January 13, 2022

Laura Smith Announces Campaign for Helena Legislative Seat


Former federal prosecutor and Deputy Director of Montana Health Department endorsed by HD79’s outgoing Rep. Rob Farris-Olsen and former Lt. Governor Mike Cooney


Helena, Montana—Laura Smith, former federal prosecutor and Deputy Director of Montana’s state health department, announced today she is running for Montana’s House District 79. Smith, a Democrat, is endorsed by outgoing HD 79 Representative Rob Farris-Olsen, who will not seek reelection. Smith also picked up the endorsement of former Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State Mike Cooney, who serves as treasurer for her campaign.


“I’m running to fight for Montana kids and families,” said Smith. “As a mother of two, I’m passionate about achieving meaningful improvements for Montana kids and their families—access to quality, affordable childcare, good job opportunities, public lands to enjoy, and holding our government officials accountable.”


HD 79 includes the southwest portion of Helena’s historic downtown and the area west of Helena.


“I’ve worked with and known Laura for several years now. She is smart, listens to others, and is first and foremost a problem solver,” said Mike Cooney. “I’m pleased to endorse her and serve as her Treasurer.”


Smith served as Deputy Director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services under the Bullock and Gianforte administrations, creating and launching innovative, nationally-recognized health initiatives. Smith created the First Years Initiative, supporting young children and their families through targeted mental health services and support. She also oversaw the department’s public health Covid-19 response, working closely with hospitals, providers, local health departments, and communities. Previously, Smith served as a federal prosecutor in Helena and Great Falls, partnering with law enforcement, tribes, and communities to fight violent crime, including murders, sexual assaults, drug and gun crimes, fraud, and wildlife crimes. She was an early champion of community response teams and worked closely with Fort Peck to establish its first Sexual Assault Response Team.   


“Laura Smith has the expertise and passion for public service that will serve this district well. She cares deeply about issues impacting our community, and I’m happy to endorse her for HD 79,” said Farris-Olsen.


Smith lives in Helena with her husband, Mac, an attorney and business owner, their two kids and their fierce hunting dog, Smoochie.