About Debo Powers

Debo Powers

Debo Powers

I served as the Representative for Montana House District 3  from October 2019 until January 2021 after being appointed to fill the position when the former representative resigned during his term of office.  I ran for election to hold on to my seat in November 2020 and lost the election.  I am running again in 2024.

I believe that we are living in the most crucial period of human history and that people should step forward to take leadership and work cooperatively with others to move our society forward.  I have a proven track record of listening and collaboration in very diverse groups of people and these are the skills and qualities that are needed in a good legislator.  I believe that I can make a difference.  

My great-grandparents homesteaded in North Dakota and members of my family have farmed for many, many generations into the present.  I have a deep connection to the land and to growing things.  My father left the family farm to serve in the military and my family moved around quite a bit when I was young.  Unfortunately, I did not win the “birth lottery” and have the privilege to be born in Montana; however, I fell in love with Montana when I first saw it at 10 years old.  After college, I came back to Montana year after year to soak in the beauty of the mountains, the rivers, and the wildlife.  In 1996, I bought land next to the North Fork of the Flathead River in House District 3 near Polebridge.

Unlike the other candidates running for House District 3, I live in the district.  I built a solar-powered house off the electric grid surrounded by public lands.  I am an outdoorswoman who has hiked all over the public lands in HD3 starting in 1979.    I am deeply connected to these public lands.  I work in HD3 as Volunteer Wilderness Patrol in Glacier National Park and as a Volunteer Fire Lookout in Flathead National Forest.  I have served on the boards of four Montana non-profit conservation organizations and have an extensive record as a public lands advocate.

I am a retired public-school teacher and principal and a union member in the Montana Federation of Public Employees. I have competed on a national level in dance competitions and have taught dance classes for many years.  I am also an avid gardener who manages a large greenhouse, solarium, and numerous outdoor raised garden beds.  I have a tremendous amount of energy, enthusiasm, and organizational skills.

I have a passion for Montana and it was a great honor to serve as a State Representative and use my talents and skills in the service of Montana and its citizens.  The 2021 and the 2023 Montana Legislature passed many new laws that are harmful to our public lands, clean water, clean energy, wildlife, public schools, judicial system, local government, voting rights, and the working people of this state.  We need new leadership who will not work against the best interests of our citizens and the beautiful lands that we enjoy and cherish.  I am dedicated to serving the people of Montana and have begun my campaign for House District 3.

Professional Experience:

Montana State Representative-1+ year

Public High School Teacher of U.S. History & Government—21 years

Principal, K-8th grade Public School—13 years

Author of “Leading the Dream”

This book chronicles the journey and educational philosophy of a group of dedicated educators and parents who created an innovative public charter school that was recognized as one of the top eight charter schools in the nation by the U.S. Department of Education.

Community Involvement in last 15 years

I have a deep sense of commitment to my community as illustrated by my volunteer activities:

—Past President of the North Fork Landowners Association (NFLA):  I served as a board member for many years and as vice president for 2 years, president for 2 years, and past president for 2 years. 

Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) for Flathead County—I serve on RAC with a diverse group of citizens who work together to reach agreement on the allocation of federal funds for Flathead County under the Secure Rural Schools Act.  This funding effects everyone in Flathead County. 

–—State-wide Board of Directors for Wild Montana:  This is one of the strongest and most effective state-wide organizations that support our public lands and the protection of Montana’s renowned wild places.  I served as President of the board for 2 years.

—Vice President of North Fork Preservation Association (NFPA):  I served for five years as the president before passing the leadership on to the next generation.  Now, I serve as Vice President to offer support to the current President.

Volunteer Wilderness Patrol in Glacier National Park:  This is the best unpaid job that I’ve ever had!  I hike in the backcountry in a uniform with a Park radio and talk to visitors, share information, and help out in emergencies.

Volunteer Fire Lookout in Flathead National Forest:  I serve the community as a Fire Lookout in Flathead National Forest for 7-10 days each summer on Cyclone Lookout which is in House District 3.  Watching for and reporting wildfire is an important service for my community.  

Whitefish Range Partnership:  I participated in this citizen collaborative with 25 other representatives of various national forest user groups.  After 13 months of meetings, this diverse group (loggers, snowmobilers, backcountry horsemen, mountain bikers, wilderness advocates) reached an unanimous decision on a proposal about the Whitefish Range to send to the Flathead Forest Supervisor.  This proposal was a model for collaboration and ultimately became part of the final Flathead Forest Plan.

Polebridge Bear Smart: I am actively involved as an educator and trainer for how to live, work, and recreate safely in grizzly bear country.  As residents in House District 3 which is an area with a high grizzly bear population, our group holds Bear Fairs, talks, and trainings.  In addition, we set up “scare devices” for landowners who have had frequent bear activity on their property.

Headwaters Montana: I served on the board of directors of this conservation organization for a number of years.

Chief Election Judge:  I served as the Chief Election Judge for Precinct 47 in Whitefish on the November 2018 election day.  This volunteer work demonstrates love and support for our democratic process.

North Fork Forum—I was on the non-partisan organizing team that brought together our politically diverse community in the North Fork to discuss the U.S. Constitution.  This leadership shows the ability to listen and respect other’s viewpoints and find common ground.  In addition, the North Fork Forum held a political forum for the candidates in House District 3 in 2018.

North Fork Land Use Advisory Committee:   Several years ago, I served on this committee to make recommendations to the Flathead County Commission regarding land use in the North Fork.  Land use planning is important in protecting the integrity of neighborhoods and supporting landowners.


Why I enjoyed being a Legislator in the Montana House of Representatives and want to serve again:

I have a love for democracy and enjoy working with other people to make our communities and our state better.  I have the skills that are needed to be a good legislator:  listening, respectful communication, collaboration, cooperation, negotiation, and compromise.  My career in public education and my public service activities have prepared me to work with all kinds of people who hold all kinds of viewpoints and opinions.  This is what is needed in these divisive times.