Democratic state lawmaker and congressional candidate Mark Sweeney has died, according to a statement from his family.
Sweeney, 62, served in the state legislature since 2019, first as a representative and most recently as a senator. He was also one of three Democratic nominees for Montana’s new second congressional district.
According to KTVH, Sweeney died of natural causes at his home in Philipsburg on Friday evening. “Whether he be hunting, fishing, skiing or working on a farm or ranch, we will always treasure the enduring optimism, hope and love Mark brought to all of our lives and the people around him,” his family said in a statement.
Montana State Senate President Mark Blasdel released the following statement: “I am shocked and saddened to hear that Senator Sweeney has passed. He was a dedicated public servant and was respected by Montanans on both sides of the political aisle.”
Sweeney earned his bachelor of science in natural resource management from Western Montana College. For more than 20 years, Sweeney worked as a fisheries expert for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. He also worked as a real estate agent, owned Montana Blue Ribbon Real Estate and a natural resource consulting firm, and served on the Bureau of Land Management Citizens Resource Advisory Council, according to his Ballotpedia profile.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mark Sweeney,” Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Sheila Hogan said in a statement. “Today, we are celebrating the life of a dedicated, selfless and effective public servant who always put the good of all people before himself or politics. Mark was a lifelong advocate for Montana’s working families and all those who called the Last Best Place home. On behalf of the entire Montana Democratic Party family, we send our condolences and wish comfort and peace to his wife, Sue, and the entire Sweeney family. May he rest in peace.”