Former Western Jurisdiction young person appointed to fill vacancy in Montana legislature

July 12, 2018

Submitted by Mike Ferguson
Reporter, Billings Gazetter

Photo by Austin Steele
Billings Gazette

Emma Kerr-Carpenter, the Democrat running for the House District 49 seat on the November ballot, won unanimous approval among Yellowstone County commissioners Tuesday to complete the unexpired term of former Rep. Kelly McCarthy, who resigned his seat earlier this year to join his wife in Australia.

Robyn Driscoll, the commission’s lone Democrat, moved Kerr-Carpenter’s selection, and Denis Pitman seconded it.

“You were in a contested primary, and 68 percent of (Democratic) voters in your district supported you — and I will support you as well” in Tuesday’s appointment, Pitman said.

Kerr-Carpenter, the marketing and education coordinator at Youth Dynamics, will be sworn in during the coming days. She must then win the election in November to retain the seat. She’ll face Republican Stephanie Krueger on the fall ballot.

After Tuesday’s 22-minute meeting, she thanked commissioners “for placing their trust in me.”

Like other legislative Democrats, she said in an email that she’ll vote against holding a special session later this month “because it is not right to go around voters’ backs to dismantle services that thousands of Montanans depend on to live a full life.”