Darby resident Scott Boulanger was appointed by the Ravalli County Commissioners to fill the Senate District 44 seat recently vacated by Bob Lake who won a seat on the Public Service Commission in the last election, leading to his resignation from the Senate.
The Ravalli County Republican Central Committee was notified by the Secretary of State on December 3 that Senator Bob Lake’s resignation from the Senate seat was official. The Central Committee was given 45 days by law to offer three replacement candidates to the County Commissioners who would make an appointment. At a meeting on December 4, the Central Committee took a series of three votes on a roster including nine potential candidates and the top vote getter in each round of voting was placed on the candidate list to be forwarded to the commissioners.
Boulanger received 14 votes out of a possible 38. Gary Carlson came in second on that vote with 12 and Hollis Poe came in third with 6. In the second vote Poe came out on top with 18 votes and in the third Carlson came out on top with 22.
In biographical information submitted to the Republican Central Committee, Boulanger states that he was born and raised in Connecticut where he became one of the youngest journeyman electricians to be licensed in Connecticut and, in 1986 at the age of 22, became the youngest man ever to receive an Unlimited Master Electrician License in the state.
Boulanger worked as an electrician and started his own business until, in a flagging economy in 1991, he decided to go to guide school in Noxon, Montana.
“I absolutely fell in love with Montana. I went back to Connecticut, turned over the remaining contracts to a close friend, sold everything and moved to Montana to begin a career in the outfitting business,” wrote Boulanger.
Boulanger spent the next seven years in Stevensville and Victor, working as an electrician as well as a hunting guide. In 1998, he bought Circle KBL Outfitters and launched the Western Montana School for Guides. He moved the business to Darby in 2000 and five years later expanded into Idaho with the purchase of Salmon Mountain Outfitters, followed in 2008 with the purchase of Paradise Pack Station on the Selway River in Idaho.
He was past director, for four years, of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association and is a life member of the National Rifle Association and a member of Safari Club International, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, Idaho Outfitters and Guides, Bitterroot Chamber of Commerce and America Outdoors.
Boulanger and his wife, Tara, and their children, Sarai, Zach and Kye, are members of the Cowboy Christian Church in Grantsdale.
“My faith and my family are the first and foremost things in my life,” wrote Boulanger. “I bring to the table a unique perspective of having worked as an employee, both union and non-union, starting new businesses from scratch, and dealing with enormous overbearing government license and permit requirements. I also know the demand of being the employer and the challenges of dealing with budget, government red tape, and human resources. I am committed to my County, State and Country and I believe in the Constitution! I am passionate for less government, lower taxes, capitalism and free market. My integrity speaks for itself. I am committed to upholding the values that our forefathers set for us, and I will honestly stand for what the citizens of district 44 believe in.”
In answer to some questions from the Central Committee, Boulanger said that he saw it as his civic duty to get involved in politics to “help get the nation turned around and headed back in the right direction.” He said it starts in the schools and at the local level and then goes to the state level.
“I feel we need to get God back in our schools and back in the lives of the American people. One of my goals is to help people become less dependent on the government by removing the barriers that inhibit the private sector from creating jobs and giving people an opportunity to earn a good living from their own hard work. I believe the best social program is a job,” wrote Boulanger.
Boulanger said that he was in agreement with the Republican Platform, but that he felt it fell short on the issue of wildlife and hunting. He said the platform fails to recognize the importance to the customs, culture, and heritage that traditional hunting plays for the people of Montana and glazes over the threat caused by an overpopulation of large predators and the importance of managing them.
Boulanger said that his experience as an outfitter gave him insight into how state and federal lands are being managed.
“I know how to hold accountable the managers that mis-use their powers for enhancing their personal agendas,” he wrote.
He also stated that he believes in transparent government.
“I believe a big part of today’s problem is that too many deals and regulations are created behind closed doors,” he wrote.
He stated that “public school funding should be based on a combination of accountability, transparency, and a flexible funding formula.” He stated that parents should have the choice to have their children educated at home, in public or private schools or at church, as well as at charter schools or virtual schools.
He believes in water rights and private property rights and a good transportation system.
Immediately following his appointment Boulanger was beaming with excitement. He said that he was honored when he was chosen as one of the three to be presented as potential candidates to the County Commission out of a field of nine really good people.
“Now I’m humbled to have been chosen by the Commissioners,” he said.
Boulanger said that it was going to have to sink in. There was a lot that had to happen in a short period of time, such as buying some new clothes and getting a place to live in Helena. He said he was prepared in terms of his businesses to take off. Besides his outfitting businesses he also owns Grizzly Gold and Silver in Missoula. But all the businesses will be in good hands, he said, and with modern communication technology, he will not be out of touch.