Mallerie Stromswold, R-Billings
State Rep. Mallerie Stromswold, R-Billings, speaks at a hearing on House Bill 113 on Jan. 22, 2021. Credit: MPAN screenshot

Rep. Mallerie Stromswold, R-Billings, is resigning her seat in the Legislature, she announced Saturday morning. 

“It is with mixed emotions that I announce my resignation as the Representative for House

“Too many have experienced an openly hostile work environment and understand the strain it takes on your life and mental health.”

Rep. Mallerie Stromswold, R-Billings

District 50, effective immediately,” she wrote in a statement. “Serving the Billings community has been an incredible privilege that I don’t take lightly. The people I’ve met along this journey taught me so much, and I’ve developed many friendships I’ll keep with me throughout my life.”

Stromswold, 21, cited not only the difficulty of balancing student life with legislative service, but also “significant backlash from members of my caucus because I did not fall in line.”

“Too many have experienced an openly hostile work environment and understand the strain it takes on your life and mental health,” she wrote.

She was not immediately available for an interview with Montana Free Press Saturday but said that she has submitted her resignation to the Montana secretary of state. A spokesperson for the secretary of state did not respond to a request for confirmation in time for publication.

In her 2021 freshman session, Stromswold quickly established herself as a libertarian-minded Republican willing to buck the party on big issues. This was on display in January of that year, when she voted against two bills in the House Judiciary Committee pertaining to the rights of transgender Montanans: one requiring that transgender student athletes participate in sports teams corresponding to their sex as assigned at birth, and another that would prohibit doctors from providing gender-affirming treatment to minors. The former bill passed but is currently blocked in court, while the latter died in a dramatic House floor vote. 

“My whole political ideology lays with the fact that I don’t think we should control people’s lives,” she said at the time. “I really just don’t understand why people are so threatened by other people’s decisions that they feel the need to control them. This decision isn’t hurting us in any way.”

Stromswold attempted to resign her seat last year. In August 2022, she submitted a letter to the Yellowstone County Republican Central Committee withdrawing from her campaign for re-election, but the county committee did not notify the secretary of state in time to get her name removed from the ballot. She ultimately resolved to serve in the 2023 session, she told Montana Free Press in November. 

At the time, she primarily cited her mental and physical health, though also acknowledged that she had faced ostracization from fellow Republicans and that there “were some factors that made Helena not the most pleasant place for me.” 

It now falls to the Yellowstone County GOP Central Committee to select a replacement for Stromswold, subject to approval by the county board of commissioners. This session, Stromswold sat on the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Transportation and State Administration committees. 

“The Montana Legislature was designed for people — often men — who have flexible schedules with steady and significant incomes,” she wrote in her resignation letter this week. “But our state is so much more than one type of person. Legislative systems need to adapt so that more young people, students, single parents, and those living on low incomes can serve. It is also critical that representatives focus more on policy solutions and less on party divisiveness.”

latest stories

Raised in Arizona, Arren is no stranger to the issues impacting Western states, having a keen interest in the politics of land, transportation and housing. Prior to moving to Montana, Arren was a statehouse reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times and covered agricultural and trade policy for Politico in Washington, D.C. In Montana, he has carved out a niche in shoe-leather heavy muckraking based on public documents and deep sourcing that keeps elected officials uncomfortable and the public better informed.