The daughter of a truck driver and a waitress,
Monica Lindeen inherited a passion for hard work.
M onica worked her way through high school – mostly in concessions at the Big Sky Drive-In and MetraPark arena in Billings. She worked as a waitress at Pizza Hut, where she could make tips. The extra money came in handy paying for gas in her ’63 Chrysler and a few school clothes.
Monica was the first member of her family to attend and graduate from college, making good on a promise to herself to seek higher education. It was no easy task. Monica was married and had a two-year-old daughter when she started taking classes at Montana State University – Billings, the closest college to her home in Huntley. In 1992, she graduated at age 30 with an English degree. For the next two years, Monica was a graduate student, worked as a graduate teaching assistant, and taught English at the same university.
Monica’s husband, David, was a lineman for the local electric cooperative. They spent time with his two sons and their daughter was in public school. Life in Huntley, Montana was settled and good.
In 1995, Monica and her family made a decision that changed everything. Internet in Montana was young. There was no local access to the Internet for a Montanan anywhere in the state.
Monica, her brothers and a couple of friends decided to start one of Montana’s first internet service providers. The groups’ families put their hard work and sweat behind the dream and they built a company in an industry no one was certain would succeed.
The company they created, Montana Communications Network, became a statewide success. Monica worked as general manager, helping grow the business into the dominant internet service provider for the state.
Listening to your Voice
Monica entered politics the way a lot of people do: She was active in her community and got fired up when the community was invaded overnight by an industrial coal load out. There was no heads up or discussion with the people who lived there and they thought it belonged somewhere else. Monica worked tirelessly over a number of years with other community members and they were eventually successful in getting it moved to another location.
That experience opened the idea to Monica that ordinary Montanans can – and should — have a voice in their government. So, when she got a call from the former state legislator in her community asking her to run for the legislature – she said yes.
Monica ran for the Montana Legislature, eventually winning a seat in a conservative district stretching from Huntley to Miles City in Southeast Montana. She held the seat for four terms and Monica became a leader in the Montana House of Representatives, pushing for investment in Main Street businesses and Montana workers.
Working for Your Rights
In 2008, Monica took her energy to a new arena: Montana State Auditor. Montana’s auditor regulates two of the state’s largest industries: insurance and securities. Monica wanted to make sure that the rights of individual Montanans were not drowned out by the money and influence of the enormous global companies operating in the world of insurance and finance. She also wanted to ensure that such vital industries have a vibrant and efficient market in Montana to benefit the entire economy.
Since Monica was sworn in as auditor in 2009, she has helped recover more than $36 million for Montana insurance customers who had their medical bills wrongfully denied or inaccurately settled by their insurance company.
She has ordered financial criminals who have victimized Montana investors to pay more than $385 million in restitution.
In 2016, insurance commissioners across the country elected Monica as the President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Monica was thrilled that Montana had a voice at the national and international table during this critical year.
Let your Voice be Heard
Monica is still fired up and her passion is still the same: Ensure that the voices of ordinary Montanans are heard. This time, Monica is taking her leadership to the voting booth where the rights of Montanans are heard and decided.
Monica has a proven track record of ensuring that money and influence do not step on the rights of Montanans. She knows that the real work of Montana isn’t about scoring a political win, but about building longterm solutions to real problems. She understands the problems facing Montana’s family businesses. And she knows the importance of maintaining Montana’s outdoor heritage as a member of the Montana Land Board.
Success won’t be easy. But Monica has proven she isn’t afraid of hard work and knows how to get the job done.