Llew Jones (R), born 1962, has filed as a candidate for Senate District 14.
The current Senator, Jerry Black, whose term ends in 2010, endorses Jones for this position and will serve as the Treasurer for Jones’s campaign.
He is not new to public service, currently is serving his third term in the Montana House of Representatives where he was elected as Republican WHIP in the 2009 session He is also the Chairman of the Legislative Finance Committee.
In addition, Jones spent six years as Alderman for the City of Conrad, served as Director and President for the Chamber of Commerce, is a founding member of the Pondera Port Authority, serves on the Board of Directors for Sweetgrass Development, and is currently one of the founding members and President of the Coalition for Common Sense Use.
His legislative focus is on what he terms as the Four-Es: Economic Development, Energy, Education, and Environmentally responsible (common sense) multiple uses of Montana public lands.
In the past three sessions Jones has sponsored or co-sponsored a significant portion of Montana’s economic development legislation, energy legislation, and energy litigation tort reform.
Jones has twice been recognized for his Legislative work by the Montana Chamber of Commerce via their coveted “Champion of Business” award and was a recipient of the Montana Electric Cooperative’s “Champion of Power” award.
He earned a B.S. degree in Management and a Graduate Degree in Applied Economics from Montana State University. Upon college graduation, Jones and his wife, Carole, returned to the family farm in Conrad so that they could have an active role in their three sons’ (Eddie, Daniel and Aaron) upbringing.
Over the following years, Jones continued his education earning a number of professional certifications including: Microsoft Certified System Engineer, Certified Novell Engineer, and Certified Cisco Professional.
During that time, and with substantial help from his wife, Jones founded Jathco Systems, a successful computer consulting firm.
In addition to Jathco and the family farm, the Joneses became active in a number of other small businesses ventures, including Pure Bliss Cycles (a Honda, Yamaha, and Polaris Powersports dealership) in 2004 and Frontline Ag (John Deere Dealership) in 2005.
Jones and his wife are past recipients of the Conrad Chamber of Commerce’s “Businessman of the Year” award. A favorite saying of Llew’s is, “I never take on more work than my wife can do”.
He and Carole (married 28 years) have always kept family at the center of their focus irrespective of where life has taken them.
“We have set strict academic requirements for our children, believing that a good education is a first priority,” he says.
They have also helped their children excel in extracurricular activities.
Jones was his sons’ wrestling and baseball coach and served as President of the Conrad Wrestling Club for many years. He also served as head coach and organizer for the Montana National Wrestling team. He and Carole are very proud of the fact that their three sons won multiple state wrestling championships, attended Harvard and Brown Universities, and are now actively engaged in professional careers while starting families of their own.
The Joneses “focus on the family” continues with their fourth grade daughter, Dania. They were instrumental in founding a north- central Montana gymnastics club, coach youth swimming, and are involved in youth girls’ basketball.
Jones has mused that, “Working with one daughter may be more challenging than working with three sons.”
In the 2009 session Jones received a 100 percent on the Montana Family Foundation scorecard.
Jones tells the I-O he is very excited about taking on the challenge of representing the SD-14. He noted that, while Montanans can take some pride in being one of only two states currently in the black fiscally, the 2011 session will face a $400 million dollar structural deficit resulting in perhaps Montana’s most challenging fiscal session ever.
Jones went on to say that, “Seventy-five percent of Montana’s budget goes to Education, Health and Human Services, and Corrections, thus every community in the state will face some very difficult choices.”
Jones contends that with his family as a first focus, his strong business economic educational background, and his direct business experience, when combined with his experience as Chair of Legislative Finance for Montana, makes him the right choice for the Montana Legislature and SD-14 in these tough times.