Who Am I?
I grew up in Billings and Greycliff after arriving to Montana at the age of 3 in July of 1971. Like so many Montana kids, my youth was filled with family, hunting, fishing, baseball, and adventures around MT.
My dad, Dale Vermillion, was a physician at the Billings Clinic and Big Timber’s Pioneer Medical Center. My mom, Margaret Vermillion, was a Spanish teacher at Billings Central and Billings West. They are both now retired at our family “ranch” in Greycliff.
Today, along with my two brothers, I own Sweetwater Travel. We formed our business in 1996 in Livingston and today run one of the biggest fly-fishng lodge businesses in the world. We have had most of our employees for several years, and we have shown that you can run a successful business that also supports its employees, their families, and the publicly owned resources that make it all possible. We provide full retirement benefits to our employees, and, despite the ever escalating cost, we pay all of the health insurance premiums for our employees and their families.
In 1998 I met my wife, Lynn Donaldson. We married in Lewistown in September of 2003 and we now raise three kids under the age of 12. All three kids presently attend the Livingston public schools. Our children keep us busy, but they are the reason I am running for the Montana Senate.
Montana is my home, and Park and Sweet Grass counties are the part of Montana where I have built my life. It is a wonderful place to live, to raise a family, and to operate a business. I look forward to putting this lifetime of Montana experience to work for the people of MT as a Senator in the Montana Senate.
Why Am I Running?
I grew up in Montana, and I will feel forever fortunate that my parents decided to move to Montana in 1971. I was very fortunate to attend to quality public schools, have access to affordable healthcare, ample opportunity to hunt and fish on Montana’s public lands, and a healthy business climate to start a business. I am running to make sure that this generation of Montanans, and those that follow, have even better opportunities than me.
I have served as the Fish and Wildlife Commissioner for Southwestern MT for 12 years. As a Commissioner I built an open dialog with our agricultural producers, our commercial outfitters, and, of course, our sportsmen. I have learned that clear, open communication is the key to creating long-term solutions that are effective. During my time as a commissioner, I have had to make some difficult decisions, but I have always strived to be as responsive as possible to the needs of the people of Southwestern MT.
My commitment to open dialog has earned me the support, as Commissioner (not candidate), from Representative Alan Redfield, Paradise Valley rancher, Druska Kinkie, and the Montana Stockgrowers at my most recent confirmation hearing in 2015. This support was based upon my strong advocacy for a Brucellosis Work plan that minimized the risk of transmission from elk to cattle, a wolf management plan that offers landowners the flexibility to respond to predation, and an elk management plan that has brought most elk populations in southwestern MT closer to objective.
Recent years, have shown that commitment to open, non-partisan, communication is something that is sorely missing from our current political discourse. I sincerely believe that we can solve our state’s problems by working together and focusing on our common values. We may have different solutions, but, by working together, we should be able to forge political partnerships that create a better future for our state. I running for State Senate because I believe I can help forge these partnerships and become an effective advocate for Park and Sweet Grass Counties in Helena.