I found my way into the world on the first day of summer, and was welcomed to life on the family ranch in Roscoe, Montana that my Great Grandfather homesteaded in 1893. My Dad was busy shearing sheep the day Grandpa drove my Mom into Red Lodge to deliver me.
As a child, my days were filled with caring for my 4-H animals, milking cows, feeding bum lambs, driving the tractor for raking hay, wrestling calves for branding, playing with my sister, cousins and friends, and riding horses. Doing chores on the ranch taught me the value of hard work, and the importance or working together as a team to get the job done. Caring for animals taught me compassion, humanity, and humility. There is nothing like an unexpected, swift kick from a horse, or pulling a stillborn lamb, to remind you that life is full of surprising learning opportunities and teachable moments.
I attended grade school in a nearby two room school and graduated from Absarokee High School in a class of 20 students, a handful of whom went on to attend college. My mom made sure I went to college. I was the first in my family to attend, and I graduated with a degree in Elementary and Special Education with an endorsement in Environmental Education.
I married Miles Keogh (deceased) and we started our life on the Keogh family ranch at Nye, Montana. I taught elementary and special education for over 20 years in Montana, Colorado and Wyoming while raising two boys -- Ross and Troy, and then continued my career on the faculty of Western Governors University. I earned a Master's degree in Education--Learning and Technology and have extensive experience working with students with autism.
Ever since my mom took my sister and me to the Billings Fairground the day John F. Kennedy visited, I have been interested in serving my community.
I have actively worked on conservation issues since the 1970s when the Stillwater area was struggling with the impacts of a hard rock mine. Other community service includes working on initiatives to fund schools and provide programs for diverse populations, and family services including mental health and the most disabled.
Since moving to Missoula in 2014, I have been active with Montana Conservation Voters, and I have worked extensively on political and issue related campaigns. It is through my service as a teacher, my experiences as a parent, and my hours as a community volunteer that I have realized the importance of political engagement in policy. Through my lifelong involvement with Northern Plains Resource Council and other organizations throughout the state I have become more deeply interested and engaged in politics.
I am thrilled with the addition to my family of two beautiful grandchildren, who live in Missoula. Being a grandmother has cemented my commitment to improving educational opportunities in Montana. There is nothing more important than sufficiently funding our public schools. Shortchanging our children on education results in fewer economic opportunities and an increase in our already burgeoning prison population.
I look forward to sharing my knowledge, building on my experiences, and furthering my education, as your next representative of House District 91.