Friday, August 08, 2003

Yellowstone County Commissioner Bill Kennedy confirmed today that will announce plans this month to run for statewide office.

"I'm looking forward to a challenge," he said. "I'm looking forward to running statewide. And I'm gearing up for an announcement in a couple of weeks."

Mr. Kennedy declined to see what office he would seek, but other sources predicted that he would run for secretary of state.

A Democrat, Mr. Kennedy has honed a fiscally conservative record as commissioner, sometimes even voting against pay raises for himself. He has carefully built ties within the Democratic Party, and he has been active in the Montana and National Association of Counties. He also is known as an effective "retail" politician, appearing indefatigably at public meetings and hearings of all kinds.

Those qualities have enabled to stay in office as the county's minority party commissioner since 1992. He defeated TV anchor Dave Rye in 2000 by nearly 3,000 votes.

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