Editor’s note: The following story was written by a student in Professor Nadia White’s Public Affairs Reporting class

at the University of Montana. You are free to share or publish this story provided you retain the reporter’s byline. Questions? Email nadia.white@umontana.edu.

Ron Stoker emphasizes experience in bid for fourth term By MEGAN GYERMEK Rep. Ronald E. Stoker is confident and at ease campaigning in his final bid for the House seat he has held for three terms.

“I am a die hard conservative when it comes to small government,” said Stoker, whose local and modest campaign effort mirrors his own style.

Affiliation, he said, forms a solid foundation and guides his decision-making as he strives to represent Montana. Stoker said he is pro-life, family values and what he calls the foundation of the Republican party.

Western Montana and the Bitterroot Valley are changing and the influx of new residents is affecting Stoker’s campaign. Historically, Republicans have a winning reputation in the valley. Newcomers are changing the political demographics, and incumbents like Stoker feel they need to make an extra effort to familiarize new Montanans with local issues.

Stoker is the current Montana House representative for District 87, which encompasses the Lower Bitterroot Valley along the Idaho border. Stoker is seeking his fourth and final consecutive term in the state House of Representatives. He is challenged this year by

Democrat Peter Rosten, a relatively new resident of the valley.

Stoker emphasizes his own extended Montana residency and his solid foundation as a conservative Republican when he talks about Rosten. Rosten is a newcomer to Montana and politics, but has direct issues he plans to address. Included in his concerns are Montana jobs, education funding and healthcare.

“I think Ron would have a fundamental difference with me, if you applied the DemocratRepublican ties,” Rosten said.

Stoker was born in Del Carbon, Colo., and traveled from coast to coast, attending school on the east coast at Rutgers University. There he received his master’s and bachelor’s in animal science. Finally settling outside of Hamilton, Stoker has been involved in Montana government since about 1996 when he filled a neighbors spot as a precinct captain.

In the House, Stoker is chair of the Human Services committee, and vice chair of the Ethics and Judiciary committee. Since 2005 Stoker and the Judiciary Committee have considered 240 bills. That is more than any other committee and represents a tremendoud amount of time and effort, he said. Of these, 40 have moved to the floor to be voted on by the House.

Stoker has for the next two years if he is elected. Sen. Daniel McGee of Laurel recently selected Stoker, to carry a bill in the making relating to judges placement of convicted criminals.

Stoker has been endorsed by the Montana State Shooting Association, the Century Gaming PAC which comprises people who own slot machines, and the Hospitality PAC, which includes restaurants, bars and casino facilities.