HELENA – Jesse Laslovich, a Democrat and attorney who’s worked the past five years as chief counsel for state Auditor Monica Lindeen, announced Monday he’s running to succeed Lindeen next year.
“I’ve dedicated my life to protecting Montana consumers, holding big insurance companies accountable and fighting out-of-state special interests,” he said in a statement. “I’m running for state auditor to continue this work.”
Laslovich, 34, became the first Democrat to announce that he’s running in 2016 for state auditor, which regulates the insurance and financial-services industry in Montana.
The only other announced candidate is former state Rep. Champ Edmunds of Missoula, a Republican who got in the race last week.
Lindeen, a Democrat, cannot run for re-election because of term limits. She’s been state auditor since 2009 and her second term ends next year.
Laslovich, from Anaconda, has a law degree from the University of Montana and was first elected to the Legislature while he was a UM undergraduate, at age 20. He served two terms in the House, representing Anaconda, before winning election as a state senator in 2004.
He won re-election to the state Senate in 2008 and resigned from his seat in 2010, when he became chief counsel for Lindeen.
Laslovich ran for attorney general in 2012, but lost the Democratic primary to Pam Bucy, who then lost the general election to Republican Tim Fox. Laslovich has been serving as acting deputy state auditor since January, when the former deputy auditor, Adam Schafer, went to work as a senior adviser to Gov. Steve Bullock.
In an interview Monday, Laslovich said if he becomes auditor, one of his top priorities would be ensuring that health insurance rates are as low as possible and accurately reflect any savings that might occur because of changes in the market.
“It would have to be a collaborative approach between our office, insurers, health care providers and consumers, to figure out how we can improve the system,” he said.