Carter Atkinson

Republican Carter Atkinson is running for Gallatin County Commission.

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A lone Republican has joined the race for Gallatin County Commission, hoping to fill the seat held by commissioner Don Seifert, a Republican, who is not seeking reelection.

Carter Atkinson filed for office on Monday. He will face state Rep. Zach Brown, a Bozeman Democrat, in the November election. Neither has a contested primary.

“I’m not a politician,” Atkinson said. “I’m just a regular guy who has been following local issues, and I feel I can offer some services to the county.”

Atkinson, 56, works for Global Travel Alliance, a business that takes students on trips to cities like New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., to learn about American history. He occasionally works as a substitute teacher in the Bozeman School District.

Atkinson, his wife and their daughter have lived in Bozeman for seven years. They previously lived in California.

“After seven years of being here, I have a good pulse on the place,” he said.

Atkinson said he would focus on managing development in the rapidly growing area between Bozeman, Belgrade and Four Corners — known as the triangle area. The county commissioners have worked to address the area through the Triangle Plan, a document that outlines ways to coordinate growth in the region.

Atkinson said he’d also support the Gallatin Rest Home, which has struggled financially in recent years in part because Medicaid doesn’t reimburse for the full cost of care. He wouldn’t advocate for a mill levy for the facility, which commissioners have discussed, but would work to fund it through the county’s existing budget.

He wants to help the county find a way to replace the Law and Justice Center, which voters have turned down twice. He said he “doesn’t have a silver bullet” for the building but would brainstorm fixes.

Atkinson plans to vote for the tax hikes for the 911 Dispatch Center and Gallatin County Search and Rescue, which will be on the June ballot, because the two departments benefit everyone and public safety is important, he said.

Atkinson lives in south Bozeman where this fall, the Human Resource Development Council purchased a building to use as overflow for its Warming Center, a seasonal emergency shelter. Atkinson was among those who spoke out against having the overflow site on Westridge Drive near South Third Avenue.

“There are good things that can happen in Bozeman — and a warming center is a good thing — but aren’t right to do,” he said. “A neighborhood near schools is probably not the right place.”

HRDC decided to sell the house because it didn’t meet the nonprofit’s needs. HRDC has found another overflow site to lease.

Gallatin County has three commissioners who serve staggered six-year terms and earn $76,391 annually.

Seifert announced in December that he planned to run for House District 67, which encompasses Belgrade, but ultimately filed for House District 69 in northwestern Gallatin County. His fellow commissioners, Republican Joe Skinner and Democrat Scott MacFarlane, are not up for reelection in 2020.

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Perrin Stein can be reached at or at 582-2648.

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