Three seats on Flathead Electric Cooperative Board up for election

Submitted by Courtney Stone


Three seats on Flathead Electric Co-op’s Board of Trustees are up for election this year. Potential candidates must be members of the Co-op and live in the district they seek election to represent.

Trustee seats up for election are currently held by:

  • Stacey Schnebel – District # 1 (Columbia Falls to Essex);
  • Steve Streich – District # 4 (Helena Flats, Columbia Falls Stage); and
  • Gary Boe – District # 7 (Kalispell, South of Highway 2).

A district map showing exact boundaries is available on the Flathead Electric website at

Nominating petitions are due no later than March 14. Eligible candidates will be added to the ballot. Completed nominating petitions require:  25 signatures from Co-op members who also live in the candidate’s district; A high-resolution photograph to be used on the ballot insert; and Candidate’s biography (100 words or fewer) to be used on the ballot insert.

Board of Trustees candidates will have the opportunity to give a three-minute speech to the membership at the Annual Meeting on April 23. For the first time, Co-op Members may choose to vote electronically thanks to a bylaw change passed by Co-op members last year. Mailed ballots will go out April 21 and electronic ballots will be available on April 23. Members who wish to opt-out of their mailed paper ballots may do so at

To obtain a nominating petition, or with questions, visit or contact Cindy Crosswhite at 751-4444 or by

Business is Booming: Record Business Creation in 2021 statistics released by Gov. Gianforte, Sec. of State Jacobsen

Submitted by Brooke Stroyke, Office of the Governor

Governor Greg Gianforte and Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen on January 12 announced a record number of new businesses were created in Montana last year. More than 51,500 new businesses were registered with the Montana Secretary of State in 2021, surpassing the previous record set in 2020 by more than 12,000 businesses.

“Montana is open for business. In the last twelve months, we’ve seen a record low unemployment rate, a record number of Montanans working, and a record number of new businesses created in the state,” Gov. Gianforte said. “We’ll continue to foster a climate where businesses can thrive and create sustainable jobs and greater prosperity for more Montanans.”

“A key indicator for economic strength in Montana is the continued growth of new businesses,” said Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen, “and the number of new businesses in Montana just continues to grow. Montana has been rated as one of the best states in the nation for business startups, including The Blueprint ranking Montana No. 1 in its Top 10 Best States to Start Your Small Business in 2021 report.”

The Secretary of State’s new Montana Business Economic Report revealed 51,508 new businesses registered in 2021, surpassing the 2020 total by more than 12,000. Nearly 30,000 Domestic Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) were registered in 2021.

Montana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd O’Hair celebrated the news.

“The record growth in business registrations clearly points to a strong Montana economy and a vibrant entrepreneurial base. You can feel the optimism growing for Montana’s future in every business sector,” O’Hair said.

Through the Secretary of State’s modern, user-friendly Montana Business Economic Report, valuable data is provided about the health of the business economy in Montana. Per the report, March had the largest number of business registrations in 2021, with 5,161 new businesses registering with the Secretary of State’s Office.

In addition to new business registrations, business renewals and businesses in good standing both increased in 2021.

The Montana Business Economic Report contains information about where, by zip code, new businesses are located. The 59901 zip code (Flathead County) had the highest increase in 2021, with more than 7,000 new businesses registered.

There were also 178,601 renewal filings in 2021 and 267,900 businesses in good standing, both increases over the prior year.