Libertarian seeks Big Sky support in run for Montana Senate

Francis Wendt is a 36-year-old unmarried Air Force veteran and member of the Montana Army National Guard. He’s into community theater and states for the record, “I’m not an outdoorsman.”

That’s not something you hear often from Montana politicians, who—if their television commercials and photo ops are to be believed—spend most days walking along split-rail fences with a shotgun slung over their shoulders. 

Wendt, who lives in Four Corners, is the Libertarian candidate running against Democrat Pat Flowers and incumbent Republican Jed Hinkle to take Hinkle’s Senate District 32 seat—which includes Big Sky. 

Originally from Great Falls, Wendt’s time in the Air Force put him on the tarmac where he worked as a “load toad.”

On his website, Wendt recalls, “My duty was to safely and reliably maintain and load up 24 tons of explosives onto the B-1B Lancer.” He was also awarded an Air Force Achievement Medal for his service during Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to franciswendt.com. 

Wendt currently works in sales at Randash Auto and as a night auditor at Bozeman’s Homewood Suites and Hampton Inn. He’s also the treasurer for the Blue Slipper Theatre in Livingston and a big fan of the Playmill Theatre in West Yellowstone.

He doesn’t get to Big Sky much, but said his experience in theater should appeal to Big Sky voters looking for someone who can help break the partisan gridlock in Helena. Drama, said Wendt, “It’s really kind of a study of people. Understanding why people do what they do. And why they have the positions that they have and be that mediator and figure out that good compromise. What can we do here?”

More generally, he hopes Big Sky voters appreciate the fiscally conservative, socially liberal platform of the Libertarian Party. 

Of Big Sky locals, he said, “You’re choosing to live there because it’s a beautiful place. You don’t want a bunch of rules and regulations that impede your lifestyle. That’s certainly not something Helena should be getting in the way of. That’s the general Libertarian message.”

This is Wendt’s second run for the Montana Legislature. In 2016, he lost to Democrat Jim Hamilton in the race for House District 61.

—DM

 

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