A Brief History of Forward Montana

2004

  • First voter guide created + distributed. Issues covered include CI-96–the marriage amendment and the stances of the Governor candidates on health care reform. Thousands of voter guides are distributed.

2005

  • Forward Montana organizes opposition to confirmation of student regent Kala French. French eventually announces an early end to her term.
  • Forward Montana connects student to Kevin Furey to promote bill draft prohibiting prosecution of sexual assault victims for MIPs. Bill passes both chambers with bipartisan support and is signed into law.

2006

  • Forward Montana organizes first health care event: The Naked Truth. The event features former Senator Tom Daschle, former US Representative Pat Williams, Rep. Mary Caferro, and Mayor John Engen. The event attracts 200 people and is standing room only.
  • Forward Montana volunteers knock over 1000 doors for Kevin Furey and Nick Lawyer.

2007

  • Forward Montana interns mobilize letters to the editor and testimony to help save Montana’s Election Day Registration law.
  • Forward Montana volunteers make over 1,000 calls promoting the Children’s Health Insurance Program during the legislative session. CHIP is expanded and gets fully funded.
  • Candidates Gone Wild attracts 200 people and lots of media attention.
  • Forward Montana succeeds in getting a referendum in opposition to the Iraq War on the city ballot–it passes overwhelmingly.

2008 

  • Voters Protected = 6000. When the executive director of the Montana Republican Party challenged the eligibility of six thousand Montana voters, Forward Montana swung into action. Combining traditional grassroots activism, new online organizing techniques, and an aggressive communications strategy Forward Montana’s approach helped bring an end to the challenges before a single court intervened. The Republican’s party’s executive director left the position three weeks out from the general election.

2009

  • Gathered over 5,000 comments in favor of health care reform.

2010

  • Forward Montana collects over 1,700 ‘equality cards’ in favor of an LGBTQI non-discrimination ordinance in Missoula.  The Missoula City Council passes the ordinance by a 10-2 margin.
  • Forward Montana mobilizes volunteers to knock doors for Jean Price in the primary and won.
  • A bus full of Forward Montana volunteers drives across the state to Billings to knock doors for Kendall Van Dyk. Kendall is elected to the Montana State Senate by a close margin of 4 votes.

2011

  • Forward Montana is the only organization to knock doors in Montana’s School Board elections in favor of school levies. 6 of 6 levies in Missoula and Helena pass directing essential funds to our local schools.
  • Forward Montana members knock doors for Missoula City Council candidates Caitlin Copple and Mike O’herron. Both candidates win in monumental victories that conclude that no one can be elected who doesn’t support equality.

2012

  • Forward Montana members knock doors for Amanda Curtis in a primary that would decide if Butte sent a progressive to the Capitol.  Curtis won more than 2 to 1 on Election Day.
  • Forward Montana contacts 11,000 voters in the last weekend of the campaign to highlight Steve Bullock’s support of a tuition freeze at Montana universities.  Bullock wins the governorship by only 7,500 votes.

2013

  • Governor Steve Bullock keeps his promise to Forward Montana and college students across Montana by submitting a budget that freezes tuition at Montana universities.
  • Forward Montana holds its first campaign manager training: Camp Pain.  Graduates go on to manage 2 winning city council campaigns in 2013 and 3 state legislative campaigns in 2014.
  • Forward Montana endorses and knocks doors for Annelise Hedahl, a political newcomer who defeats a conservative house legislator in her campaign for city council.
  • Forward Montana expands to Bozeman, where members knock doors to successfully elect a pro-LGBT mayoral candidate who will introduce a LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance in spring 2014.