My name is Michele Binkley. My husband, Dwayne, and I moved to Montana in April 2002. We packed up our two boys with the necessities in our fifth wheel and drove from southwest Florida to Lolo where we called home until November. We started our new life in the Bitterroot Valley Thanksgiving week. What an adventure it has been!
Dwayne and I have been married for 22 years. We met each other in church shortly after I moved to Florida in December 1985 and have been friends ever since. After having our boys we decided we wanted to raise them in an area where they could hunt, fish, explore and grow with as much freedom as possible. I wanted my family to experience life the way I had known. Montana is a very special place and we often forget to appreciate what makes our state unique.
While living in Florida I was able to be a stay-at-home mom. Prior to having children I worked in banking, doing all sorts of jobs ranging from bookkeeping to teller and loan department to Secretary to the President. I worked for two large banks and two small town banks. I also worked for a title company as an Escrow Assistant. When we moved to Montana I had to go back to work. For nine years I worked for Ravalli County Federal Credit Union holding various positions (teller, teller supervisor, customer service, IRAs and so forth). Currently I am an Escrow Officer with First American Title and this is my eighth year.
I have known the struggles of raising a family while working and dealing with a household. I have had to make tough decisions between going to work or spending time with my children by attending school field trips and other type of functions. We have had to choose not to eat out, or go to the movies, or be able to shop in Missoula because we didn’t have the funds to make ends meet. I understand what it means to live and work in our wonderful, beautiful county. I am happy to call this my home, struggles hardships and all. My boys have grown into young hardworking, honorable men. I am thankful with the choice we made in calling this our home.
Growing up I moved around quite a bit. I am the only child of Ronald and Esther Beckwith. During the 70s my dad worked as a manager for several restaurants. He was a trouble shooter and companies would send him to failing restaurants where he would hire new staff and work with them until it was turning a profit. Because of this we moved from town to town in the mid-west ending up in Colorado. In 1980 we moved to Browning where my parents felt called or compelled to work with a local church. My mom taught school in Browning while my dad worked with the church and odd and end jobs. We lived in Browning, Babb and East Glacier. It was during this time I fell in love with my wonderful State. I finally had a place where I could call HOME. If anyone ever asks me where I’m from my answer is Montana.
I was raised in a conservative, Christian home. I was taught to honor God, our elders, our military, our flag and our Country. I am not happy with the move our country and state have made toward Socialism. It is NOT the answer. We are told over and over again we need to accept the change progressives have brought us. While it is important to grow, we do not need to progress toward socialism. We the People have been granted a special gift in our Constitution. It is not an old outdated document. It is not growing and living as some would lead us to believe. It is what provides us the freedoms we have; freedom of speech, to defend ourselves, to assemble to choose the life we want to live and so forth. It says what it says and means what it means. The framers were not uneducated men. They studied and debated over every single word in the Constitution. Our country has survived all of these years because of it. We need to make sure we are able to preserve it for the future.
I would like the opportunity to serve as your State Representative. Montana needs to return to the values I remember. The values many of us share; love of our State and preservation of freedom. Thank you for your consideration.