Montana state representative resigns to attend graduate school

Montana is a pretty solidly red state. Indeed, only a handful of Democrats hold elected office in Montana — and now, one of those few Democrats has announced his abrupt resignation.

According to the Flathead Beacon, Democratic state Rep. Zac Perry, who has represented House District 3 covering Columbia Falls for three legislative sessions, has announced that he is stepping down from his position to attend graduate school.

Dropping like flies

According to the Beacon, Perry was one of only two elected Democrats in all of Flathead County, Montana — a district that has historically trended Republican and could very well go red again in the next election.

Perry ran twice and failed to win the seat in 2010 and 2012, but finally prevailed over the incumbent Republican in the 2014 election, largely by running as a moderate “Blue Dog Democrat” who was willing to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans.

With Perry’s resignation, another Democrat will be selected in the interim to serve out the remainder of Perry’s term until an open election for the seat is held in 2020.

That interim representative will be picked by the Flathead County Commissioners from a list of candidates that will be put together by the Flathead Democratic Committee.

Back to school

Perry first announced his resignation on social media.

“Due to my enrollment in graduate school and the need to temporarily move out of state, I am resigning my seat as Representative of House District 3, effective September 1, 2019,” Perry wrote on Facebook.

He went on: “It has truly been an honor and privilege to serve as your representative in the Montana Legislature for three sessions. I have gotten to know so many people in the communities of House District 3 and across Montana. I am very appreciative for the support and encouragement as well as the constructive criticism I have received while in office.”

Perry previously attended the University of Notre Dame and graduated with a degree in political science. He is now, however, in pursuit of a master’s degree in order to achieve his goal of becoming a high school government and history teacher.

Interestingly, while he is pursuing that higher degree from Montana State University-Billings, he will be doing so from Syracuse, New York, where his girlfriend is currently attending graduate school.

“I wish everyone the best,” Perry wrote of his resignation, “and again would like to thank all those who have been active participants during my terms as a state legislator.”

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