Montana Woman of the Week: Hadley Ferguson

Hadley Ferguson.

Artist. Mom. Missoulian. Visionary.

10537755_762321563821596_4151178804085336584_nIs there anyone more deserving for our first OFFICIAL “Montana Woman of the Week”?

You must read this–> article in the Missoulian by Cory Walsh and photos by Tom Bauer. Perfection.

History was unveiled in Week One of the 64th Session of the Montana Legislature on the third floor of the grand staircase in the state Capitol.  I was there standing directly next to a visibly proud Governor Steve Bullock and heard the inspirational introductory remarks from our First Lady, Lisa Bullock.

From reporter Cory Walsh, “In front of a cheering crowd of more than 250, which filled the hallways and spilled down the steps, Missoula artist Hadley Ferguson pulled down the curtain on a set of two murals titled “Women Build Montana.”

“The first new paintings in the Capitol since 1928 depict the myriad roles women played building communities in the Treasure State.”

“These murals are about the generations of women who have been living in Montana, the women who moved to make a life in Montana, and the women who were born in Montana,” Ferguson said. “These women worked hard to create the communities, homes, schools, policies, rights and opportunities that we live and continue to carry on to new generations today. Hopefully, any woman can look at these images and see themselves in them.”

I chose the particular picture featured above for selfish reasons because it includes my freshman year legislative mentor, the rock, Senator Diane Sands.

Senator Sands of Missoula and Senator Lynda Moss of Billings were totally instrumental in fighting for the Women’s Mural being placed in the halls of the Montana State Capitol.  (I mean they have not painted any murals in the Capitol since 1928.  Seriously!)  I love them for it and I watched them seal the deal last session.  Government done good!

HADLEY FERGUSON.  It’s you.  Montana Woman of the Week.

Hadley, your work reminds us where we come from and who we are and it will encourage our girls to know that their place is in that building.  You made history this week and your work will live as long as our Capitol stands.


Posted in Woman of the Week

Lawyers, Guns, and Money: Welcome to the 2015 Session of the Montana Legislature

Welcome to the 64th Session of the Montana Legislature: send lawyers, guns, and money!

Week One.  Hemlines, neck lines, and hate-mongering preachers.

My Week One blog post is admittedly scattered and short because I have to work, like a lot. I know this gig is supposed to be all whiskey and fat cigars, but quite frankly, it just ain’t.  We are at the Capitol most every morning at 7:00 am… all of us, on both sides of the aisle.  For the most part, your Montana legislators are folks who care deeply about their convictions, albeit diverse convictions, and really do want to make Montana a better place.  That said, roughly like 40% of the body is new (freshman!) and it makes the learning curve tiresome and steep. Term limits are bad in a small state like Montana. I will repeat this to you often.

Back to Week One.  When you have a citizen legislature who meets every other year, for only ninety days, it’s a literal cluster. It’s not efficient or smart to run anything this way, let alone a State and all its departments and employees and budget.  And Week One is King Cluster!

That said, a few pieces of low hanging fruit from Week One cannot be ignored: namely “The Preacher”.

Here’s a fine article in the Helena I.R. about the “The Preacher”.  He was apparently imported to Montana to spread the Love of Christ on the eve of our first day of the 64th legislative session. If I was a better blogger, I would insert a picture of me in this I.R. article wearing a sandwich board reading, “Who Would Jesus Hate?”  Alas, you will need to find a better blogger. Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 8.49.42 PM

For those of you who don’t actually click through to the terrific Helena I.R. article, here’s what you need to know:

The Preacher signed a declaration stating that the murder of an abortion doctor was “justifiable homicide”. No really, he did that.  The Preacher has called homosexuality a “sickness” and declared them “disgusting” and “messed up in the head”.  No really, he said that.

Perfect Preacher to kick off our fresh faced session of collegiality, no?

“It’s the depraved nature of man and that’s why it needs to be suppressed through the force of law, otherwise it proliferates within the culture to the point now where homosexuals who can’t reproduce actually adopt other people’s children to raise them.”  You can watch this painful and dangerous vitriol here.

During his time in the Montana Capitol, The Preacher laid off the gays and physicians, long enough, however, to share his raging “SERMON?” to a mostly small group of Republican legislators, peppered with gems ordering them to place themselves “between the oppressor (the federal courts and government) and the victims (the citizens of Montana).”  Sweet Jesus!

Since I couldn’t be there to witness The Preacher’s rant, I decided to have this imaginary conversation with him based on his quotes in the I.R.:

“You have the power to defend the people of Montana from the federal tyrants,” The Preacher says.

I reply, “Really, like even against that tyrannical black president of ours? That’s so cool. And like, the Supremacy Clause is so Civil War anyway. Let’s start our Montana militia.  Let’s burn the Constitution! Down with the feds! FREEDOM!” 

Yes, and “God is the ultimate authority, the ultimate law giver.” The Preacher says.

“Totally. God is the One, all the way. Ultimate fighting force and law giver.  We could even go bigger and like bring in Allah and Sharia Law too.  Let’s bring in all the Gods, like the Super Friends.  Yo, I’m down with it!”

I mean, seriously.  SERIOUSLY.

As an aside, Terence Corrigan, must be a new reporter for the I.R.-or at least new to me- but he did a great job on this piece.

(Dear Sir Terence, please introduce yourself either in the halls of the Capitol or at Blackfoot Brewery, where the Capitol reporters have their side office, as I really enjoyed this article.)

I don’t want to belabor this topic as I honestly don’t believe the vast majority of Montana GOP or even Tea Party folks believe any of The Preacher’s hateful crap.  Sometimes though, I do admit, I wish a few of them would speak up and say so.

Not wanting to cast more stones, Jimmy Buffet provides how I really feel about the “The Preacher Incident” anyway. Let’s all try to be MORE kind and compassionate to one another.  And that’s all I got for tonight and Week One.  AMEN!

Posted in Uncategorized