|Representative Bryce Bennett|
|Member of the Montana House of Representatives
from the 91st district
|Preceded by||Robin Hamilton|
November 11, 1984 |
Early life and education
Born in Billings, Bennett is a fifth-generation Montanan. At a young age, his family moved to Hysham, Montana then, when Bennett was aged eight, to the Missoula Valley. He attended Lolo Elementary and Big Sky High School, before enrolling at the University of Montana.
While at the University of Montana, Bennett was heavily involved in political activities, serving in elected positions with the Student Senate (ASUM), the Lambda Alliance and the College Democrats. As a college senior, he served as president of the Montana College Democrats Federation, a statewide group.
After graduating in 2007, Bennett went to work for the Democratic National Committee in western Montana. Following the 2008 election, Bennett moved to Helena to take a job with the Montana House Democrats.
When Rep. Robin Hamilton (D–Missoula) announced that he would not be seeking re-election in 2010, Bennett declared his candidacy for the seat. He was one of five candidates to run: two Democrats, two Republicans and a Libertarian. In the Democratic primary election held on June 8, Bennett won 85% of the vote, defeating his opponent by more than five-to-one. In the general election held on November 2, Bennett won narrowly: he took 50.4% of the vote while the Republican nominee won 46.9% and the Libertarian 2.7%. He took office in January 2011.
Bennett is openly gay. He is the first openly gay man to serve in the Montana legislature, where he joins two lesbians: Sen. Christine Kaufmann (D–Helena) and Rep. Diane Sands (D–Missoula). His 2010 campaign won the support of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.