Citing issues ranging from mental health to attending college, Rep. Malerie Stromswold, R-R, announced Saturday morning that she will be resigning her seat in the Montana state legislature effective from the date.
She became the third Republican lawmaker to resign last month. Rep. Becky Byrd, Republican of Helena, resigned to take over from Sen. Terry Gauthier, who resigned for an extended vacation away from Montana.
Last week, Rep. Doug Fliment, R-Lewistown, resigned after learning of a serious medical condition that required immediate attention and out-of-state treatment.
Stromswold has served in a district in downtown Billings since she was one of the youngest elected officials to the legislature in 2020. She was largely seen as one of the younger faces of the Montana Republican Party, a moderate, sometimes bucking the party on several high-profile votes . , including breaking with the Republican Party on issues relating to transgender residents.
In a statement sent Saturday morning, Stromswold cited the pressures of being a student, paying rent in Bozeman and Helena, as well as the pressures of representing her district.
Her resignation statement read in part:
“I was proud to bring my perspective of being a young college student to discussions you don’t often hear from people like me. Unfortunately, the challenges of service piled up. Being a student, paying for travel, and having two houses was difficult during the session. I faced Also backlash from members of my caucus because I didn’t agree to class Many have experienced an overtly hostile work environment and understand the stress it puts on your life and mental health.
“It is clear that I cannot serve House District 50 the way I would like while protecting my mental health.
“The Montana legislature is designed for people—mostly men—with flexible schedules and a steady, substantial income. But our state is more than one type of person. Legislative systems need to adapt so more young people, students, single parents, and low-income people can serve It is also critical that representatives focus more on political solutions and less on the partisan divide.”
Stromswold told Lee Newspapers’ Holly Michaels that she felt targeted and alienated by the party for not voting in line with the leadership.
She had tried to resign from running the 2023 legislature earlier in the summer, but was reported to have said the GOP Central Committee had not submitted the papers to the Secretary of State in time, so she stayed on the ballot and won.
According to Montana law, her resignation will begin a process in which the Secretary of State will notify the Yellowstone County Commissioners and the Yellowstone County Republicans next week. From there, county Republicans will send in a slate of candidates to be selected by the three-member panel, also all Republicans.
State law said that the person to take Stromswold’s seat had to be a Republican.
Malerie Stromswald statement