don’t understand what it’s like to operate in the private sector, and it affects us. And I think it’s important that you have somebody that has business experience.”
Morigeau says some of his experience is personal, watching families struggle to afford healthcare in his hometown of Ronan on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
“We need somebody who is going to step up into this office and look up for people’s best interest in Montana, not insurance companies,” said Morigeau.
“I think people want someone who comes not from insurance, but who’s looking out for people who come from our communities and grew up here.”
Both candidates say transparency and consumer protection, protecting Montana’s small businesses, are a priority.
And both agree on where they disagree the most.
“One of the things that I want to see, coming back to health insurance is having lots of options. I keep having tools in the toolbox. I think just having one tool in the toolbox is not meaningful,” said Downing.
“I’m all about choices and options, as long as they’re options that people can use and that actually help people in Montana,” said Morigeau.
Montana’s State Auditor also serves on the Land Board and is part of deciding the future of state trust land.
“You know, the Land Board does a lot of work to do leases with farmers and ranchers. I’m a product of our public school system, so I know what the public land means for our schools,” said Morigeau.
“Even on the land board, understanding what that means to our farmers and ranchers and making sure that we truly are stewards with a long term goal of using those resources to support our farmers and ranchers and natural resource development,” said Downing.
You can learn more about the candidates by visiting their websites: