High School Students Look Forward to Co-op Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. 

From top to bottom-Kaylee Hampton, Tayen Lackey, Kyle McCormick– Photo Courtesy of Courtney Stone



Flathead Electric Cooperative will send three area high school students to our nation’s capital this summer on the annual Washington, D.C. Youth Tour.

Participants go through a competitive application process involving transcripts, essays, and references. This year, the Co-op selected Tayen Lackey, a rising senior at Flathead High School and the son of Shanti Lackey; Kyle McCormick, a rising homeschool senior and son of Kerri McCormick and Lonnie McCormick; and Kaylee Hampton, a rising junior at Flathead High School and the daughter of Amanda Hampton and Robert Hampton.

Lackey is currently participating in Model United Nations and enrolled in International Baccalaureate courses. He is also an active member of BSA Troop 1901 and is working on his Eagle.  “I have for many years been fascinated with the greatest systems in Washington, D.C., and their importance to our nation and the world,” Lackey enthused in his application.

McCormick is a dual-enrollment student at Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) in addition to being an Eagle Scout, competitive swimmer, track participant and football player through Bigfork High School. This summer, he looks forward to visiting our nation’s many treasures in Washington, D.C., such as the Declaration of Independence, which is on display at the National Archives Museum.

Hampton is deeply involved with Flathead’s Speech and Debate Team, in addition to the Kalispell Future Farmers of America group and volunteering at a veterinarian’s office. While in D.C., she is excited to increase her understanding of our nation’s electrical system as related to growth, and to learn more about cooperatives, too.

Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson inspired the Youth Tour when he addressed the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Annual Meeting in Chicago in 1957. The Senator and future president declared, “If one thing comes out of this meeting, it will be sending youngsters to the national capital where they can actually see what the flag stands for and represents.” This notion evolved in the 1960s into a nationwide effort to send young people on organized, fun and educational trips to the nation’s capital.

Today, the NRECA Youth Tour sends more than 1,500 high-school students to Washington, D.C. each year to learn about the history of this country and the role electric cooperatives played in that history. Students also meet with their legislative delegation.  Montana sends more than 25 students each year to participate in the Youth tour at no cost to those students.

The Co-op uses unclaimed capital credits to fund “all-expense paid” trips to Youth Tour each year. Applications are open to high school sophomores or juniors from schools in the Flathead Electric service territory. The student’s parent or guardian must be served by Flathead Electric Cooperative.

For more information, visit www.flatheadelectric.com/youthtour


Submitted by Courtney Stone

Governor Gianforte Proclaims March Montana Agriculture Month

Governor Greg Gianforte today proclaimed March 2023 Montana Agriculture Month to honor and celebrate the state’s agriculture industry, farmers and ranchers, and their contributions to the Montana way of life and the world.

In his proclamation, the governor also declared the week of March 19-25, 2023, Montana Agriculture Week, and March 21, 2023, Montana Agriculture Day.

“With more than 27,000 farms and ranches across our state, agriculture is the bedrock of our economy and communities,” Gov. Gianforte said. “We’ll continue to promote and invest in value-added ag to create jobs, expand opportunities, and help our hardworking producers keep pace with a transforming industry.”

The governor’s proclamation can be viewed here and below.

  • WHEREAS, agriculture is Montana’s number one industry with more than 27,000 farms and ranches across the state; and
  • WHEREAS, one of our greatest sources of pride as Montanans is the world-class products grown, raised, or made here in the Treasure State; and
  • WHEREAS, Montana’s farmers and ranchers work tirelessly to feed our nation and the world, overcoming fires and floods, wind and hail, abnormal dry seasons, and frigid winters; and
  • WHEREAS, agriculture is an economic driver for Montana communities, helping define our Montana way of life;
  • NOW, THEREFORE, I, Greg Gianforte, Governor of the State of Montana, do hereby proclaim the month of March 2023


Submitted by Kaitlin Price

Montana Job Resignation Stats

With Americans quitting their jobs at record rates during the so-called “Great Resignation,” even in the face of high inflation, WalletHub today released its updated report on 2023’s States With the Highest Job Resignation Rates, along with expert commentary.
Montana Job Resignation Stats

  • Resignation rate during the latest month: 3.30%
  • Resignation rate in the past 12 months: 3.63%
  • Overall rank: 3rd highest in the country


To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit:

Expert Commentary

What are the main factors that are influencing this shift in the labor force?

“Anthony Klotz, a management professor at University College London, coined the term that is all familiar with: The Great Resignation. While some states certainly have higher resignation rates, the driving factors behind employees resigning in great numbers are pretty consistent. Burnout, often as a result of an unsustainable workload, lack of opportunity for advancement, and poor leadership are all reasons why employees resign. In addition, people often quit because they can find another job. The COVID-19 pandemic led to more opportunities for people to find another job, often at a significantly higher salary in many industries. Finally, the pandemic led some to reevaluate how their values aligned with their work, whether that related to an organization’s mission or to the degree to which employees viewed work as central to other aspects of life, such as family or other interests. So basically, we have a sum of more macro factors (broader economic environment and opportunities combined with personal situations and decision-making.”
Benjamin Biermeier-Hanson, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Radford University

“People are leaving their jobs voluntarily as a protest against current working conditions. The lower wage schedule, especially in service, has to do with unpredictable schedules which create confusion and an inability to plan for child care or any other responsibilities a person has. At higher income levels, particularly in corporate jobs, people are objecting to the routinization of work, to demands for the office or office work by employers without consultation with workers, by lack of meaning, not feeling valued, and having no voice in decisions. Given the current labor market, people feel they can find other jobs which have better conditions and are willing to take the risk of leaving. Other responses to working conditions are unionization attempts at unexpected places.”
Lotte Bailyn – Professor Emerita, MIT

How is the decrease in labor force participation affecting employers?

“Decreases have required employers to rethink their processes and question whether they can stay in business. Currently, more American companies are closing because of a lack of workers rather than a lack of business…Demand for products and services is way up, and the number of people doing the work is way down. At some point, employees reach a breaking point. Virtually all storefronts and backs of semi-trucks are soliciting help. Currently, it is not going well. Companies recognize that they cannot count on an available workforce, and no backups are available. Instead, they have pursued technologies to fill many of the tasks previously held by people, even in service positions that have historically relied on face-to-face interactions.”
Wayne Hochwarter – Professor, Florida State University

“A scarcity of workers is a problem, but perhaps employers could use the occasion to rethink their expectations about work, to consider more carefully the needs of employers and how they can meet them. this could be a win-win situation, even with unions, if employers would consider their workforce not as interchangeable commodities but as unique individuals with skills and talents they can benefit from, given conditions that recognize their value and provide them with respect and voice.”
Lotte Bailyn – Professor Emerita, MIT

Will this be a long-term issue or will we see a re-entering in the labor force of prime-age workers in 2023?

“Most employees will return to the workforce because they need to support themselves and their families. But some employees may reject employers that limit or exclude remote work, preferring to seek employment with employers that are more flexible about working from home.”
Christine N. O’Brien – Professor, Retired, Boston College

“This is a great question. It is hard to forecast the future on this one. On one hand, the broader economic climate has changed in the last 6-12 months, with prominent layoffs occurring in leading sectors like tech and speculation of more to follow in other areas. So, as it relates to the ‘pull’ factors, such as the opportunity of other jobs, we may see people resign less due to fewer options. At the same time, the individual and organizational level factors, such as burnout and lack of support, have not changed for many. Ultimately, I would speculate that we will see a slowdown in resignations – those who can leave and desire to still will, but the opportunities for as many to do so may decrease shortly.”
Benjamin Biermeier-Hanson, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Radford University

Courtesy of Diana Polk

Alcohol Involved in 51% of
Fatal Crashes in Montana


Our team of analysts found that alcohol was involved in 51% of fatal crashes in Montana. However, we also found that DUI citations are down 12% in Montana since 2010.

Our full report on DUIs and fatal crashes involving alcohol is available at the link: https://quotewizard.com/auto-insurance/how-long-does-a-dui-stay-on-your-record#states


Key Findings for Montana:


  • 27% of crashes involved someone severely impaired
  • 50 DUI arrests were made per 10k registered drivers
  • Fatal crashes are up 18% nationwide since 2020


Submitted By Emily Lamb

Fur Handling Clinic Scheduled For April 1

Registration is open for a free fur handling clinic in Columbia Falls on April 1.

The clinic is hosted by the Montana Trapper’s Association and Montana Fur Harvesters. The clinic will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 287 Midnight Lane in Columbia Falls. It is open to all ages and anyone interested in learning about fur handling techniques, ethics, and safety. Participants should bring a chair and dress warmly. Lunch will be available for $10.

To register for this outdoors skills course, visit https://fwp.mt.gov/hunt/education/advanced-education.

For more information, contact Tom Fieber at (406) 250-3386.


Courtesy of Montana FWP

Daines Statement on Passing of Montana Hero Charlie Dowd

Senator Daines today released the following statement in response to the passing of Pearl Harbor veteran Charlie Dowd.

“I’m saddened to hear about the passing of Montana hero Charlie Dowd, the last survivor of Pearl Harbor in our state. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and all who loved him today. Charlie’s story is a solemn reminder that freedom is never free and the price paid by the greatest generation is a debt that we will never be able to repay.

“I am proud that Montana is home to almost 100,000 veterans of nearly every conflict since Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders took San Juan Hill — each one has a unique story of service and sacrifice. Heroes like Charlie Dowd are who make Montana the last best place. He will be missed greatly.”



In 2018, Senator Daines honored Charlie Dowd with a tribute in the Congressional Record.

Courtesy of Blake Kernen