Discovering Montana

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For Immediate Release-6/25/96 Contact: Andrew Malcolm, 444-3111


Governor MARC RACICOT today named a diverse panel of 17 Montanans from across the state to the Governor's Council on Families. The new panel, which will begin activities immediately, will perform in a wide range of advisory, coordinating and educational capacities to help strengthen Montana families.

"The family is the most important institution in our society," Governor RACICOT said. "And it faces many difficult challenges. It is essential that government be attuned and sensitive to families and their needs. I look to this Council to be a vigorous advocate for families both in government and in society at large."

The new Council's membership, established by a special Executive Order (15-96), includes eight women and nine men--two judges, a former mayor, a farmer, a registered nurse, a representative, a minister, a counselor, a professor, a probation officer and a high school junior, among others. They come from Glendive and Westby to Kalispell and Missoula and numerous points in between. (See separate Bio sheet.)

Gov. RACICOT has named District Judge Katherine Curtis as the Council's chairperson.

"Part of Montana's wondrous diversity is its families," Governor RACICOT added. "They come in all shapes and sizes. I am counting on the diverse membership of this Council to advise us in two main areas.

"First, I want to ensure that state government does not get in the way of functioning families. And government ought to facilitate ways to help those families in difficulty. The Council will play a crucial role in reviewing state policies, regulations and laws and advising us on ways to strengthen independent families.

"Second, I hope the Council through its meetings and vigorous public outreach activities helps stimulate as broad a positive public discussion about families as possible--in schools, churches, groups, cafes, individual homes, anywhere two or more Montanans gather. Government can encourage. But our individual families, one by one, are going to be the longterm engines for strengthening our families today and for producing a positive legacy in the next generation of productive parents.

"There is much that works well in our society and we must never allow our natural concerns for the problems to drown our hopes for success. Wide exchanges of successful family strategies, by word of mouth, in meetings and in the media, can provide not only positive reinforcement but help these strategies spread. And creating and keeping strong, secure families is the most powerful form of crime prevention."

The Council's first formal meeting is scheduled for Aug. 9 in Helena with Governor RACICOT. At that time, Council members will hear from the Governor, receive a briefing on proposed new legislation affecting the family and set their meeting and work schedules for the coming months. It is anticipated the Council will routinely hold its meetings outside the Capitol in communities across the state.


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