HOUSE DISTRICT 3 - MONTANA
6th Generation Montanan
From an early age, I benefited from what makes our community so special - access to public lands, public parks, public services, public schools, and the investment of residents of all ages who care about the community.
My experience growing up in Columbia Falls was hardly unique - money was tight, especially for a family of seven. As a child, I counted on scholarships for camps and activities, received free hot lunches, and relied on our school and public libraries for my entertainment. Because I grew up in a place where so much was accessible to me on my bike I was able to pick up a weekly paper route around my neighborhood as my first job, spend a lot of time at our local library, and ride to the city pool. Growing up in a safe community with accessible public services allowed me to learn self-sufficiency and independence.
Like many Montanans, community service has always been a big part of my life. I first served within the context of my church congregation but as I grew older I transitioned to participating with civic groups such as Builders Club, Key Club, National Honor Society, and other opportunities at my church and in school.
These experiences - organizing with others who shared my purpose and motivation - taught me the value of being part of something greater than myself. Our diverse religious and civic groups make our communities strong.
Shaped by Columbia Falls
As a teenager, I continued to benefit from the opportunities provided me through our school system, both in Columbia Falls and beyond. I was chosen as the Outstanding 8th Grader by faculty at CFJH and in high school I continued to participate in soccer, basketball, tennis, and track as well as service clubs and any available scholastic opportunity. I was amazed at how so many people without high school age children showed up to our games to support us; it was really special to have that support from the entire community. I am forever grateful to my teachers, coaches, and church leaders who taught and supported me while growing up in Columbia Falls.
Although I already had an ethic of individual service - I started to understand how public policy impacts all of us when I attended ALA Girls State, a nonpartisan weeklong program that teaches high school girls about American democracy and Montana’s legislative process. I visited the Montana State Capitol and legislative chambers - feeling a sense of awe and respect for a process through which we can collectively invest in and impact our communities. During that same time frame, I participated in Leaders of Tomorrow, a local United Way program. I met with and learned from local and regional leaders from a variety of backgrounds - judges, policemen, business owners, and healthcare workers. As part of the program, I represented the CFHS student body at the monthly Chamber of Commerce meetings in Columbia Falls. My understanding of our legislative process, community leaders, and public service comes from Montana and is rooted in the Flathead Valley.
Enter to Learn;
Go Forth to Serve
After high school, I attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. The motto of BYU is "Enter to Learn; Go Forth to Serve." This is a central focus of the BYU college experience, equal to the rigorous academic and well rounded education I received. Through a combination of scholarships, federal pell grants, campus jobs, and student loans, I was able to graduate with minimal student debt.
While I was at school, I looked forward to the summer when I could return to Montana. I spent two seasons working for Glacier Raft Company at their shop outside of West Glacier and backpacking in Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex during my free time. My love for exploring the outdoors later took me to working in gear shops in Pinedale, Wyoming and Park City, Utah, but I never felt rooted in those communities the way I felt in Columbia Falls. Seasonal tourism jobs mostly serve out of state visitors, and I felt the call to do something that served the year-round residents - the people that really make small towns work.
I felt drawn back to the place I grew up, hoping to contribute to the local community that invested in me as a child. My opportunity to return came in the form of an AmeriCorps VISTA service position with a local food access nonprofit, Land to Hand MT*, that serves residents of the Flathead Valley, including Columbia Falls and the Canyon. I served two full years as a VISTA and have continued on as staff to do important food security work in our community.
*This is not an endorsement, merely a statement of fact to let voters know where I work. All views expressed on this page are my own and do not represent Land to Hand MT.
Running for House District 3
My history of service, dedication to our community, leadership experience, and work ethic make me uniquely suited to represent Columbia Falls at the state legislature. I care deeply about this district and don’t want outside money to change our community - the year-round residents deserve a voice in shaping our future.
My guiding principles will be to protect our democratic process, individual rights, local control for our towns, community resources, freedom of speech, and The Constitution of Montana.
Montanans have a long history of voting for the person, not the party. I promise to represent all residents of House District 3 and work across the aisle to improve our community and state.
Inflation is high. Housing costs are skyrocketing. Times are hard and we need to support our grocery store workers, our teachers, our public lands workers, our restaurants, and our large number of veterans. You are the mainstays and backbone of our community; you deserve a good life here. Together we can find creative, fiscally sound ways to support you and make sure you have a permanent and respected place in our community.
Many of us have multiple generations of family here - I am part of three generations currently living in Columbia Falls. Our community needs to support people at all life-stages, from birth to aging, and it needs to support the rich relationships and close community that comes from inclusive age diversity.
We hunt, we fish, we hike, we ski. We know this Valley like the back of our hands. Our understanding of the land around us is rooted in our labor in the land - forestry, agriculture, hiking, hunting, fishing - through a way of life that doesn’t exist in much of the rest of the country anymore. I will represent our community’s unique ethic of stewardship over the public lands that surround us.
Above all else, I think we can all agree that politics in our state have been getting pretty radical. I want to bring us back to the middle, where our common ground is found and where the work gets done. Montanans, and even more so Columbia Falls area residents, value our community and taking care of our neighbors. Let's have that reflected in who we send to represent us at the Montana State Legislature. Vote for the person, not the party.
If you've ever cared about an issue, you've probably contacted your representative. Many times, you never hear anything back - I know I've been in that situation before. I promise to be a responsive and accessible leader in our community.
Keep Montana Affordable
Generational Montanans are having to leave their hometowns because it is no longer affordable. Business owners can't find workers because there is nowhere for them to live. Schools can't hire the teachers they need for the same reason. To keep our public services like schools, libraries, police and fire departments staffed, we need to address housing. Actions such as incentivizing the building of affordable long term housing instead of catering to short term rentals, building up not out, and property tax reform will contribute to a better housing future.
Responsible Gun Owners
We use guns for recreation, hunting, and to feel safe in our homes. This has been a long-standing tradition in our country and state and I believe in upholding our Second Amendment right to own guns in responsible and safe ways. Protecting our individual rights is important to me.
The last legislative session took away tools that towns use to be responsive to the needs of their residents. I believe in letting areas create local solutions to local problems. The people living and working in Columbia Falls know what works best for our town and shouldn't have that power taken away by the state government. Our representative should be there to fight for Columbia Falls first.
Property tax Reform
Those of us who live here full time know that our summers are beautiful but other times of the year it can be a struggle. Second home owners who only live here part of the year should be paying for that privilege and full time residents should have a fighting chance at buying a house. Addressing and reforming the way property taxes work for full time residents is a top priority.
I am against CI-121. I believe there are better ways to address this issue.
Support those who support us
Our highway patrolmen, police officers, firefighters, teachers, and other public service workers need our support. Just like everyone else, keeping those positions staffed is hard when there is very little housing and our population needs have outgrown the size of the current departments. These are important positions in our community and we need to make sure they are funded and that we have a place for them.
As a daughter of a public school teacher and a product of the Columbia Falls public school system, I am a strong proponent of supporting our community schools and teachers. Public schools provide an important service to our families by ensuring a safe place for children to go during the day, hosting sports, and educating the next generation.
Planning for our Future
We are all connected within the Flathead Valley and Montana - growth in other towns overflow to Columbia Falls and the Canyon. We need to work together at the county, regional, and state levels to create plans that will inform and guide our shared growth while preserving what we love about our individual communities. Each town should be able to maintain local control while working within our vision for the future.
Both healthcare and mental health services are difficult to access and can be expensive. We need to address this growing issue in our state, expand in-state training programs, and provide the support our residents deserve. We can and should do better, especially for our veterans.
Montanans use hydropower, solar, wind, and more traditional sources like gas and oil to power our cars, homes, and towns. Diversifying our power grid to include renewable energy sources only makes it stronger. Supporting clean energy creates jobs and is good for our environment. Solar and wind are especially important if we want to be independent and not rely on other countries or states for our power sources. As these power sources get more reliable and affordable, adopting them into our lives will be easier.
You can also donate by mailing a check to:
Andrea Getts for HD3
P.O. Box 1662
Columbia Falls, MT 59912
Please include your name, mailing address, occupation, and employer as this information is required by campaign finance laws. The max contribution is $400.
Please email or call me directly if you would like to volunteer with my campaign or host a campaign sign.