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Navigating Government Relations in Montana


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Conflict is my comfort zone.

A personal mission, a commitment to effective public policy

A wheat-farmer’s daughter from Broadwater County, Montana, I wasn’t raised in a political household. I was raised to help my neighbor, to work until the job was completed, to take responsibility for my actions. I was taught that compound interest can be your best friend or your worst enemy, and that raccoons make terrible pets.

I learned that it’s impossible to wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time.

After graduating from The University of Montana in Cell & Molecular Biology, I had my sights set on a career in research when my sister was diagnosed with Stage III cancer. In 1998, preventative screenings didn’t happen if you were a low-income mother of two. Rolling up my sleeves to help her and her family navigate through her treatment to eventual recovery shifted my perspective about what important work looked like.

Stakeholders have trusted me to:

  • Translate highly complex concepts in a way that elected officials and bureaucrats can meaningfully relate to
  • Connect with constituents using core value statements and approaches
  • Analyze and predict policy trends
  • Guide decision-making processes to achieve positive outcomes
  • Represent highly regulated industries like liquor, cannabis, and insurance

I realized that decisions had been made that didn’t allow my sister to get cancer screenings, access proper care without struggling, protect her job or her income when she was sick. They didn’t help her – they hurt her. And they were made in rooms to which she didn’t have access. So…I started working for public interest campaigns and candidates that would have made different decisions that those that put her in that situation. I made it my mission to gain access to the rooms where those decisions were made.

Today, my job is to get access to those rooms.
Whether we need to lobby, campaign, or strategize, I can help you navigate the politics and policy in Montana with confidence and finesse.

I believe that regulatory and legislative affairs shape nearly every aspect of our society. I’m a veteran of political campaigns and have leveraged my vast, diverse network to identify strategic opportunities, forecast policy shifts, and unify unconventional allies.

There’s no one I won’t talk to, and there’s no one I won’t invite to the table.

The first person I ask about legislation is the smartest person who disagrees with me. I seek out dialogue to identify what has been missing from my understanding. That’s how we create real change.

As a government relations leader with over 20 years of experience, I can help you discover options you didn’t know you had.

Case Studies

We were successful with HB 525, which makes a it a felony for a psychotherapist to sexually assault a client. Prior to this it was a misdemeanor, which means that the conviction would not flag on a background check for Montana or elsewhere. My client’s assaulter was convicted and simply moved to another state and is practicing there as his conviction is a misdemeanor. He can re-offend. This bill stops that loophole.

“When I approached Jen with an idea of changing a law to better protect our community from sex offenders, I was uncertain about the entire process. Jen demonstrated an exceptional understanding of the required steps and strategies to effect this change. Her unwavering kindness and professionalism shone throughout the entire process. Thanks to her dedicated lobbying efforts, my bill has become law and our community is safer. I highly recommend her services.”



-Mercedes Oxford Kemp

In the 2017 Special Session, I led a team to defeat a section of a bill that would have increased my client’s tax burden by over 70%. My team accomplished the task during a breakneck, high-pressure period of cometing prioritites, while being outspent approximately 10 to 1 against an enormous lobbying team of seasoned contract lobbyists. This victory allowed the nonprofit to maintain a balanced budget, and just as important, preserved the initial program being fed by the proposed tax increase through alternative deal-making. (MtSS 2017; SB8)


The Montana Liquor Store Owners Association hit a snag when their carefully crafted revision of the state agency liquor laws was unexpectedly tabled in committee. Faced with a procedural timeline and a heavily funded opponent, I was retained on short notice, and able to successfully work the floor of the Senate to take the bill off the table and pass the chamber. I was approached by the association, and 48 hours later had secured the blast motion votes on the Senate floor for my brand-new client. I then followed the bill through the House and saw it signed into law. This was possible through quickly creating a strategy to use the association’s members to lobby key members, a committed and informed sponsor, and my ability to work with members on both sides of the aisle in an efficient and effective way. (2015; SB 193)