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.

Furey puts experience to work campaigning By Troy Warzocha

When Tim Furey’s son was called to duty with the Army Reserves, Tim followed suit and landed in Helena. Now he is running for reelection to the seat that was vacated by his son in 2007.

Furey, a Democrat, is running for reelection in House District 91. The seat was held by his son Kevin until he reported for Army Reserve officer training in May of 2007. Furey won the election to fill that seat, but if Furey’s jump into politics was inspired by his son, it is a natural extension of his own involvement in the community.

Furey lives in Piltzville, between Bonnor and Clinton. He worked at the Stimson Lumber mill in 1996 and served on the Bonner Development Group from 1995-1997. The closing of the mill is a major challenge for local residents and the local economy, Furey said.

“We lost a lot of jobs with Stimson Mill closing. This affects the tax base and schools a lot,” he said.

The closure of the mill is one of several major projects affecting HD 91. Furey said he is watching the Clark Fork restoration project, which includes the demolition of the Milltown Dam, to see how it will affect his district. A new subdivision on Canyon River and Rock Creek development are also likely to change the eastern edge of HD91.

Similarly, the proposed Bitterroot Resort could bring change to the far west reaches of his district, which touches on the town of Lolo and Furey said he is generally for it.

“I feel pretty strongly that if an individual is following zoning laws and it is Tom Maclay’s property, he should be allowed to build what he wants. I just don’t have all the facts yet,” Furey said.

Furey received his bachelor’s degree in forestry from the University of Montana in 1978 and his master’s degree in Public Administration from Northern Illinois University in 1987. He moved back to Montana in 1982. He is currently the director of development for Opportunity Resources in Missoula, a nonprofit organization that helps adults with disabilities.

In the Legislature, Furey was a member of the Revenue and Transportation Interim

Committee and the Chair of the Department of Public Health and Human Services Rates Commission. On the campaign front, Furey said he has been going door to door, knocking on as many as 200 doors a day.

He said being an active member of the community, as well as already having experience in the Legislature may give him a slight advantage over Republican challenger Walt Hill. “As an incumbent, I now have a history. I may be the newest guy on the block, but at least I’m on the block,” Furey said.