KALISPELL, Mont. — During a legislative hearing in 2011 that was a prelude to Montana’s debates on abortion, State Representative Keith Regier displayed an image of a cow and made the argument that cattle were more valuable when pregnant….
The comparison drew a prompt rebuke from some women in the room, but Mr. Regier, a Republican, declined to apologize. Over the years, the former schoolteacher and sod farmer has seldom demurred from his growing brand of combative Christian-oriented politics, in which the Ten Commandments are the foundation of good law…
The Regier family hails from the Flathead Valley of northwest Montana, a majestic region of glaciers and fir forests around Kalispell that has become a destination for conservatives looking to flee urban life and liberal politics in other states. Militia groups and far-right religious leaders have also found a home in the valley, some of them drawn to the notion of establishing what is often called a “redoubt” in the American Northwest.
In an interview, he said he assessed all legislation through two lenses: whether the proposed laws were biblical and whether they were good for the average Montanan.
“This country was founded on Judeo-Christian values,” he said. “Just read the Declaration of Independence. It’s very obvious.”