Executive Committee

Linda Schmitt
Chair

A Washington DC native, Linda is educated in political science and organizational development.  As an owner of a small consulting firm for almost thirty years, she has long been interested in how we run our society (aka politics).

Not a stranger to the Valley, thirty years ago she began spending time here with daughters Kierstin and Melissa.  Appreciative of the special place Ravalli County is, both for its beauty and its people, the obvious next chapter of her life was to become a resident.  Linda jumped right in to Democratic politics when she moved here with her husband in 2018.

Two main interests spur her urgency to act.  First, the big threats to democracy:  voting rights, climate change, and equal justice.  Second, hyper-partisanship that undermines community spirit.  She believes that in Ravalli County we can do better than gridlocked debate.

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Cindy Havens
Treasurer

Brought up by staunch John Birchers, Cindy solidly supported the Republican party platform in her youth.  Social, economic, and climate justice took a back seat to more capitalistic pursuits.  Until her hang glider broke at over 12,000 feet and her parachute failed.  Needless to say she felt compelled to research, question, and verify her beliefs.

"Paying it forward" (not so removed from Democratic values) actually became a much more fun way of life and opened up doors that took her to Kenya to help with clean water projects and mentoring women to give them computer skills and help get them out of poverty.  She also worked in several areas in India to assist with various humanitarian projects, as well as in the Philippine Islands and Kyrgyzstan.

Recently retired from a career in software engineering and directing Information Technology operations, she currently is working with several progressive organizations, mostly helping on the technical side. She is crazy about dogs, was a member of the U.S. Women's World Hang Gliding Team, and is a private pilot and CFIG (Certified Flight Instructor, Glider).

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Mary Blankenbaker
Alternate 1

As the youngest member of the Ravalli County Democrats executive board, Mary's number one focus is on how to engage young families in local politics.  Mary's two young sons are often at meetings and she is passionate about getting others in her peer group (and younger) involved.

Mary moved to the Bitterroot in 2016 after gaining a degree in Political Science from the University of Idaho and adventuring around the West Coast. She began volunteering and participating in community events.  She sits on the board of Evergreen Kids Corner Cooperative Preschool, Washington Primary School FFE, Bike Walk Bitterroot, and is SAFE's Marketing and Development Coordinator.  Mary has helped organize and host multiple events for local, state, and national candidates and hopes to continue hosting candidates who are running for open seats while making sure that young people of all ages feel welcome to engage with their candidates.

When Mary and her sons are not participating in politics you can find them outside enjoying the Bitterroot's endless outdoor opportunities.

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Pam Erickson
Alternate 2

Pam owned a studio and taught dance for over 20 years.  Her students stay in touch though they’re scattered to the winds.

She’s an active, committed Democrat who ran for office twice in the Valley and says “the best part was making my opponent shudder.  He wasn’t accustomed to a woman who understood the issues. I got to know so many people, young and old.  I treasure the experience of running for office.”

Pam and Kirby’s kids and grandkids remain close. Her contributions to the Valley and to the Democrats are significant and valued by her many friends and fans.

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George Havens
Alternate 3

George is a retired combat veteran, having served nearly 29 years in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Public Health Service.  He received a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. The majority of George’s uniformed career focused on providing services and resources to those most at risk.

He has served the populations of numerous Native American nations in a number of public health roles.  Much of his career was focused on international humanitarian relief.  While assigned to the U.S. Agency for International Development he was involved in coordinating the delivery of assistance in numerous conflicts and natural disasters.  Closer to home, while assigned to FEMA and Health and Human Services, he managed and coordinated healthcare delivery to impacted populations during domestic emergencies, including Hurricane Katrina.

George has seen firsthand how social and environmental disparities impact those most at risk.  These experiences have shaped his worldview and have made him passionate about social justice and environmental stewardship.  As a veteran, issues surrounding veterans’ benefits is also of concern.

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Margaret Gorski
State Representative

Margaret is retired from a long career in Recreation Planning in the Forest Service.  She has a BS from the University of Washington and an M.L.A from the University of California Berkeley.

She is committed to the value of environmental planning as a way of paving a sustainable future for us all.  She ran for the Montana State House of Representative in District 88 in 2016 and 2018.

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Skip Kowalski
State Representative

Skip is retired from a long career as a Wildlife Biologist in the Forest Service.  He has a BS from Cornell University in New York and an M.S. from Colorado State University.

He is passionate about working on behalf of wildlife and strives for practical solutions to protect habitat to sustain wildlife for future generations to enjoy.

Contact Skip