To celebrate Mother’s Day 2017, NFWL asked members to share their stories of their mothers and motherhood. Here is Montana State Representative Kim Dudik’s story:
When I was growing up, my parents always told me I could be anything I wanted to be. And I believed them. My mother was a strong role model for me. She showed me that women can do whatever they want and that they should fight for what they think is right. I remember when I was in grade school and my mother was not happy with the contents of our school lunches. She decided to make it her mission to have the school change the menu. So she came to school with me, ate the lunch, talked with the administrators, and eventually ended up running for school board.
When I decided to run for office, I did not let my mother know until after I filed to run. She was surprised and asked how I was going to be able to do that with everything else I had going on (this included having two very young children and a full-time job as an attorney). I reminded her that when I was growing up, she told me I could be anything I wanted to be and I was just following her advice. I also said she was the one who showed me when you are not satisfied with the way things are run, you need to step up and be the person to make the change. If we do not make the changes, who is going to?
I am now in my third term as a Montana State Representative, serving my fifth year. What I do as a legislator is shaped by the world I want my children (and all children) to live in. Most of my work as a legislator is aimed at improving public safety, especially criminal law and child welfare law. All children deserve a safe childhood that allows them to be kids and to grow into the person they want to be. Our laws should ensure they have this opportunity.
Since being elected, I have rounded out my family with two more children. My youngest, Marcutio, is now seven weeks old. He was born during the last part of the 2017 legislative session. He was four weeks early and was born on the day we presented the state budget to the House floor, March 16, 2017. I watched the presentation of the budget while I was in the hospital, even texting in my thoughts to my colleagues (who laughingly noted I was actively participating even though I was in the hospital). As I tell everyone, he just could not wait to hear what the budget was going to look like this time. He wanted to join in the fun. He is definitely a future legislator. I gave birth on Thursday and was back at the Capitol and on the House floor on Monday. I presented three bills to committees that week and one bill on the House floor. Time does not stop for anyone.
We do not live in this world alone and we cannot usually accomplish great feats alone – it takes a team. My team of supportive family and friends enables me to serve in the legislature. I could not do this without them, especially my husband. I am fortunate to have that support. If anyone wants to run for office, they should do it. Figure out who is your team and how you can accomplish your goals. It is definitely worth it.