Montana Republicans and Democrats will select leaders ahead of the 2023 legislative session


Montana lawmakers elected leadership for the 2023 legislative session on Wednesday, according to announcements from Republicans and Democrats.

According to a Senate Majority email, Senate Republicans selected Senator Jason Ellsworth, R-Hamilton, as the next Senate President.

Ellsworth served as Senate President pro tempore during the 2021 legislature.

“It’s an honor to be the next Senate President,” Ellsworth said in a statement. “I look forward to working with senators to pass a conservative, balanced budget, provide financial relief and lower taxes to Montana residents, enact red tape reduction, and preserve the Montana way of life for future generations.

“I look forward to going to work.”

The Republican senators also elected Sen. Ken Bogner, R-Miles City, as their next Senate President pro tempore and Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick, R-Great Falls, as their Majority Leader.

Bogner is a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I’m honored by the support of my fellow senators and I look forward to realizing our conservative agenda, which the people of Montana overwhelmingly supported on Election Day,” Bogner said in a statement. “We will work hard to make Montana the freest and most fiscally responsible state in this great republic.”

Fitzpatrick was formerly the chair of the Senate Committee on Business and Labor.

“It is a tremendous honor to be elected Majority Leader of the Montana Senate,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement. “I look forward to serving the people of Montana in the 2023 legislature.”

Republican senators also elected Sens. Tom McGillvray, Steve Hinebauch, Dennis Lenz, and Barry Usher as majority whips and senators-elect to serve on the Committee on Committees, the Senate body charged with issuing committee duties.

According to MTN News and other news reports, the new Speaker of the House is Rep. Matt Regier, R-Kalispell.

According to an email from the Montana Senate and House Democrats, Senate Democrats have elected Sen. Pat Flowers, D-Bozeman, as minority leader.

“Wages are stagnant, the cost of living is skyrocketing – Montananers need solutions now. Montana Democrats will go to the Capitol in January with the policy agenda to actually bring real cost-cutting to Montana families,” Flowers said in a statement.

Senate Democrats elected Sen. Susan Webber, D-Browning, and Sen. Shannon O’Brien, D-Missoula, as Democratic whips.

In the House of Representatives, Democrats selected Rep. Kim Abbott, D-Helena, for a second term as minority leader.

“One thing both parties agree on is that we have the money to meet the urgent needs of families in Montana. We do not agree on how best to meet these needs. Democrats will fight to keep taxpayers’ money flowing back to middle-class families and workers in Montana, not more taxpayers’ money to millionaires,” Abbott said in a statement.

House Democrats also voted:

  • Rep. Derek Harvey, D-Butte, for a second term as Democratic Whip,
  • Rep. Tyson Running Wolf, D-Browning, for a second term as Democratic Whip,
  • Rep. Katie Sullivan, D-Missoula, as Democratic Whip, and
  • Rep. Alice Buckley, D-Bozeman, as Chair of the Democratic Group.

A factsheet detailing Democratic lawmakers’ session priorities can be found here. A video of the event can be viewed here.

Recognized by email from the Senate majority, lawmakers from both parties and both houses will meet at the state Capitol for the remainder of this week to iron out committee duties, participate in lawmaker orientation and prepare for the upcoming legislative session.

The 68th Montana Legislature will be sworn in January 2, 2023.