NewsMontana Politics


Montana’s First Congressional District candidates: Monica Tranel

Democrat Monica Tranel is challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke to represent Montana's First Congressional District
Monica Tranel
Posted at 9:45 AM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 11:45:21-04

MISSOULA — The 2024 Primary election for who will represent Montana’s First Congressional District is on June 4.

The district, created in 2023, covers 16 counties in Western Montana.

Ahead of the vote, MTN’s Kathryn Roley sat down with the Democratic and Republican candidates for an interview, asking their ideas about housing, the drug crisis, inflation, and abortion rights.

We talked with Democrat Monica Tranel who is challenging Republican incumbent Ryan Zinke. Tranel is a lawyer with experience working at the Public Service Commission, was also an Olympic Games athlete competing in rowing. She unsuccessfully ran for Congress against Zinke and John Lamb in the last election cycle, receiving 46% of the vote to Zinke's 50%.
Below are excerpts from the conversation.

Kathryn: What would you do as a representative to the U.S. House when it comes to reproductive rights and abortions for women not only in Montana but the rest of the country?

Tranel: Let’s be really clear about this. I am the only candidate — the only candidate on this issue who has said unequivocally that I will stand up for families and for women. This is an issue that is about privacy and freedom. This is about having the ability to make a decision, the most private, personal decision, having to make that on your own without government interference. This is not a decision the government should be making.

Kathryn: Montana has seen an uptick in crimes and drug-related deaths. What would you do to lower drug-related deaths and drugs coming into the nation as well as Montana? Also, reduce the crime rates and keep communities safe.

Tranel: I would pass the bipartisan security bill. It’s called a couple of different things now but it passed out of the Senate. It was an appropriations supplemental, but it’s the security bill, so it addresses fentanyl, secures the border, and that needs to be passed. Ryan Zinke is not only not voting for it, he is playing games with our lives. That is absolutely wrong. We need representatives that are going to get the work done and stop the chaos.

Kathryn: Montana is home to a very large population of veterans. How would you support veterans at a federal level to ensure that they are getting the benefits they are entitled to for serving our country for the support and resources that they need?

Tranel: Making sure they have access to prescription drugs. Talking to the veterans population in Butte, making sure they have access to the vet’s clinic there and making sure they are able to get transport to the places to where they get care, making sure they have the prescription drugs available to them, the medical support that they need, the PACT Act, which Senator Tester was instrumental in getting passed into law was something my opponent was silent on when it was being challenged. I don’t think we should play games with our veterans with their healthcare. We need to stand by them and with them.

Watch the full interview with Monica Tranel below:

Full interview: Monica Tranel