The former director of the Five Valleys Land Trust, Democrat Grant Kier, has announced his candidacy for the U.S. House seat now occupied by Republican Greg Gianforte.

Kier said he has always had a love for the land, and worked for the Ravalli County Farm and Ranch Board in Hamilton before coming to Missoula to become the director of the Five Valleys Land Trust.

Kier said the tipping point for his decision to run for Congress was the shared values that both rural and urban communities have in Montana.

“For me, living in Missoula as one of the urban centers on Montana, and doing most of my work in rural communities, just seeing how much rural and urban communities have in common and how much people share their values,” Kier said. “I feel like our politics today don’t reflect the shared values we have, so I saw an opportunity to use my experience to try to solve problems and try to take what I think is the best of Montana and take it to Washington, D.C.”

Kier acknowledges that, should he win the Democratic primary, his opponent would likely be the incumbent Republican Greg Gianforte. Kier said despite the incidents that transpired just before the special election, he plans to focus on the issues.

“I’m going to focus on Montanans,” said Kier. “I think Montanans appreciate someone who works really hard and looks them in the eye. I’ll be spending time getting across the state talking to people face to face, getting to know the communities and giving them a chance to know me.”

Kier said, should he become the Democratic nominee, he would resist the efforts of national political figures to ‘handle’ his campaign.

“I would rest that,” he said. “From the beginning, I would campaign as if it were already my job to represent the people of Montana. I’m going to find out what they’re looking for in a Congressman, and I’ll stay focused on what I head from the people of Montana.”

KGVO has invited Kier to be a guest on the Talk Back radio talk show at his earliest convenience.

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