January is when Forward Montana gets out the human resources blender and mixes things up. We’re gaining staff, transitioning to work in the legislature, and generally blending together a democracy smoothie. Mmmm, smoothie; mmmm, democracy.


Aylinn Inmon, who oversaw explosive grown in our intern program, is leaving staff to focus on all the schoolwork we distracted her from over the last two years.

Thankfully she hands the role of Leadership Development Organizer over to Lucy Peraino, hereinafter known as Democritus Prime. Like all Transformers, Lucy has two forms: in her case, robot changer-of-the-world and robot office drone.

Our new Volunteer Organizer is Hannah Reagan, former fellow and officially the youngest person gunning for our Executive Director’s job. The fact that both of Forward Montana’s new staff hires are former interns/fellows is a testament to Aylinn’s success training young Montanans in the political process.

Additionally, two former interns have been selected for fellowships this semester. The eminently poised Whitehall, MT native and East-Coast re-transplant, Debi Lombardi, will run our high school program as we bid its former organizer, Cassie Hintz, well wishes in her new job at the legislature in Helena. In charge of building out a Youth Agenda is Shibu Arens, officially titled our Six “E” Beast (try saying it out loud). What can you say about Shibu? He speaks German, he’s a black belt in Taekwondo, and a geologist in training; modern day Indiana Jones.

Unfortunately, Dr. Kayje Booker who oversaw last year’s HUGE voter registration campaign has accepted a new position. Fortunately, it’s still with Forward Montana! She will serve as the Program Director, where she will, you know, direct programs or something like that.


January also ushers in Montana’s 63rd legislature, and with the biennial circus legislature well underway, Forward Montana has been taking a greater role in the legislative process than ever before, focusing on voting rights and education. As part of this effort we’ll be rolling out some cool stuff to keep you in touch with the legislature, and more importantly, the legislature in touch with you. Stay tuned.

As a first step in these efforts to increase young people’s voice in the legislature, Forward Montana has convened a Youth Caucus which includes representatives from  Forward Montana, ASUM (U of M’s student government), ASMSU (MSU), ASMSUB (Billings), and MontPIRG. It’s high time youth coordinate our legislative work, and the caucus promises to be a big step in the right direction.

Whew! 2013 is starting with a bang, and we’re happy to have you in the family. Stay in touch.

– Andrea, Lucy, Shibu, Debi, Hannah, Kayje, Tracy, & Tess.

P.S. In other news, Forward Montana’s unofficial theme Thrift Shop by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis just went #1.

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