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HELENA - Bowen Greenwood, a conservative activist who has worked for Republican officeholders and campaigns for much of the past 15 years, is the new executive director of the Montana Republican Party.

Greenwood, 38, who grew up in Billings and now lives in Helena, succeeds Gary Carlson, who held the position for three weeks before leaving in early February.

"This is a great time to be a conservative," Greenwood said Tuesday. "I just want to be of some help to the folks who are standing up for those beliefs."

Greenwood has been working for the Montana Telecommunications Access Program, a small state agency that provides adaptive equipment for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, including special phones that print out what speakers are saying.

Greenwood graduated in 1994 from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in government. He returned to Billings to work as a reporter at the Yellowstone County News, a weekly newspaper in Huntley.

Greenwood started working in Montana Republican politics in 1995 and worked on U.S. Rep. Rick Hill's first campaign for Congress in 1996. He later worked on Rep. Denny Rehberg's 2000 campaign and as communications director for former Secretary of State Brad Johnson from 2005-2009.

Greenwood is currently running as a Republican for House District 78, which covers East Helena and parts of northern Jefferson County.

He said Tuesday he doesn't plan to drop out of the race. He said he was concerned about taking the GOP job because of his commitment to the race.

"I didn't take the idea of running for the Legislature lightly, and it wasn't something I was willing to give up lightly, either," Greenwood said. "But what a great opportunity to do some good for the people of Montana. I just couldn't pass it up."

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