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Former Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen (R-Culbertson) was elected Montana's next Attorney General with nearly 60% of the vote.

How is the transition taking shape? What happens on day one as Attorney General? We'll talk about that and more as Attorney General-elect Austin Knudsen joins us on Friday's Montana Talks statewide radio show with Aaron Flint.

Earlier this week, Knudsen announced his transition advisory committee, along with this prepared statement:

I’m excited to have such a great group leading our transition. Our committee represents a broad cross-section of Montanans that will help us put together a capable, hardworking team to lead the Department of Justice.

 

 

Transition Advisory Committee Members

 

Jake Eaton, Chairman - Mr. Eaton is an entrepreneur, investor, and consultant who owns and manages a diverse portfolio of companies. After nearly two decades working in politics, Mr. Eaton is one Montana’s most sought-after political consultants, most recently serving as Chief Strategist for Knudsen’s campaign for Attorney General and Campaign Manager for Governor-Elect Greg Gianforte. Jake is a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and serves on the board of directors for several non-profit organizations.

 

Scott Aspenlieder - Mr. Aspenlieder is a licensed professional engineer, small business owner and entrepreneur with a background in rural/urban growth and economic diversification challenges facing our growing Montana communities. Mr. Aspenlieder serves on the board of directors for an array of industry and community organizations including the Environmental Quality Council and Montana Water Resource Association. Scott grew up in northeast Montana, graduated from Montana State University with a degree in Civil Engineering, and currently runs an engineering firm in Billings.

 

Cliff Brophy - Mr. Brophy is currently the Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator and 9-1-1 Coordinator for Sweet Grass County. Prior to that, he served in law enforcement for 37 years in Stillwater County, including 28 years as Sheriff. Mr. Brophy has attended the FBI National Academy and the NWU Traffic Institute of Police Staff and Command. Mr. Brophy has served on the FBI Advisory Policy Board, Montana Board of Crime Control, State Emergency Response Commission, Montana Lottery Commission and various other boards. He was a guest instructor at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy. Mr. Brophy served as past president for the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association and the Montana Coroners Association. Cliff currently lives in Big Timber.

 

Stephanie Cote, Transition Coordinator - Mrs. Cote is a former state legislator who also served as Senior Policy Advisor for the Montana Secretary of State as well as the Montana State Auditor. Stephanie holds a B.S. In Social Work and has worked nearly 20 years in mental health and long-term care. Stephanie currently owns a consulting business and serves on the board of directors for a local non-profit organization.

 

Kevin Gustainis – Mr. Gustainis is the President and owner Montana Peterbilt which has 95 employees across its locations in Billings, Missoula and Columbia Falls. He and his wife Amber currently reside in Stillwater County.

 

Tony Harbaugh – Mr. Harbaugh has served as Sheriff of Custer County for over 35 years. During his long and distinguished career Sheriff Harbaugh has served in leadership roles with various law enforcement organizations. In 2019, Sheriff Harbaugh received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Montana Board of Crime Control for his professional excellence and lasting contributions to improve Montana’s justice system.

 

Burt Hurwitz – Mr. Hurwitz is currently the Meagher County Attorney. Burt attended Rocky Mountain College for undergraduate then the University of Montana School of Law. In addition to serving as Meagher County Attorney, he is a shareholder with the firm Church, Harris, Johnson & Williams, P.C.

 

Emily Jones - Emily is a fourth-generation Montanan and a third-generation attorney. In her decade of litigation experience, Emily has represented Fortune 500 corporate clients, small businesses, cities and towns, nonprofits, and individuals. Prior to founding her own law firm in 2017, Emily was a partner at Billings, Montana based Matovich, Keller & Murphy.

 

Jon Metropoulos - Mr. Metropoulos has been a private practice attorney for thirty plus years, focused primarily on natural resource development, environmental law, and government relations.  He graduated with Honors from the University of Montana School of Law in 1988.  After practicing in Helena law firms, he has had a solo law practice, Metropoulos Law Firm, PLLC, since 2010.  He and his wife, Theresa, live in Helena as do two of their three grown children. 

 

Derek Oestreicher, Transition General Counsel - Mr. Oestreicher is an attorney with experience in both the private and public sectors.  After obtaining his law degree from the University of Montana School of Law, Derek was a civil trial attorney in Great Falls with Davis, Hatley, Haffeman & Tighe.  Derek later served as the Elections Director for the Secretary of State, a Legal Policy Advisor for the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, and as the Election Day Operations Director for the Montana Republican Party.

 

Will Selph, Transition Coordinator - Mr. Selph attended the University of Montana, after graduation he began his career in public service with Congressman Denny Rehberg, and has served in various senior positions to numerous state-wide elected officials in Montana. He is also a sought-after political consultant who most recently served as a Senior Advisor to Knudsen’s campaign for Attorney General.

 

Scott Twito - Mr. Twito is currently the Yellowstone County Attorney. Prior, to his election as County Attorney in 2010, Mr. Twito had served as a Deputy County Attorney for more than 12 years, prosecuting some of the most high-profile cases in Montana. He is a graduate of the University of Denver Law School. Scott and his wife reside in Billings with their two children.

Catch Montana Talks statewide at 9:06 a.m. on the following stations across the state:

Billings: Newstalk 95.5 and 95.1 FM, 970 AM KBUL

Bozeman: 1450 KMMS

Livingston: 1340 KPRK

Missoula: AM930 and 99.7 FM KMPT

Kalispell: 880AM and 107.9 FM KJJR

Glendive: 1400AM and 103.1FM KXGN

ForsythKIKC 1250 AM, 94.5FM

Lewistown: 1230AM and 106.9FM

Wolf Point: 92.7FM KVCK

Fort Peck: 107.1FM KVCK

Shelby: 1150AM KSEN

Great Falls102.7FM KINX

Helena: 95.9FM KCAP

Butte: 1370 AM and 94.7 FM KXTL

Scobey: 95.7FM KCGM

Plentywood: 100.1FM KATQ