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Democratic caucus boasts diversity

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HELENA- Democrats promised to tackle issues like sexual harrassment and increasing minimum wage.
Republicans vowed to cut taxes and boost the economy, but the diversity of these voices in each group was noticeable.

Of the 80 democratic hopefuls across the state, half of them are women, 13 are Native American, and 14 are under the age of 35.

"Representation matters and having women up here matters. We need to make sure our legislature represents all of Montana and as Democrats we're committed to doing that," said House Minority Leader Jenny Eck.

Right now, more than half of the state Democratic caucus is made up of women and eight legislators are Native American.

"As Democrats we're committed to justice and equality for all Montanans," said state Sen. Jen Gross.

In contrast, less than 13 percent of the GOP's caucus are women and they have one Native American representative. 

"Women might not feel that they are attuned to this or have enough knowledge, but I'm here to tell you, I was one of those women who didn't think I would be able to offer much, but I threw my hat in the ring," said Republican state Rep. Becky Beard.

Representative Eck predicts that a record number of women will run for the Montana Legislature this year. Jan. 11 is the opening day for candidates filing in Montana.

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