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Kalispell woman joins race for Montana's 2nd House seat

Daily Inter Lake | October 21, 2021 3:05 PM

Mary Todd, a Kalispell businesswoman and church leader, announced Thursday she is running as a Republican for Montana’s newly established second U.S. House seat.

Also on the Republican ticket for the new congressional seat are former U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke of Whitefish, who also served for a time as Secretary of the Interior during the Trump administration; and Al Olszewski of Kalispell, a former state senator, candidate for U.S. Senate in 2018 and candidate for Governor of Montana in 2020. Democrat contenders include Laurie Bishop, Cora Neumann and Monica Tranel.

Todd said in a press release she is “an unapologetic ‘America First’ conservative.

“We must stand up to America’s enemies, like China and their communist regime, and fight on behalf of our conservative principles,” Todd said in a prepared statement.

She said she has been a leader in the pro-life movement and a church leader. Her Facebook page lists her as the lead pastor of Purpose Church in Kalispell.

Todd also stressed she’s a leader in business, where she has “seen the burden that high taxes and excessive regulations put on families and job creators.

“I am pro-gun and anti-radical indoctrination in our schools,” Todd said. “I will fight to finish President Trump’s wall, and I will work to protect Montana’s forests, wildlife, and public lands.”

Todd said she became aware of the “need to defend America’s sovereignty” after her son, Shane, was found dead in his Singapore apartment in June 2012 while working for a telecommunication company.

“The China-affiliated firm wanted him to assist with the illegal transfer of technology to China. Shane refused and quit his job but was found garroted to death in his apartment days before his planned return home,” Todd said.

Authorities reported the death as a suicide, but Todd and her husband Rick have always asserted he was murdered.

Mary Todd told the Daily Inter Lake in February 2013 that Shane had been worried for months that the project he was working on was compromising U.S. national security. At some point he began fearing for his life. In fact, he had told his mother exactly what to do if she hadn’t heard from him for a week. She was to email him and if he didn’t call back immediately, Mary was to alert the U.S. Embassy.

Since Shane’s death, both Mary and Rick have worked with U.S. officials and the FBI, as well as the Singapore ambassador, and also tried to gather evidence of their son’s murder themselves, but have not been able to get any resolution in the case.

Mary Todd said in the 2013 Inter Lake interview that their Christian faith buoyed them in the aftermath of their son’s death. At the time, Mary, a licensed Baptist pastor, was leading a satellite church of the Paloma, Calif., First Baptist Church at the Todds’ airplane hangar at their ranch in Marion.

Todd said she turned her grief into action and continues to serve as a local leader in her community. When she learned that low-income children were walking miles to her home church just so they could eat, she organized her fellow church members to provide rides, food, and school supplies to the community’s needy children, the press release said.