HELENA — A Republican state senator from Helena is stepping down, ahead of the 2023 legislative session.
Sen. Terry Gauthier contacted the Montana Secretary of State’s office Monday morning, announcing he would resign his seat, effective immediately.
“I have conflicting plans that do not allow me to attend the entire session and best to give the seat up to someone that can give it the attention needed,” he said in his message. “It was an honor to serve for three sessions and the legislative staff was wonderful to work with.”
Gauthier, a business owner who recently retired from operating Helena’s McDonald’s restaurants, was first elected in 2016 to represent Senate District 40. He was reelected in 2020.
District 40 covers Helena’s west side, the north Helena Valley, Unionville, Rimini and Lincoln in Lewis and Clark County, as well as all of northern Powell County, including Elliston, Avon, Helmville and Ovando.
Under state law, the Lewis and Clark and Powell County Republican central committees must propose three candidates to fill Gauthier’s seat. The county commissions for those two counties will then make an appointment from those candidates. The commissioners’ votes will be weighted based on the number of votes cast in each county, so Lewis and Clark County commissioners will have approximately 90% of the voting power.
Darin Gaub, chair of the Lewis and Clark County Republican Central Committee, told MTN they would push to have the party’s side of the replacement process finished in two weeks.
The 2023 legislative session is set to begin Jan. 2.