On Friday, Roosevelt County Attorney and former Montana Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen will officially file to run as a Republican for the office of Montana Attorney General.

KGVO spoke with Knudsen as he was taking a break on the road driving from his home in Wolf Point to Helena to file with the Secretary of State and explained what led to his decision to run for Attorney General.

“Mostly my experience in being County Attorney here in Roosevelt County,” began Knudsen. “I’ve really gotten a handle on the drug problems, specifically methamphetamine, how severe it is, and frankly how much it’s not being dealt with at the state level. That’s the biggest thing driving me to do this. I’ve been dealing with the meth problem over here for over a year and I think I understand it better than any of the other candidates. I’ve been very aggressive in prosecuting and dealing with it and I think that’s important when you’ve got a situation where violent crime has increased by 30 percent in the last five years.”

Knudsen spoke of two of the other candidates for the Attorney General post, Jon Bennion and Kimberly Dudik.

“My primary opponent, Jon Bennion, is a very nice guy, but he’s been there for the last seven years as a Chief Deputy under Attorney General Tim Fox and in that time the bureaucracy in the AG’s office has grown by 25 percent,” he said. “That’s not what Republicans should be doing. I think we can do a lot better with the resources we have in that department.”

He spoke favorable of one of his possible Democratic opponents in the general election, Kimberly Dudik of Missoula.

“Kim is a great person and I’ve worked with her quite often while we were in the Legislature,” he said. “The biggest thing that sets me apart from Kim is experience. I’ve been prosecuting all kinds of crimes in Montana, and believe me, up here in the oil patch there are all kinds of nasty things that I have to deal with, and on top of that, I’ve also had a very diverse legal background with over 10 years in private practice.”

Knudsen said he plans to file officially at 10:00 a.m. on Friday in the Montana Secretary of State’s Office in Helena.

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