Scanlin files for State House District 58

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
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Elizabeth “Betsy” Scanlin, of Red Lodge, has filed for the position of state House District 58, which basically consists of Carbon County, for the 2020 election. 

During the 2018 election cycle Scanlin ran for Senate District 29, which included Carbon, Stillwater and part of Sweetgrass Counties. She did not win that race but did well in her home county of Carbon. 

“I’m more familiar with Carbon County,” says Scanlin, who grew up in Red Lodge and has lived there most of her life. “And folks here are more familiar with me as well.” 

Scanlin recently retired after 42 years of law practice. “I’ve handled many water rights cases for area folks,” she says, “as well as estate planning and administration of estates for dozens of local families. I’m fully aware of the geography and economics of our county, as well as the lifestyles of its residents.” 

Scanlin highlights the issues that she feels are important to residents of this rural district: 

1. Health Care. “The growing impacts of COVID-19 has made it even more clear that everyone needs access to immediate and quality care,” she says. “If we continue to leave out entire sections of our population, the remainder of us will be all the more vulnerable and have to cover the costs.” Scanlin notes that her opponent has consistently voted against Medicaid expansion bills in the legislature. “Without a viable alternative, which opponents have yet to come up with,” she says, “we need to work with the best alternatives that we have.” Local health providers RiverStone, St. Vincent’s Healthcare and Beartooth Billings Clinic are already financially challenged to provide local services, she says. “We can’t afford to erode their funding.” 

2. Ag Economy. “Federal trade wars and tariffs have stressed our local farmers and ranchers. We need to assist them on the state level as much as possible,” she says. 

3. Education. “Public education is our great equalizer,” Scanlin says. “Not only are public schools the heartbeat of our rural communities, but they provide a broad basis to all children to learn to think critically and create in a challenging world.” Efforts to support private schools that would reduce state revenue, she says, “will erode already-stressed funding for public schools, particularly rural schools whose funding is based on attendance.” She further notes with dismay the recent federal proposal to cut funding to rural schools, which don’t have the resources of urban schools. 

4. Public Lands. “No one knows better than we do,” says Scanlin, “how important our access to public lands is for hunting and recreation. You shouldn’t have to be a billionaire to have that.” Proposals to shift control over current public lands into private hands “would only erode public access. No one’s making any new land, as the saying goes. We need to preserve what public land we have.” 

5. Infrastructure. “Rural areas like ours will continue to face huge bills for water and sewer upgrades as well as road and bridge repairs,” Scanlin says. “We need a strong advocate for our rural communities to see that we get our fair share of available funds.” 

6. Social Services. “A significant portion of our rural population—the elderly and poor among them—have lost local access to government programs whose funding was cut during the last legislative session,” she says. “Not only did we lose services, which went to urban areas, but we lost jobs, neighbors, and tenants, a blow to our rural economies.” She vows to support efforts to reverse this. 

Scanlin, a former city council member and mayor of Red Lodge, attributes her commitment to community service to her late parents, Rev. Donald Scanlin, a minister, and Millicent Preissel Scanlin, a public school teacher, who participated in over 50 years of the Red Lodge Festival of Nations. Her father was an elected delegate to the 1972 Montana Constitutional Convention. 

Scanlin is running as a Democrat against incumbent Republican Seth Berglee. She is a former city council member and mayor of Red Lodge, and is currently a member of the Carbon County Planning Board and the Carbon County Historical Society Board. Among volunteer and other activities, she enjoyed playing in the local Veseli Tamburitza (Slavic) Orchestra for 34 years. She and her husband of 46 years, Jeff Anderson, have two adult children. 

As a former mayor, Scanlin says “I’m familiar with government budgeting and programs that are available. It’s just a matter of priorities. I believe I can do a much better job of serving our district than my opponent. I look forward to visiting with voters to prove that.” 



The Carbon County News

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