It’s not every day that a new – and powerful –affiliate joins the Northern Plains affiliate family. Golden Triangle Resource Council (GTRC), a new local organization that will hold membership meetings, build power, run effective campaigns, and develop leaders, will join our twelve existing Northern Plains affiliates! GTRC will include Northern Plains membership in Cascade, Teton, Chouteau, and Pondera counties.

Golden Triangle Resource Council celebrated their launch on April 28 at the Celtic Cowboy in downtown Great Falls. It was a fantastic event with high turnout – people are eager to gather, after several years of weathering a pandemic! Speaker Sheila Rice spoke about community efforts in Great Falls and the importance of being involved, while speaker Bob Quinn offered a rural, agricultural perspective on the region and its future. We’re grateful to all who attended and became members and to the Celtic Cowboy for hosting such a successful evening.

The launch event was the culmination of a year of work. Northern Plains’ leaders began a conversation about our statewide power and the geography of our work last April. That conversation led to a deep organizing assessment in Great Falls and the surrounding area that ran from July through December 2021. We had conversations with over 100 individuals in the community and heard from local people about issues ranging from potholes to climate change to the state of the cattle industry.

After concluding our assessment, a team of dedicated local Northern Plains members picked up the effort from there. This team formed an organizing committee, and was tasked with the challenge of actually building a local group, including developing the group’s mission and vision. We’re so grateful to these folks, and they deserve recognition! The GTRC Organizing Committee was:

Lori Benjamin, Fort Benton
Jill Day, Great Falls
Jim Humphrey, Great Falls
Gerry Jennings, Great Falls
Jasmine Krotkov, Neihart
David Oien, Conrad
Amy Rapp, Great Falls
Jessica Stiles, Great Falls
Ted Stimac, Great Falls
Ken Toole, Cascade
Jennisse Waters, Highwood
Millie Whalen, Great Falls

The Organizing Committee also played a big role in choosing the organization’s first few issues. They considered everything under the sun – from soil health to affordable housing – but ultimately landed on pursuing two campaigns to start. One is a campaign to enable the innovative energy efficiency financing tool, Commercial Property-Assessed Capital Enhancements (C-PACE), in each of the counties the affiliate includes (and help implement C-PACE in counties where it’s already enabled, like Cascade), and the other is to initiate a Solarize campaign in the region.

If you live in Golden Triangle Resource Council’s area and would like to get involved, we’d love your participation! GTRC’s organizer will be Emily Auld, and you can reach her at (406) 248-1154 or emily@northernplains.org.

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