Billings representative, Stromswold, resigns from the legislature effectively immediately

By: - January 14, 2023 6:05 pm

House Republican Representative Mallerie Stromswold of Billings. (From Mallerie Stromswold’s campaign).

Citing issues ranging from mental health to attending college, Rep. Mallerie Stromswold, R-Billings, announced Saturday morning that she was resigning her seat in the Montana Legislature effective immediately.

She becomes the third Republican representative in the past month to resign. Rep. Becky Beard, R-Helena, resigned in order to take the position of Sen. Terry Gauthier, who resigned to take an extended vacation away from Montana.

Last week, Rep. Doug Flament, R-Lewistown, resigned after he learned of a serious medical condition that would require immediate attention and treatment out of state.

Stromswold has served a district in central Billings since being one of the youngest elected officials in Legislature in 2020. She was largely seen as one of the faces of the younger Republican Party in Montana, and moderate, sometimes bucking the party on several higher profile votes, including breaking with GOP on issues regarding transgender residents.

In a statement sent on Saturday morning, Stromswold cited the stress of being both a student, paying rent in Bozeman and Helena, plus the stress of representing her district.

Her resignation statement said, in part:

“I was proud to bring my perspective of being a young female college student to debates that don’t often hear from people like me.  Unfortunately, the challenges of serving piled up. It was hard to afford to be a student, pay for travel, and have two homes during the session. I also faced significant backlash from members of my caucus because I did not fall in line. Too many have experienced an openly hostile work environment and understand the strain it takes on your life and mental health.

“It is clear that I cannot serve House District 50 the way I want to while protecting my mental health.

“The Montana Legislature was designed for people — often men — who have flexible schedules with steady and significant incomes. But our state is so much more than one type of person.  Legislative systems need to adapt so that more young people, students, single parents, and those living on low incomes can serve. It is also critical that Representatives focus more on policy solutions and less on party divisiveness.”

Stromswold told Holly Michels of Lee Newspapers that she felt targeted and alienated by the party for not voting in line with the leadership.

She had tried to resign from running the 2023 legislature earlier in the summer, but she reportedly said that the Republican Central Committee didn’t submit the paperwork to the Secretary of State on time, so she remained on the ballot and won.

According to Montana law, her resignation will kick off a process where the Secretary of State notifies the Yellowstone County Commissioners and the Yellowstone County Republicans within in the next week. From there, the county’s Republicans will forward a slate of candidates to be chosen by the three-member commission, all of whom are also Republicans.

State law said that the person who will fill Stromswold’s seat must be a Republican.

Statement from Mallerie Stromswold

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Darrell Ehrlick
Darrell Ehrlick

Darrell Ehrlick is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Montanan, after leading his native state’s largest paper, The Billings Gazette. He is an award-winning journalist, author, historian and teacher, whose career has taken him to North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, and Wyoming. With Darrell at the helm, the Gazette staff took Montana’s top newspaper award six times in seven years. Darrell's books include writing the historical chapters of “Billings Memories” Volumes I-III, and “It Happened in Minnesota.” He has taught journalism at Winona State University and Montana State University-Billings, and has served on the student publications board of the University of Wyoming.