Dan Bartel, Dryn Durley square off for HD29 seat

Charlie Denison


Lewistown resident Dan Bartel, Republican candidate for HD29, said it is his goal if elected to focus on Montana issues affecting people locally, such as property rights and overregulation.

Photo by Charlie Denison


Lewistown resident Dryn Durley is the Democratic candidate for House District 29. If elected, Durley plans to talk with as many people as possible and “change the conversation” in government today.

File photo


Election day is nearly upon us, and while most of the attention and pressure is on the presidential candidates, there are plenty of other races taking place on this historical day.

One of these races is for the Montana House of Representatives District 29 seat, where Republican Dan Bartel squares off against Democrat Dryn Durley, both of Lewistown.


Dan Bartel: eliminate regulations to speed up economy

It’s been quite the political season, Bartel said, and he’s ready to get to the other side, encouraging people in the community to vote for him.

“I’ve driven around all the communities: Roy, Grass Range, Winnett, Winifred and Lewistown, of course,” said Bartel, a small business owner for almost 40 years. “I’ve gone door-to-door, refreshing people on who I am and why I’m running. It’s been very receptive. People have been happy I’ve taken the time to talk with them and ask them about their concerns.”

Bartel admits, however, that most people he talks to “aren’t as focused on the local campaign.”

“People are generally more focused on the national political scene,” he said, “and, here, in a more conservative area, people are really hollering about Hillary Clinton something fierce. Honestly, though, a lot of people don’t seem to care about either candidate. They wish there was another choice.”

What’s become of the presidential race has also distracted from the real issues, Bartel said.

“We have a lot of problems, and they are big problems,” Bartel said. “The race needs to be issue-driven and not personally driven. I think we’re all sick of it. I don’t even turn it on anymore.”

Bartel wants to divert the public, he said, and put the focus first and foremost on Montana issues, of which there are many.

“Property rights and overregulation are the two issues that I hear about more than any,” Bartel said. “People are confused and tired of all these government regulations inhibiting their movement.”

Bartel said he is a strong proponent of personal property rights and also believes Montana is overregulated “in every facet.”

“I think we can get along without all these regulations,” he said. “A lot are redundant, overreaching and I believe a lot of them slow down the economy. There are a lot of federal regulations and state regulations that overlap each other and create issues. We need to eliminate those so our economy will grow at a healthy rate.”

Funding for infrastructure education are also big issues in the state, Bartel said, and there isn’t just one solution to get what is needed. It’s also going to take more than one person, but Bartel believes there are many representatives coming forward who can help make a shift happen

“We need to change the culture of government,” Bartel said. “We can do that by changing the management. We have to be able to elect people willing to sit at the table, work out the differences and come to a definitive decision. We need to take the problems as they arise, look at the departments and see what is needed and what isn’t needed. ”


Dryn Durley: changing the conversation

A democrat and a Central Montanan by way of California, Durley wants to change the culture of today’s political scene, and she wants to do so by first changing the conversation.

“The presidential campaign is definitely a distraction,” she said. “It’s an excuse for not participating, and it has exhausted people and stopped conversation that should take place from taking place at all.”

Instead of vent about attacks on character in both the presidential and gubernatorial race, Durley – like her HD 29 opponent – got down to the issues she feels most affect the 10,029 constituents in the district they’re running to represent.

“This is all about representation,” Durley said. “This isn’t a one-issue campaign. I intend to set up a small office or meeting room on Main Street where – for a few hours six days a week – I can have conversation with the constituents. They can tell me what’s important to them. This is about dialogue. I want to know concerns, speak clearly and work with others to address an issue and resolve an issue. I don’t want anyone to take a back seat.”

This philosophy applies to a plethora of issues facing Central Montana, Durley said, including Medicaid expansion, water, tourism, hunting and fishing, agriculture, ranching, health care, education, infrastructure, veterans, jobs, mental health and the stewardship of natural resources.

“I pledge to address the specific issues of concern to my constituents and provide them with accurate information and a network of ongoing support they can count on,” Durley said. “I take this very seriously. I want to bring civility back and stand up to bullies who don’t want conversations to take place. If our intentions are to divide, isolate and manage people, if that becomes to focus, then we miss the relationship. If I can change this and encourage people to speak without fear, we all can accomplish something.”

  There are a lot of challenges right now, Durley said, and in order for issues to be resolved people need to be heard. That’s what Durley – a humanitarian involved with community projects such as “adopt a block” and “sow, grow and share” – wants to do and that’s why she wants to win.

“I’m not just a name on a ballot,” Durley said. “I’m not just a counterweight. I can make a difference. I genuinely want to give a voice to people who have felt manipulated and disenfranchised from their own government.”

Durley encourages the people of HD29 to vote for her, come see her and start these conversations.

“Express how you feel,” she said. “Because, if we aren’t able to communicate with each other, how can we resolve our issues?  It’s the relationships that matter. All I can do is listen, be visible and stand for civility.”

Lastly, Durly encourages people to not get bogged down by the negative attack ads and polarizing differences. Instead, she encourages people to find common ground.

“If we can’t agree on everything, then what can we agree on that makes a difference for all of us?” Durley said.




When do you think the snow will finally be melted in Lewistown?