Minority Whip Rep. Shane Morigeau, D-Missoula,

Minority Whip Rep. Shane Morigeau, D-Missoula, speaks on the House Floor at the state Capitol during the recent legislative session. Morigeau has announced he will be running for the state auditor position vacated by Matt Rosendale in 2020.

State Rep. Shane Morigeau announced Sunday he is running for state auditor in 2020.

Morigeau, a Democrat from Missoula, is the first from his party to launch a campaign for the position. Big Sky businessman Troy Downing, a Republican, is also running.

The office is open in the upcoming election because State Auditor Matt Rosendale, a Republican, is running for the U.S. House.

Morigeau said Saturday that he’s seeking the auditor’s job because he wants to make health insurance more affordable for Montanans and increase business opportunities in the state.

In his announcement video, Morigeau said his mother would not have survived cancer, and its recurrence, without affordable health care and that cemented for him the importance of affordable coverage.

“There are a lot of people in the state of Montana that struggle to be able to afford and pay the rates for health insurance and prescriptions,” Morigeau said. “I understand that and what it really means to people.”

Morigeau also cited his work to help first pass and then continue funding Medicaid expansion in Montana as part of his background in working on health care and health insurance issues.

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Additionally, Morigeau pointed to legislation he carried and passed in the 2019 session related to blockchain currency that he said protects Montanans while creating business opportunities for cryptocurrency companies. Part of the auditor's job is regulating securities and protecting state residents from fraud.

“(The legislation) protects Montanans from fraudulent investments and helps grow business,” Morigeau said.

He also highlighted the role the auditor’s office plays in serving on the state Land Board.

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“It is extremely important to make sure we’re continuing access for Montanans, that we’re maintaining public lands and we’re not selling them off or privatizing them in any shape or form,” Morigeau said. “I take that very seriously.”

Morigeau is a two-term legislator from Missoula, and was minority whip in the most recent session.

In 2019, Morigeau was also instrumental in the reworking of legislation to lift the criminal statute of limitations for sex crimes against children and lengthen the civil timelines. He worked with leadership from both parties, after initial bills failed, to revive the effort and get something across the finish line.

Morigeau, 34, is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. He holds a law degree from the University of Montana and a Master of Laws from the University of Arizona Law School. He has worked as an attorney for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. He and his wife, Jamie M. Iguchi, live in Missoula.

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