Jodi Rave: Series on Indian lawmakers in Montana
"Rep. Carolyn Pease-Lopez, D-Billings, plans to bring her faith to the Montana Legislature this year where she is one of five new legislators representing the nine-member American Indian caucus.

While Pease-Lopez will tackle bills of statewide concern, she will also join the Legislature as a legislator of unique distinction. She will be the first chaplain appointed to the House.

Normally, a legislator is asked to pray each day the House is in session. But this year, Pease-Lopez will take on those duties. She and her husband are pastors of a Baptist church in Lodge Grass on the Crow Reservation.

“It makes me feel more settled about being there,” she said. “It lays it on my heart to keep the whole House in prayer.”

The Crow woman embraces her new legislative roles. After her first opening session prayer, Pease-Lopez will focus on a bill that adds a Native person to the state parole board. A similar bill was introduced in the last session, House Bill 290, but failed to pass.

Native people comprise about 16 percent of the Montana prison population, while they make up only 6 percent of the total state population, according to the Montana Department of Corrections."

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Indian lawmakers: Pease-Lopez brings her faith to Capitol (The Missoulian 1/7)

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