Kathleen Williams, who served three terms in the Legislature, announced Thursday she will run in the Democratic primary for Montana's U.S. House seat.
“I am pleased and honored to announce my candidacy for United States Congress," Williams said in a press release. "I am running to get things done for the people of Montana. We need members of Congress who truly represent us — that listen to our needs, understand our struggles, and work to find solutions.''
In the release, Williams said she wanted to focus on bipartisanship, citing her experience as a state legislator working with "diverse interests to get things done."
Williams was first elected in 2010 and again in 2012 and 2014. She did not seek re-election in 2016. When Williams announced she was not running again, state Sen. Mike Phillips, a fellow Democrat from Bozeman, told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that Williams was "a major behind-the-scenes force ensuring the sufficient and eventual passage of the Confederated Salish-Kootenai water compact."
A bio on the Western Landowners Alliance webpage says Williams has had a three-decade career in water resources, including in private, public and nonprofit sectors. She also served as lead water policy staff member to the Montana Legislature and later ran a state program that worked with water uses on low-stream flow issues.
Williams's press release said health care would be a priority for her, saying her mother's early-onset Alzheimer's disease taught her about the need for affordable, accessible and quality health care.
She also referenced work-force development, saying her time in the Legislature after the economic collapse of 2008 showed her the importance of diversifying the state's economy.
Montana's U.S. House seat is held by Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte, who won a special election last May after Ryan Zinke was appointed Secretary of the Interior.
So far a handful of Democrats have announced they are running in the primary, including fellow Bozeman resident and current state Rep. Tom Woods, Billings attorney John Heenan and Grant Kier of Missoula, who recently stepped down as director of the Five Valleys Land Trust.