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Andrea Olsen, Tom Steenberg to apply to fill term left by Bryce Bennett
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Andrea Olsen, Tom Steenberg to apply to fill term left by Bryce Bennett

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State Rep. Andrea Olsen and former state Rep. Tom Steenberg have announced intentions to fill the remainder of state Sen. Bryce Bennett's term.

Olsen posted on Facebook that she was applying, while Steenberg sent out a news release Wednesday. 

Bennett, who resigned to take a job with a national group that works to get people to vote, represented Senate District 50. The resignation was effective Aug. 2.

Olsen represents House District 100. 

"Dear Friends, Family, Neighbors, Constituents, and all of our dear Missoula County, I am writing to let you know I am running to represent Montana SD50 in 2022, and I am applying to fulfill the rest of the term of our dear Senator Bryce Bennett, who has resigned his seat," Olsen posted.

"I am a constituent of SD50, and have represented HD100, which is part of SD50 for the last 7 years. I know there will be many great people who want to represent SD 50, and I thank them all for their interest and commitment to public service."

Olsen said she has 40 years of active public service and asked for support for her "transfer to the Senate."

Steenberg served two terms representing House District 99. He was Missoula's fire chief prior to his political career.

"After helping pass Medicaid expansion, the CSKT water compact, and dark money reform in 2015, I decided to step aside to enjoy retirement with my wife, Mary, and let a new generation of progressive leaders step forward," Steenberg said in the release.

"But as I watched this last session, and the disgusting attacks on our right to vote, access abortion, a clean environment, LGBTQ+ rights, and so much of what makes Montana special, I couldn't help but to think that I needed to step back up and use my experience to effectively push back."

Bennett offered his support for Steenberg.

"I got to see his hard work on the issues that matter to Missoulians up close. Despite serving in the minority for all the time he was in the legislature, he was able to work across the aisle to get things done," Bennett said in the same release.

"He knows how to stand up for our values and get legislation across the finish line. That's why we need him in Helena."

Bennett's term ran until 2023. The Missoula County Democratic Central Committee will select three replacement candidates and forward the list to the Missoula County Board of Commissioners.

The board will then select Bennett's replacement.

Jordan Hansen covers news and local government for the Missoulian. Shout at him on Twitter @jordyhansen or send him an email at Jordan.Hansen@Missoulian.com

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