In this remote interview we talk with Dan Vermillion who is running for Montana House District 59, a mostly rural district comprised of parts of Sweetgrass County and Park County outside of Livingston. A lifelong Montanan and avid hunter and fisherman, Vermillion is co-owner, along with his brothers, of Sweetwater Travel which runs sustainably managed fishing camps and lodges in Mongolia, Brazil, Alaska, British Columbia, the Bahamas and Montana. He also served twelve years on the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission, and as a commissioner worked extensively with ranchers and farmers, sportsmen, outdoorsmen, and business owners from both sides of the aisle to find solutions to the problems Montanans face to preserve and protect our wild places and natural resources while promoting economic opportunities.
We discuss the challenges of running a political campaign in the age of COVID-19 and how the pandemic will intensify the issues Montanans are already facing such as healthcare, mental health and social services, affordable housing and unemployment. We talk about the economic effect the virus will have on Montana’s second largest and growing industry, travel and tourism, and how in this time of political polarization it’s important to work together in a bi-partisan way to address these issues and not settle for short term solutions at the expense of jeopardizing Montana’s great outdoor heritage by relaxing regulations to increase mining and logging instead of promoting tourism. “You can find gold in other places, you can find copper in other places, but there’s no other place in the world where you can find a Yellowstone Cutthroat.”