About Mark 

 

As a third generation Flathead Valley resident, my heart has always been in serving the citizens

that have supported my family and I over the last 33 years.  Growing up on

the family farm in Lower Valley and then washing dishes in the family

restaurant (Vista Linda) since the age of five, I have always been taught to

have a strong work ethic and to lead by example.     

                                                                                                                          

Attending St. Matthew’s through 6th grade and then the Kalispell Public education

system till graduation from Flathead High School in 1994, I have been blessed to have learned so much from so many incredibly talented educators.  After High School, I attended Flathead Community College for one year before transferring to the University of Nevada,  Las Vegas to receive my B.S. degree in Hospitality Administration in December of 1997 after 3 ½ years of college. 

 

After college graduation, I had the opportunity to move back to the Flathead Valley and help

reopen the Vista Linda restaurant in 1998 and grow the catering business to what it is today.

Since 1981, the Vista Linda has been a part of our family and the business has been a part of the

Valley since 1969.   Recently, Vista Linda was named the Valley’s Best Catering Company for the

past two years by the Daily Interlake’s Best of the Flathead. It continues to be such a pleasure to be

able to be a part of so many memories and a special place for so many generations of families to

come to. 

 

In 1998 after moving back to the Flathead after college, I also met the love of my life, Renae who is 

also a third generation Flathead Valley resident and graduate of Flathead High School.  Married for

ten yearswe have two wonderful children, Elizabeth (8) and Isaac (4). 

 

In 2006, I decided to enter politics because I was concerned as a small business owner about

the decisions that were being made that affected not only the business climate, but also the lives of

 our customers and my family’s lives.  I have had the incredible honor of representing House District

10 (Portions of Kalispell, Somers, and Lakeside) for the past eight years.  During that time, I have

served on the House Taxation, Judiciary, Education, Local Government, and Rules Committee.  In 

2009, I was the House Education Ranking Republican on the committee and have served on this 

committee for four sessions.  In 2011, I was named House Taxation Committee Chairman and we

 were able to pass the first Business Equipment Tax Reduction since the early 2001. 

 

During my final session in the Montana State House of Representatives, I was honored to become 

the 52nd Speaker of the Montana State House and worked hard to bring back a level of civility

and statesmanship to the Chamber.  My motto was always “More Work, Less Politics” and to strive

to be able to debate the issue with substance and not personal attacks.  During the session, the 

House was able to pass the initial budget on an unprecedented 100-0 vote.  I was always taught that

it is amazing what can be accomplished if you don’t care who gets the credit and I was so privileged to

work with so many incredibly talented individuals over my tenure. 

Currently, I have the incredible honor of representing Kalispell as there Senator for Senate District 4.  I have been appointed to Senate Finance & Claims (General Government Sub Committee), Taxation, Education, Energy and Telecommunications, and Rules.

 

A selection of my record of legislative accomplishments includes:

 

1.  Led the Montana House of Representatives to pass $250 million in tax relief, many of  

which died due to democrat opposition in the Senate

2.  Helped draft amendments and carry two bills to eliminate the Business Equipment Tax for  

17,000 small businesses and reduce the tax for the remaining by half in most cases.  

3.  Carried two bills to eliminate frivolous work compensation fees from businesses in the      

trucking industry

4.  Worked with local fisherman and wildlife groups to pass a bill dealing with bucket biology

5.  Continued to help work on funding for Aquatic Invasive Species Program to protect our

waterways and Flathead Lake.

6  Sponsored a successful bill to create the Efficiency in Government Committee, a venue

for citizens and businesses to discuss government barriers and potential efficiencies.

-Created over $10 million in savings by streamlining document and data center savings

-Created a bill to reduce fraud in Medicaid and Medicare

-Reduced frivolous paper work for natural resource industry

-Has helped to move towards an outcome based model for children's services and eliminate a lot of the mandated red tape.

           

I have also had the privilege to Co-Sponsor a large number of Bills

including these to name a few:

 

            -Jessica’s Law that protects children from Child Predators

            -The “Castle Doctrine” that outlines an individual’s right to protect themselves.

            -The largest Worker’s Compensation Reduction in 20 years.

 

           

Affiliations:

-Member of Kalispell Chamber of Commerce

-Member of Lakeside/Somers Chamber of Commerce

-Member of the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce

-Member of Glacier Country Pachyderms

-Member of the Flathead Shrine Club

-Member of the National Rifle Association

-Member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

-Member of the National Federation of Independent Businesses

-Member of the Montana State Tavern Owners

-2002 Alumni of Leadership Flathead

-Vice President of Flathead Business & Industries Association