Interviews & stories by
Patricia Swan Smith
November 2, 2000
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
The incumbent Republican: Doug Mood
Doug Mood was elected to House District 58 in 1996. He has served two terms.
Mood was born November 3, 1943, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. He attended the University of Montana from 1961 to 1966 where he studied English Literature.
He and his wife Marion live in Seeley Lake.
He began working for Pyramid Mountain Lumber in 1967, and is now the Vice President.
Last session, he was elected as the speaker pro tem to serve if the speaker could not run a session.
"I think in the last four years I have become very familiar with the legislative process and it takes a while to know how to be successful at getting bills through," Mood said.
He said that his election into leadership in the legislature shows the confidence the Republicans have in him.
"They look to me for leadership and have confidence in my judgment, and that's important for the District," he said.
He said that he is proud of the passage of Senate Bill 200, which he sponsored in the house. The bill reduced business equipment taxes from 6 percent to 3 percent and reduced livestock taxes from 4 percent to 3 percent. The livestock tax will be eliminated by the year 2003.
He said he is concerned about the commerce in Montana and the quality of jobs here.
"They go hand in hand," he said. "And I would like to see improvements in both areas."
He said if he is elected, he would like to see a vigorous war on weeds. He intends to sponsor a bill to consolidate the numerous state loan programs into one office. He said he'd like to revise the Income Tax Code and reduce the top rate from 11 percent to 7 percent. He would also like to address the problem in Montana regarding low teachers' salaries.
"Montana has to be able to compete with other states for good teachers," he said.
He serves on the advisory board of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research; he's on the Board of Directors for Montana Taxpayers Association, the Montana Chamber of Commerce and on the Board of Advisory for the NFIB/MT, which is a small business organization.
He attended the White House Conference on Small Business as an elected delegate for Montana.
"It's very important to me to understand business," Mood said.
He said he stays active in these organizations so he can get a good grasp of business to get State support for the business climate.
"I continue to believe the number of problems in HD 58 and the State of Montana is the lack of adequate jobs, and it's a problem I'll continue to address as long as I'm in the state legislature."
Democratic Challenger Dennis Daneke
Dennis Daneke was born September 1, 1954, in Kansas City, Missouri. He said he fell in love with Montana during a 1973 visit. He immediately moved to Montana to complete his undergraduate degree at the University of Montana. He went on to receive a Master's in Wildlife Biology at the University of Montana.
He worked out of state as a biologist for several years and spent two and one-half years in Venezuela before returning to Montana. He and his wife Karen live in Potomac.
"The experiences I've had have broadened my horizons and gave me perspectives that I have brought home to the citizens of Montana," Daneke said. "Montanans should not be forced to work two or more jobs just to support themselves. I'd like to see tax breaks go to home owners and small businesses instead of large corporations."
The Democratic challenger: Dennis Daneke
"I'd also like to see changes to promote successful new businesses, develop rural access to technology, emergency assistance and provide better health care services to the many who cannot afford it."
"Many of my goals to help Montana, need to be supported by strong education opportunities. School funding for academics as well as an increase in teachers' salaries are so important to Montana."
"I will also work to find solutions based on mutual respect that protect the rights of property owners and the preservation of our hunting and fishing heritage. Our jobs and our way of life depend on access to Montana's lands and waters."
Daneke currently works for Reynolds Construction Company as a carpenter's foreman.
He was elected President of Missoula Carpenters' Union Local No. September of 1994, and still holds that office. He's a member of the Montana Community Labor Alliance, delegate to the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters and a past member of Missoula's Open Space Committee. He's also a member of the local SSTEP program and a supporter of the Swan Valley Ecosystem Center.
"I know it takes time to learn the legislative process, and I am confident that with my life experiences and my dedication to Montana, I would be able to do a great job for the people in House District 58."