At an early age, John Lewis and his six siblings learned the Montana values of hard work, commitment to family, community, responsibility and public service. He’s running for Montana to create good-paying jobs, to cut the debt and deficit, and to put his experience to work as a dedicated advocate for all Montanans.
John is a 4th generation Montanan, born in Billings to a working-class family and raised in both Billings and Missoula.
Working for Senator Max Baucus and with Montana veterans, John spearheaded legislation giving businesses incentives to hire veterans. What began as John’s idea to better serve veterans is now the law of the land.
John’s role as listener and a leader has brought him to every community in Montana. He helped make sure that seniors received their Social Security checks; that small, rural communities get the resources they need for essential services; and that businesses had what they needed to create good-paying jobs.
In 2011 John traveled to all 56 counties across Montana, meeting with the mayors and community leaders of all 129 incorporated cities in towns. Putting politics aside, John’s goal was to bring the concerns of Montana’s leaders directly to Congress.
John has deep roots in public service in Montana. His mother was a teacher and Forest Service employee who later started her own small business. John’s father was a land planner who taught him how to fly fish (they still spend a week fishing together every summer). And his stepdad is a former smokejumper who spent a career with the Forest Service.
John’s great-grandmother, Zoe Bellow Ward, was one of the first women to graduate with a Master’s Degree from the University of Montana—as a contemporary of Congresswoman Jeanette Rankin. Another great-grandmother, Lillian Stratton, was born into a mining family in what is now the ghost town of Wickes, Montana. John’s great-great-grandfather, George Washington Ward, was a state lawmaker who authored legislation that separated Ravalli County from Missoula County in 1893.
John met Melissa Slagle in college. He proposed to Melissa during a snowy trip to Pattee Canyon on New Years Eve of 1999, and they got married in 2001. It was also in college that John began a long career in public service—working as a consumer protection advocate in the Attorney General’s office.
“That was when I discovered the power of serving people,” John remembers. “It was knocking on doors in Missoula when I realized that anyone can make a difference. I found my calling.”
In 2006, John and Melissa welcomed their daughter Kate into their family. Their son Jackson was born in 2007 – in the same hospital where John was born. John’s commitment to his family has only strengthened his resolve to ensure that Montana’s future generations have the same unique opportunities that all Montanans enjoy.
John Lewis is running for the U.S. House of Representatives as a concerned father and a dedicated public servant—not a politician. He has always turned his back to partisan bickering in order to focus on real solutions to the challenges facing Montana families.
There aren’t many people who know Montana as well as John. He’s traveled to every community with a commitment to serving Montanans at the local level, working together to find ground-up ideas to create good-paying jobs, to cut the debt and deficit, and to serve veterans, seniors, kids, working families and small businesses.