In an interview on the Montana Lowdown podcast this week, Democratic U.S. House candidate Kathleen Williams responded to charges by Republican House candidate Debra Lamm that Williams is “too extreme for Montana” and supports “Medicare for all.” 

“I think what that says is that they’re very nervous,” Williams said. “If they want to paint me with labels into a box that I don’t fit in, it just shows that they’re concerned that I’m really the right fit for Montana.”

Williams, a former three-term Montana state representative who began serving in 2011, is campaigning a second time for the state’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. She tried unsuccessfully to unseat incumbent (and current gubernatorial candidate) Greg Gianforte in 2018, after surprising many observers by winning the Democratic primary despite being significantly outspent by opponents Grant Kier and John Heenan. Her 24,000-vote general-election deficit against Gianforte was regarded by some as a success in its own right, as Williams came closer to unseating a Republican House incumbent than any Montana Democrat in nearly 20 years.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has put the current race for Montana’s U.S. House seat on its “Battleground Map,” meaning the committee considers the race competitive.

Williams talked with Montana Lowdown host John S. Adams about her career in natural resource management, her legislative accomplishments, and her hope of helping fill a policy-making void in a Congress she criticized as “showing no leadership on thorny issues, whether it’s health care, or immigration, or international economic policy.” 

Williams also shared her top congressional priorities, including a health-care plan that would give people over the age of 55 the option of buying into Medicare, and spurring new economic growth via innovative agricultural activity in Montana.

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In addition to Williams, the Democratic primary includes Missoula state Rep. Tom Winter and rancher Matt Rains. The Republican primary includes former chair of the state Republican Party Lamm, Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, State Auditor Matt Rosendale, rancher and Lewis and Clark County GOP Central Committee chairman Joe Dooling, and Corvallis School District Superintendent Tim Johnson.

Alex McKenzie has worked with a diverse array of start-ups and nonprofit organizations. He is a former record producer and music journalist, has additional experience working in agriculture and food security, and previously operated his own dairy business. He lives in southwest Montana. Follow him on Twitter.