Montana Superintendent Denise Juneau, a Democrat, announced last week she will run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016 against the state’s at-large Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke.
Juneau was first elected state chief in 2008 and was re-elected in 2012. As chief, she’s overseen efforts to improve the state’s graduation rate and to provide better support to disadvantaged American Indian students. She’s also overseen the development of a new teacher-evaluation system.
Creating opportunities through education is a theme of Juneau’s campaign. “Denise wants Montanans to see that it’s possible to go from Head Start to Harvard, and from a small reservation town to Congress,” states her campaign website.
But Juneau faces tough historical odds on winning the seat. The Billings Gazette pointed out that a Democrat hasn’t held the state’s at-large congressional seat since 1997 and that Montana hasn’t sent a woman to the House since 1941.
A version of this article appeared in the November 11, 2015 edition of Education Week as Mont. Schools Chief Juneau Launches Congressional Bid