Growing up on the Flathead Indian Reservation, Shane Morigeau says, he experienced firsthand the depredations of predatory insurance and securities scams on the sick, the poor, and the systemically marginalized. Morigeau began his advocacy on behalf of those victims first as a lobbyist and attorney representing the reservation, and later in the House, where he has represented residents of northwestern Missoula’s House District 95 since the 2017 session.

Morigeau is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination for state auditor, also known as commissioner of securities and insurance, the top official tasked with overseeing the insurance and securities industries in Montana.

In a new interview with Montana Free Press editor-in-chief John S. Adams, Morigeau draws a contrast between himself and the two Republican candidates in the race, describing commercial real estate business owner Troy Downing as “a multi-millionaire and self-funded,” and Nelly Nicol as “an insurance industry insider.”

Morigeau also levels criticism at current state auditor and Republican U.S. House candidate Matt Rosendale, telling Adams, “[O]ne of the things that the auditor’s office did the last session was let the funding for several [department] jobs fizzle out.” Rosendale requested a $650,000 cut in funding for his office during the 2019 session.

“I envision the auditor’s office being a watchdog consumer protection agency, where it’s going after bad-faith actors and holding them accountable,” Morigeau tells Adams. “I want to be proactive. I actually want to go out and keep people … updated as to what the current schemes are.”

Morigeau says he didn’t necessarily identify with one party or another in his younger days, but chose to run for state representative in 2016 as a Democrat because he saw mostly Democratic lawmakers supporting the issues important to his community. 

In 2019, Morigeau worked with House colleague Rep. Rae Peppers and state senators Frank Smith, Jason Small, and Fred Thomas to pass a package of bills aimed at combating the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous people in Montana, garnering mostly bipartisan support.

Morigeau’s conversation with Adams is featured on the Montana Lowdown podcast, a weekly publication of Montana Free Press.

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.