GOP Primary Candidate Profiles: HD20, Steven Galloway Vs Melissa Nikolakakos

Editors note: All of the local Great Falls/Cascade County legislative and county commission contests in the June 4 primary election are Republican. Here are the profiles submitted by the candidates in House District 20, Steven Galloway and Melissa Nikolakakos, unedited:

Steven Galloway

I am Representative Steven E Galloway currently serving my second term in HD24 and campaigning for HD20.

Appointed to Business and Labor , Local Government,  Vice Chair Energy and Technologies

I was selected and serve as a State Delegate to The Energy Council, PNWER, NCSL,ALEC and others. I attend as many conferences as possible to gain knowledge and insight from other legislators and experts on subjects from around the country and the world to better represent you. I have zoomed in with The Council on Foreign Relations, The White House Intergovernmental Affairs and other organizations. I have had weeklong zooms with international contributors on issues. I participate on think tanks dealing with licensure, energy, election integrity and workforces decreasing numbers. This is above and beyond my representative’s duties often requiring travel away from home, family and work.

Energy is a very complicated and diverse subject to be involved with and as Vice Chairman I have invested a great amount of time and gained a fair working knowledge of it. We will need to stream line processes to allow prompt development of production and transmission of power to sustain our growing needs. We were an exporter and we now import energy. I passed HB749 Providing for advanced conductor cost-effectiveness criteria to aid our energy needs.

I helped facilitate meetings with local officials prior to last session and continued dialog during session by zoom on Wednesdays at lunch time which benefitted our community.

Almost 50 years ago I started out scrubbing toilets and making beds in my parents motel, I contracted in the construction field for 12 years and we currently operate multiple family run locally owned businesses.

I was born and raised in Great Falls. I am a 3rd generation  Montanan and my grandkids 5th.I am married to my lovely wife of almost 43 years. We have 6 adult children with 15 grandchildren and 1 GREAT grandchild. They  are my motivation to serve, frankly you couldn’t pay me enough to do this job.

I have refereed and coached sports. Served on boards. Served at church as teacher, counselor, auditor, executive secretary, and currently as facilities rep  overseeing  10 church buildings.

I have introduced 43 bills and passed 18 of them into law, Including (2021) session HB-438 for VETERANS and  HB 298 which increased transparency on your property tax assessment.  I have introduced property tax legislation in both sessions that would have helped primary home owners and we will try again. We need to look at a total revision of the property tax code, focusing on the processes of the valuations and assessments.   See them all at leg.mt.gov. Proudly endorsed by Gun Owners of America, NRA, Montana Sports Shooters Association, Montana Family Foundation to name a few. I have also been recognized for my constitutional voting record by  CPAC  with a 94% score and 100% score withTheFreedomindex.org.

___________________________________________________________________________

Melissa Nikolakakos

Name: Melissa Nikolakakos
Office Sought: House District 20
Occupation: Teacher
Age: 41
Family: Husband (George) Daughters (Story, Reagan, Melody, Abigail)
Education: BA, University of Montana (Education)
Organizational affiliations: Girl Scouts (Unit Service Leader) Raising Readers (Board Member)

As an educator, 4th generation Montanan, mom of four, twenty-year military spouse, and involved community member I pride myself in serving others. I’m running for office to bring common-sense conservative solutions to Helena and create a better community for our kids and families. Born and raised in small-town Montana I want to ensure those time-tested values are at the front and center of our legislative process.

A quality education for our children with deep parental involvement is my passion. I’ve served as a pre-school president, led with the “Raising Readers” Program (since merged by First Lady Susan Gianforte with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library) serve as a Girl Scout Service Unit Leader, and have served countless times as a PTA president. I’m committed to giving back and serving our community and kids and will work tirelessly every day in Helena to that end. 

We face many challenges in today’s political climate. Property taxes, inflation, and out of control housing costs are driving families from their homes and real reform is needed now. Fiscal responsibility and low regulation are the centerpieces to a strong economy, the backbone of a healthy opportunity driven society. This next legislative session we must enact significant property tax reform that offers meaningful relief to primary residence home-owners, bolster career and technical education and the Teach Act, and return a significant portion of the budget surplus to taxpayers.  

There’s much more but the simple fact is that today both political parties are failing our people. It’s time to retire out of touch self-serving politicians and elect every-day Montanans who want to civilly solve problems rather than create constant conflict and chaos. I’m ready to bring real-world experience and Montana values to Helena to do just that. I look forward to visiting and hopefully earning your vote to serve our community to the best of my ability.

School Trustee Keeps Seat, Fringe Left Blog Urges Dems To Vote GOP, And More

Incumbent GFPS trustee Marlee Sunchild beats challengers to retains her seat on the school board, from KRTV:
GFPS School Board Election Results (krtv.com)

Democrat blog WTF406 urges Cascade County/Great Falls Democrat voters to vote for Republicans in the upcoming primary, from WTF406:
Vote In The Republican Primary? – What the Funk (wtf406.com)

Major power outages and power infrastructure damage in Central Montana, from FOX/ABC NonStop Local:
More than 36 power poles broken, 3 miles of power lines down in White Sulphur Springs area | Montana News | montanarightnow.com

Rosales: Sunchild Rental Agreement With GFPS Employee Is Conflict Of Interest

Editors note: (Photo – Marlee Sunchild and Tony Rosales) GFPS School Board candidate Tony Rosales recently took to Facebook and issued a press release (see below) claiming a conflict of interest on the part of school board incumbent candidate Marlee Sunchild. The press release doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinion of E-City Beat or any of our contributors and is not a campaign endorsement for any candidate.

From “Tony Rosales for MT” Facebook page:
“Sunchild’s newly discovered ethical oversight is a concern for anyone committed to the highest standard on our school board. Great Falls deserves better.”

Link to full press release:
TRMT Press Release – GFPS Board Conflict of Interest 04262024.pdf – Google Drive

June 4 Local Primary Features All GOP Candidates, No Dems

All of the local Great Falls/Cascade County legislative and county commission candidates appearing on the upcoming June 4 primary election ballot will be Republicans.

Today E-City Beat sent an email to all of those candidates requesting a candidate profile and their reasons for seeking office. We will publish their responses without edits or editorial comment

Stay tuned for E-City Beat’s continuing coverage of all local elections, issues, and candidates.

Here is the list of primary election candidates:

HD19
Derren Auger
Hannah Trebas

HD20
Melissa Nikolakakos
Steven Galloway

HD21
Ed Buttrey
James Osterman

HD22
George Nikolakakos
James Whitaker

HD23
Pete Anderson
Joshua DeNully
Eric Tilleman
John Proud

SD13
Josh Kassmier
Lola Galloway

Cascade County Commission
Rae Grulkowski
Eric Hinebauch

Cascade County Libertarians Respond To Jasmine Taylor’s Attacks

Editors note: The following is a press release sent out by the Cascade County Libertarian Party. The press release doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinion of E-City Beat or any of our contributors and it is not a campaign endorsement for Tony Rosales.

Leatherbarrow Invites Taylor for an Honest Conversation about Local Family Business

GREAT FALLS, MT, April 24, 2024 – On April 23, 2024, Jasmine Taylor released a video claiming that Kevin Leatherbarrow, co-owner of Go & Grow Education Services, LLC, was using Tony Rosales’ campaign to funnel business from Great Falls Public Schools to Go & Grow. Taylor never reached out to Leatherbarrow or anyone else at Go & Grow to verify these accusations. It is shocking, and frankly sad, that anybody would attack a local family-owned business based on weak political attacks and motives. To Leatherbarrow’s knowledge, Taylor lacks any true understanding of the relationship between Go & Grow and GFPS.

Taylor’s accusations are defamatory in nature and assume that Go & Grow would use a political campaign to gain any advantage. In fact, Leatherbarrow has publicly stated during an Autism Task Force that he would work pro bono with students who were lacking services if asked. The Task Force was formed by Lola Galloway – a Republican representative – where Leatherbarrow – representing Go & Grow – was invited among other community leaders including GFPS administration and nonprofit employees.

Taylor is mistaken in her accusation that there is any intention to vilify GFPS or its employees. Leatherbarrow and Rosales are consistently transparent about their involvement as Libertarian candidates, and officers of the Cascade County Libertarian Party, which are protected expressions of speech under the first amendment. Both have a passionate interest in education and the fiscal responsibility and transparency of the Great Falls Public School District, the Board, and the administration, as they are both residents within the district. None of those have any relation to the operations of Go & Grow Education Services.

Leatherbarrow would like to invite Taylor to contact him if she would like more accurate information for her political reporting endeavors. Any other community members who may have questions are also invited to reach out to Leatherbarrow.

About the CCLP

The Libertarian Party is the people’s representative in American politics. It is the only political organization which respects people as unique and competent individuals.

The Cascade County and Montana Libertarian Parties are the real choice for less government, lower taxes, and a freer future. The CCLP believes in both economic and personal freedom. We believe people should be free to make their own choices, provided they don’t infringe on the equal right of others to do the same. Government’s role should be to protect an individual’s right to make their own choices in life, so they can reap the rewards of their successes and bear personal responsibility for their decisions.

Contact Us

For questions, please contact the CCLP Chair:
Anthony Rosales, PhD
trrosales@gmail.com

Great Falls School Board Candidate Profile: Tony Rosales

Editors note: Earlier this month E-City Beat sent an email to the three GFPS School Board candidates requesting a candidate profile and their reasons for seeking the position of School Board Trustee. We will publish the replies without edits or editorial comment as we receive them.

Tony Rosales

Personal Bio:

Born and raised in Great Falls, I graduated from Great Falls High and attended Carroll College, where I gained a never-ending passion for local and community education. After earning a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame, I embarked on a career in healthcare consulting. My experiences as a researcher, educator, and strategic planner motivate me to enhance GFPS with innovative solutions and ensure our educational system supports every student’s success.

Strategic Leadership:

Challenge: GFPS faces challenges in long-term financial planning and educational strategy.

Solution: I propose initiating board-led community focus groups involving students, families, and staff to gather diverse perspectives and direct insights. These groups will help shape our strategic actions by highlighting actual needs and priorities within the district to help recruit and retain personnel. Furthermore, I will actively participate in the 2025 legislative session to advocate for modifications to the state funding formula and ensure promised Montana Lottey funds help ease the burden of local property taxes for education. I am also committed to exploring innovative budget solutions, including the establishment of an endowment fund.

Accountability & Transparency:

Challenge: There is a need to improve the transparency of operations and accountability in student and school performance metrics.

Solution: I will ensure that our school board meetings are transformed into platforms for meaningful discussion on pressing issues. Regular, detailed reports on academic achievements, special education metrics, and behavioral statistics will be standard practice, allowing us to address areas needing improvement swiftly. Additionally, by enhancing the visibility of Individualized Education Plans (IEP) compliance and other key performance indicators, we can build a more accountable and transparent system that fosters trust and confidence among the community.

Real-world Preparedness:

Challenge: Preparing students for the complexities of the modern economy and digital world is essential.

Solution: Our curriculum must include advanced digital literacy and comprehensive financial education to ensure students are well-prepared for technological advancements and economic self-sufficiency. This includes practical applications of AI in various fields, teaching students about cryptocurrency, investing, and personal financial management. We should aim for every graduate to have the tools needed to begin a journey toward financial independence after graduating from GFPS.

Conclusion:

With a robust background in research, education, and strategic planning, I am uniquely equipped to contribute effectively to the GFPS School Board. My comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities in education today drives my commitment to ensure that GFPS not only meets but exceeds the expectations of our community. Through strategic leadership, enhanced accountability, and a focus on real-world preparedness, I will work tirelessly to prepare our students for the demands of the future.

Press Release: “Rosales Pushes for Proactive Leadership Within GFPS Board”

Editors note: The following press release was received by E-City Beat Monday morning. We are publishing it without edits or editorial comment. The press release doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinion of E-City Beat or any of our contributors and it is not a campaign endorsement for Tony Rosales.

Emphasizing Constructive Change While Acknowledging Good Faith Efforts of All Parties

GREAT FALLS, MT, April 8, 2024 – In recent weeks, Tony Rosales has engaged in critical discussions regarding an identified conflict of interest (link), speaking with both school administrators and members of the involved non-profit. A summary of findings are as follows:

·    Lance Boyd, the Executive Director for Student Achievement and Director of Student Services at GFPS, previously held positions on the board and as chair of the organization Peace Place

·    In February 2024, Boyd resigned from his role at Peace Place, indicating a key reason for his departure included scheduling conflicts between school board and non-profit board meetings

·    Peace Place receives funding from various sources including government grants, with the majority coming from grant application programs and a smaller portion from funding that follows students

·    Boyd’s role in any fund transfers or referrals of children and families to community resources have additional oversight mechanisms beyond the Director of Student Services’ purview

·    Peace Place’s aims to provide “respite with a purpose,” which is a unique community offering defined as support and supervision to provide temporary relief to a primary caregiver

·    Peace Place also provides educational services, albeit this is not their main mission

·   Both Superintendent Tom Moore and Executive Director Lance Boyd emphasized that administrators are highly encouraged to be involved in the community and to serve on non-profit boards that align with their passions

Acknowledging the Executive Director’s resignation, it is still evident there was a past conflict of interest with GFPS’ commitment to students. Holding dual roles that have substantially overlapping responsibilities posed substantial risk to GFPS. Any risk, known or unknown, associated with Peace Place was inextricably linked to GFPS, and had the potential to impose significant legal costs despite our current budget deficits. While we can advocate for community involvement of our administrators, it must come with School Board oversight rather than individual discretion.

The significant community response, including over 1,000 social media engagements and numerous private messages expressing concern, underscores the need for greater oversight and evaluation, especially for special education programs and external community resources.

This situation illustrates the critical need for more assertive leadership from the school board. To rebuild trust within the community, we urge the school board to take immediate and transparent action by:

·    Publicly addressing this conflict of interest, including the board’s prior knowledge and stance on such external appointments

·    Providing a comprehensive list of cabinet members’ involvement in other organizations, possible conflicts of interest within that list and GFPS, and clarifying if the board approves

·   Developing and implementing robust conflict of interest policies to better mitigate risk, including an approval procedure ensuring awareness of administrative engagements within the community

Contact Us

rosalescampaign@gmail.com

State Of The Races: GFPS School Board

Today E-City Beat sent an email to the three GFPS School Board candidates requesting a candidate profile and their reasons for seeking the position of School Board Trustee. We will publish their responses without edits or editorial comment towards the end of April.

The three candidates vying for one open seat are Rodney Meyers, Marlee Sunchild, and Tony Rosales. The election will be Tuesday, May 7, 2024.

Stay tuned for E-City Beat’s continuing coverage of all local elections, issues, and candidates.

Local Candidates Disqualified, Stabbing In Great Falls, Pedestrian Killed On 10th Ave. S.

Our regular feature highlighting a few of the latest and most interesting local and national news items from various sources.

Three Great Falls Libertarian state House candidates, Rosales, Leatherbarrow, Sui, disqualified from ballot, from MTPR:
https://www.mtpr.org/montana-news/2024-03-21/12-candidates-disqualified-from-montanas-primary-election-ballot

Woman dies from injuries after being hit by car in Great Falls, from ABC/FOX NonStop Local:
https://www.montanarightnow.com/great-falls/pedestrian-dies-after-hit-by-car-on-10th-ave-s-in-great-falls/article_4279db12-e558-11ee-91fb-6b4cdcd2535a.html

Cops nab juvenile suspect, from KRTV:
https://www.krtv.com/news/crime-and-courts/juvenile-stabbing-suspect-arrested-in-great-falls

Cascade County Libertarian Party Fields 4 Candidates For State House

Editors note: the following is a press release sent to E-City Beat from the Cascade County Libertarian Party. Stay tuned to E-City Beat as we begin our coverage of local candidates on the 2024 primary and general election ballots.

Four Libertarians File for Office to Represent >50% of Cascade County in State Legislature

GREAT FALLS, MT, March 12, 2024 – Four Libertarian candidates have filed for office to represent half of the House Districts in Cascade County: Annie Leatherbarrow (HD 24), Kevin Leatherbarrow (HD 23), Lui Salina (HD 25), and Josh Rosales (HD 21).

Although there are many who identify as a libertarian or with libertarian principles, until recently, it was seldom to see a Libertarian candidate on the ballot except for President and perhaps a state-wide race. However, based on yesterday’s March 11th filings, ~40,000 people in Cascade County could be represented by a Libertarian state legislator in the 2024 legislative session.

About the CCLP

The Libertarian Party is the people’s representative in American politics. It is the only political organization which respects people as unique and competent individuals.

The Cascade County and Montana Libertarian Parties are the real choice for less government, lower taxes, and a freer future. The CCLP believes in both economic and personal freedom. We believe people should be free to make their own choices, provided they don’t infringe on the equal right of others to do the same. Government’s role should be to protect an individual’s right to make their own choices in life, so they can reap the rewards of their successes and bear personal responsibility for their decisions.

Contact Us

For questions, please contact the CCLP Chair:
Anthony Rosales, PhD
trrosales@gmail.com