Congressional candidate Kathleen Williams believes that our state – and our country – deserve qualified, honorable representation. First and foremost a thoughtful, dedicated member of the Montana community, Williams feels just as comfortable rolling up her sleeves for work in rural fields and streams as she does under the Capitol roof. Her thirty-four-year natural resources career traverses the public, private, and non-profit sectors. The principles of responsible, science-based stewardship, the voices of individuals who work the land for a living, and the shared-used policies of state government inform her pragmatic, forward-thinking views of water rights, public access, and sustainability policy.
During her three terms as a Representative in Montana’s Legislature, Williams served as Vice Chair of the Agriculture and Taxation committees and with the Council of State Governments-West. There, she became well-known for fostering successful bipartisan relationships based on ethical behavior and mutual respect – principles increasingly absent from the Washington, DC of today.
Williams believes in the importance of independent, local farming initiatives. During her time with the House, she distinguished herself as a legislative playmaker in agricultural circles. She served on the Governor’s Drought Committee and the Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission. Her graduate research on flows necessary to keep rivers healthy forming the basis of her expertise, she fought on the front lines to protect irrigator water rights, the interests of the Salish-Kootenai tribes, and the protection of priority fisheries.
As a leader of the House Taxation Committee, Kathleen Williams familiarized herself with the urgent need for effective tax reform to help working-class families and worked to advance an Earned Income Tax Credit in 2013 – a measure which successfully passed in 2015. And for years, the Revenue Estimate – the state’s method for determining which programs to prioritize – was performed effectively and accurately with her contributions and leadership.
Williams is a champion for healthcare, understanding that the combined systemic gutting and overcomplication of insurance coverage does not serve the needs of working, retired, or low-income Montanans. A caregiver for her ailing mother at an early age, Williams developed a life outlook of caring for people in need. As a legislator, she advocated for those who have been discarded by the healthcare system. After four years spent connecting the needs of doctors and cancer patients with insurance companies, Williams sponsored a successful bill which ensured the lifesaving coverage of routine cancer treatments while allowing patient participation in innovative clinical trials.
Kathleen Williams graduated with a B.S. in Resource Economics from U.C. Berkeley, and from Colorado State University with an M.S. in Recreation Resources. In her day job as Associate Director at the Western Landowners Alliance she serves as a resource on water and policy issues, tells the story of private land conservation through film, and provides information important to the ecological, economic, and cultural pulse of over 14 million acres of privately held land in the West.
Williams hunts and fishes, hikes and canoes, and protects sustainable public access to the incredible rivers and mountains that all Montanans have the right to utilize and the responsibility to protect. She enjoys cycling, music, and a good two-step. Williams is step-mom to two adult boys and an overactive German wirehair pointer.