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State Profile

People’s Rights – Montana


People’s Rights Montana has 23 area assistants listed for 5 areas. Though not listed as an official statewide leader, Nick Ramlow announced he was the “administrator of the People’s Rights movement for the State of Montana.”[1] The group has 701 members statewide. Montana District 1 People’s Rights also has a Facebook group with 439 members.[2]

In April Nick Ramlow began holding “People’s Meetings” and worked to get local owners to open their businesses in defiance of the governor’s directives.[3] Nick Ramlow would describe that he and Ammon Bundy hoped to establish an “Uber-like” militia response system.[4]

Around this time, Ramlow announced he was pursuing criminal complaints and arrest warrants for the governor and Kalispell mayor in connection to COVID-19 related measures.[5] Ramlow drafted a “Petition for Redress of Grievances” against Governor Steve Bullock.[6] He would file the grievance in Montana District Court and served copies to most government agencies in Flathead County.[7]

In July the group held a meeting related to COVID-19 restrictions in Havre.[8] Also July 2020, Nicke Ramlow helped organize the “Rage Against the State” event featuring, among others, Roger Roots and Ryan Payne, who directed the militia forces supporting the Bundy’s during their standoffs in Nevada and Oregon.

People’s Rights in Montana have also forged relationships with militia groups. A leader of the Yellowstone Militia of Billings lists himself as part of the “Physical Defense Committee” of People’s Rights.[9] District One members in Montana discussed working closely with the United States Freedom Protectors, a national militia group developing local chapters across Montana.[10]

Multiple People’s Right activists have run for political office in Montana. Other People’s Rights leaders have run to become the government. Montana leader, Nick Ramlow, is running as a Libertarian for the Montana House.[11] Debbie Westlake, a Montana area 5 assistant, is a Republican candidate in a Montana legislative race.[12] Mark French, a Montana area 4 assistant, lost a Montana state legislative primary earlier this year but is still running as a write-in candidate.[13]

State Leaders


Area Assistants



Five (Map)






Facebook Members

Notable Montana Figures

Area Leaders

Below are the People’s Right’s Montana area leaders. Click on any of the photos below for more detailed individual profile information, including the leader’s location, other far-right groups to which they belong, and notable Facebook likes.

Montana - Area 1

Bob Ingram

Montana - Area 1

Jerry W. Taylor Jr

Location: Havre, Montana

Jerry Taylor has a degree in naturopathic medicine and is an outspoken anti-vaxxer. He has led the monthly meetings in Havre, Montana, for the People’s Rights District One group. At these meetings, he’s discussed his belief that Montana officials are engaging in tyranny by issuing public health measures to slow the spread of COVID.

Photo from Havre Daily News

Montana - Area 2

Jodi Schreiber * ReOpener

Location: Billings, Montana

Jodi Schreiber has offered to host organizing meetings for the United States Freedom Protectors, a militia group in Montana.

Notable Facebook Group Membership: Region 11 United States Freedom Protectors, Reopen Montana, Reopen Minnesota

Montana - Area 2

Lisa Hjelmstad * Anti-Mask, Militia

Location: Billings, Montana

Lisa Hjelmstad serves as the Region Commanding Officer of Montana for the Region 11 United States Freedom Protectors, a militia group in Montana. In that role, she has held organizing meetings for the group across the state.

Notable Facebook Group Membership: Region 11 United States Freedom Protectors, Liberate Montana, No mask/muzzles we have a Voice!, American Patriots.

Facebook Likes: Ron Paul, Area 2 People’s Rights (Idaho), People’s Rights, KrisAnne Hall, Bundy News and Freedom Watchers, Bundy Ranch, Ammon Bundy, Yellowstone Militia of Billings, Redoubt News-Montana, Liberty Fellowship (Chuck Baldwin), Redoubt News, Montanans for Vaccine Choice, Montana Militia, III%ers.

Montana - Area 2

Tim Westervelt * Militia

Location: Billings, Montana

Tim Westervelt is the founder of the Yellowstone Militia of Billings. He and other members of his militia attended a reopen rally in Helena, Montana, where they were photographed with Republican gubernatorial candidate Al Olszewski. Westervelt and the Yellowstone Militia showed up armed and uninvited to a Black Lives Matter protest in Billings, claiming they were there to protect the community from Antifa. His militia was one of many that used the Antifa Fantasy as a reason for turning out in their tactical gear at community events. Westervelt’s Facebook bio lists him as part of the People’s Rights “Physical Defense Committee.” One of his tactics to recruit new members for the Yellowstone Militia is casting about in militia Facebook groups, especially in Three Percent militia circles.

Facebook Likes: Sons of Liberty Idaho Chapter, Sons of Liberty, Pennsylvania Punishers III%, United States of Militia, III Percent Society for America, Gallatin Unmasked, Threeper USA, The United Citizens Militia, Redoubt News-Montana, Redoubt News, Montana Militia, III%ers.

Notable Group Memberships: Liberate Montana, No mask/muzzles we have a Voice! American Patriots.

Montana - Area 3

Lucas Lee * Militia

Location: Livingston, Montana

On Facebook, Lucas Lee has supported the common militia conspiracy theory that a shadowy New World Order will use FEMA to impose Martial Law in America. Lee claimed he had evidence that there were “PRISONER BOXCARS PREPOSITIONED EVERYWHERE THROUGHOUT MONTANA” in preparation for the rounding up of citizens to be placed in “MILITARY DETENTION CAMPS.” Overall, he claimed there were “600 prison camps” in the country that could each hold 20,000 prisoners. He wrote he was proud to be among the “WARRIOR CLASS” of the “NWO Resistance” comprised of “CHRISTIANS AND PATRIOTS” that will “stand against NWO despotism and the Satanic darkness behind it all.”

Notable Group Memberships: U.S. Militia Northern Command - America's Militia.

Montana - Area 3

Tami McDonald * ReOpener

Location: Gardiner, Montana

Tami McDonald has been an active member of the Montana Liberty Coalition Facebook group, which has helped plan and turn people out to rallies all over the state to protest public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID. She proudly told group members that she did not shut her business down during the time Montana’s shelter-in-place order was in effect. If a similar order was issued in the future, she recommended other businesses follow her lead. She’s complained that local health departments are supposed to be helpful to the public, “NOT make unruly threats” and promote “paranoia” about the pandemic.

Notable Facebook Group Membership: Montana Liberty Coalition
Notable Group Memberships: Reopen USA.

Montana - Area 3

Tyler Vance * ReOpener, Militia

Location: Bozeman, Montana.

In mid-May 2020, Tyler Vance got arrested while trying to drive through Yellowstone National Park while Montana was under a shelter-in-place order. Park Rangers and a sheriff’s deputy arrested Vance and charged him with a misdemeanor. During his arrest, Vance pleaded with the deputy to not enforce “unconstitutional laws.” Vance documented his trip, which he characterized as taking a stand against tyranny, on Facebook. He frequently invoked sovereign citizen ideology about the supposed “right to travel.” In one post, he stated, “Our rights to travel freely shall not be infringed.” In late May, Vance announced that the charges against him had been dropped.

Vance’s opposition to public health measures also included launching an online petition against wearing masks, which used sovereign citizen language. It stated that such orders “violate our sovereign rights as free individuals.” It further read that “lockdowns” during the pandemic “threatened and infringed” on people’s freedom and removed “their rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” In conclusion, he asked that people make it clear that they “WILL NOT” comply with mask orders. His petition went online around the time militia and reopen activists were planning to disrupt a meeting of the Gallatin County Health Department, which was considering a mask measure.

Key Facebook Likes: Bundy Ranch, People’s Rights Washington, Ron Paul, Montanans for Vaccine Choice.

Notable Facebook Group Memberships: Reopen Montana, Montana Militia.

Montana - Area 4

Alan Lackey

Location: Stevensville, Montana

Alan Lackey started “Stand Together for Freedom,” a group in Ravalli County that opposes wearing masks to slow the spread of COVID. Lackey said his group doesn’t consider the pandemic an emergency and believes public health agencies are acting outside their authority. He claimed health officials are engaging in “tyranny” and only want “to control other people.” On a militia podcast, Lackey bragged Stand Together put so much pressure on the county health department that its public health officer resigned. Group members have forced the cancelation of local government meetings, because they show up, refuse to wear masks, and won’t follow social distancing requirements. Lackey hopes a “courage virus” will inspire people to stand up to the government.

On a militia podcast, Lackey expressed his belief in sheriff supremacy, saying it’s important to have a “constitutional sheriff.” This is a popular belief of the anti-government “patriot” movement. Pioneered by the white nationalist Posse Comitatus in the 1960s, sheriff supremacy holds that the sheriff is the highest legitimate law officer in the land, and citizens aren’t subject to state or federal authorities. Militia and other “patriots” following the doctrine believe it’s up to the sheriff to use force, if necessary, to prevent government entities from enforcing any laws or regulations viewed as encroaching on individual rights.

Montana - Area 4

David Rowell * ReOpener

Location: Garrison, Montana

After a history of Tea Party and Religious Right activism, David Rowell found a new role during the pandemic. He was central to the Constitutional Law Group’s effort to get a tort claim filed against Montana Governor Steve Bullock. The Constitutional Law Group filed similar tort claims in over 40 states, and Rowell worked to get people to add their names to the Montana complaint. In July 2020, Rowell and his associates filed the tort claim in U.S. District Court, claiming that Bullock’s directives had caused the state’s economy to crash. The militia-based Redoubt News stated the tort would make the federal court determine the constitutionality of the governors’ directives.

Rowell has also been active in other activities opposing public health measures. He worked with local businesses in Deer Lodge, Montana, that was planning to open despite the governor’s directives to the contrary. Rowell claimed this would be an act of “civil disobedience” and an expression of “God-given rights.” He proudly noted on social media that the local organizing in which he engaged contributed to the resignation of the local health department’s leader.

Facebook Group Membership: Montana Liberty Coalition, Reopen Montana.
Facebook Likes: Montana Family Foundation, National Pro-Life Alliance, Big Sky Tea Party.
Notable Group Memberships:

Montana - Area 4

Douglas I. Shaw

Location: Lincoln County, Montana

Facebook Likes: American Lands Council

Montana - Area 4

Jodean Leck

Montana - Area 4

Justin Wayne Ryan

Location: Plains, Montana

Justin Ryan has a direct connection to the Bundy Family and their armed standoffs. He’s the older brother of Jake Ryan, who served time in federal prison for his role in the Bundy’s 2016 standoff at Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The Ryan Family also helped bring the Bundy Family to Montana. In early 2018, the Ryans helped organize a public event in Paradise, Montana, featuring the Bundys to show support for Jake Ryan, who was awaiting sentencing. His brother’s prison sentence clearly hasn’t soured Justin Ryan on Ammon Bundy, as his Facebook features many Bundy videos. He unsuccessfully ran for Sanders County Sheriff in 2018. During his campaign, he complained that the “Justice system and moral fabric of society is broken.” If elected, he promised he would fight to protect people’s “Unalienable rights.” He also stated, “We need to return to constitutional law and biblical law.” In May 2020, Justin thanked his brother Jake for putting together a dance even though such gatherings were still restricted due to the pandemic. Justin said the dance was a “way of saying screw this virus tyranny.”

Facebook Likes: People’s Rights, Bundy News and Freedom Watchers

Montana - Area 4

Mark French

Location: Paradise, Montana

See Montana State Leaders profile section for more.

Montana - Area 4

Roxanne Wagner

Location: Corvallis, Montana

Montana - Area 5

Debbie Westlake * ReOpener, Militia

Location: Helena, Montana

Debbie Westlake has taken part in rallies against public health measures to slow the spread of COVID. In April 2020, she attended the “Montana Liberty Rally” outside the Helena Capitol. She live streamed videos and posted photos from the event to the Montana Liberty Coalition Facebook group. The Yellowstone Militia of Billings attended the rally, and its founder also holds a leadership position in the Montana People’s Rights structure. In late July 2020, Westlake attended the “Montana Liberty Rally Unmasked,” which was held to protest Governor Bullock’s directive that masks must be worn in certain situations. While the rally began at the Capitol, some attendees marched over to and protested in front of the governor’s personal residence. Westlake live streamed video from the event, including from the demonstration in front of the governor’s home. She has also been in a battle with Child Protective Services (CPS) over her son after a court terminated her parental rights. She’s sought out militia-based media to rage against CPS, including Northwest Liberty News and Redoubt News.

Facebook Group Memberships: Region 11 United States Freedom Protectors, Montana Liberty Coalition, Reopen Montana, Montana Militia, U.S. Militia Northern Command - America's Militia.

Facebook Likes: LaVoy Finicum’s Stand for Freedom, People’s Rights Montana, Montana Family Foundation, People’s Rights Washington, Bundy Ranch, Cliven Bundy, Bundy News and Freedom Watchers, LaVoy Finicum, Schaeffer Cox, Redoubt News-Montana, Montanans for Vaccine Choice, Northwest Liberty News.

Montana - Area

Ed Kugler

Location: Big Arm, Montana

Ed Kugler is president of Last Chance Patriots, a group that originally formed as Flathead ACT for America and was a chapter of the largest anti-Muslim group in the country, ACT for America. Starting in late 2017, Flathead ACT morphed into Last Chance Patriots, which allowed the group to expand its focus to other issues. While keeping its anti-Muslim and anti-refugee interest, Last Chance Patriots also frequently promotes right-wing political figures, anti-Indigenous issues, and various anti-government notions. Categorized as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Last Chance Patriots helped sponsor a conference in 2018 featuring Ammon Bundy and Washington Rep. Matt Shea, among others.

Kugler generally contributes a monthly column to the group’s newsletter. They generally focus on bashing immigrants, warning about imminent invasion by Muslim terrorists, regurgitating one-world government conspiracy theories, and fearmongering about tribal sovereignty. The following provides an example of the kind of general beliefs expressed:

“We allow immigration, both legal and illegal, to dilute the values that made our nation strong. We are inundating our country with people, many through no fault of their own, have no idea how to live or contribute to a peaceful and productive society...We have a culture where we are not to discriminate against anyone or anything, except white people and white males in particular.”

Kugler has also downplayed the dangers of COVID. In one column, he said pandemics have been discussed as a way to “usher in a world government” and are used as a “Marxist tactic.” He characterized the pandemic as part of “the coup against our President [being] ratcheted up a notch.”

Facebook Likes: Montana Unmasked, Redoubt News-Montana, FAIR, Northwest Liberty News, Brigitte Gabriel, American Lands Council, Bundy Ranch, Tea Party Patriots, ACT for America.

Montana - Area 5

Evan Gardner * ReOpener, Militia

Location: Kalispell, Montana
Evan Gardner has been active in the Montana Libertarian Party. In 2017, he ran unsuccessfully for the party’s nomination for a special election to fill an open seat in the U.S. House.

Facebook Likes: Bundy News and Freedom Watchers, Gun Owners of America, Ron Paul

Montana - Area 5

Jolene Groves * ReOpener

Location: Kalispell, Montana

In May 2020, she posted pleas from Nick Ramlow (a Montana leader for People’s Rights) to local business owners encouraging them to open, despite Montana being under a shelter-in-place directive to slow the spread of COVID. She’s posted in the People’s Rights Montana Facebook group about various opportunities to show up and protest in the Flathead Valley against public health measures instituted during the pandemic, including coordinating with militia Pastor Chuck Baldwin’s Liberty Fellowship. She’s also recruited on Facebook for people to join Ammon Bundy’s national People’s Rights group.

Facebook Group Membership: Montana Liberty Coalition
Notable Group Memberships: GridLock Montana.

Montana - Area 5

Sam Marshall

Sam Marshall was active with the Constitution Party of Montana in the early 2000s. The party combines Christian fundamentalism with many themes of the anti-government “patriot” movement.

Montana - Area 5

Tammy J McCartney

Location: East Helena, Montana

While acknowledging that COVID is real, Tammy McCartney has said the pandemic is really “a tool the Dems are using to ruin our economy and make it so we are more dependent on the Government.” She’s directed most of her anger at Montana schools for switching to remote learning when the COVID pandemic hit Montana. On social media, she discussed plans to file a grievance against the East Helena School District, saying “the schools should not have closed in the first place” or “at the very least re-opened at the end of the two week ‘flattening the curve’ shut down.” By the end of May 2020, McCartney said she was putting together a petition that people could sign asking schools to open in the fall with no changes due to the pandemic. She said modifying school attendance or instruction wasn’t “necessary no matter what phase [of Montana’s reopening plan] we are in.”

Facebook Group Membership: Montana Liberty Coalition

Montana - Area 5

Tresa DeLaughder

Location: Marion, Montana

Tresa DeLaughder is an anti-vaxxer and avid supporter of Dr. Annie Bukacek, a member of the Flathead County Board of Health who has opposed efforts meant to slow the spread of COVID. Calling herself a “sovereign citizen,” Bukacek characterizes such public health directives as steps toward “martial law.” Bukacek has worked extensively with Nick Ramlow (People’s Rights Montana leader) to hold meetings and rallies in defiance of public health orders. DeLaughder publicly backs Bukacek serving on the health board, and Bukacek encourages DeLaughder to share material about supposed government tyranny during the pandemic to Bukacek’s Facebook page.

DeLaughder has promoted the Bukacek/Ramlow meetings, and she has encouraged local militia leaders to attend. She’s circulated information from Ramlow about his efforts to get businesses to open despite Montana being under a shelter-in-place directive at the time. This included DeLaughder:

• Promoting stickers Ramlow had for businesses to put in their windows that would lead to Ramlow calling out his militia if a public official tried to enforce one of the governor’s COVID-related directives.
• Posting videos of Ramlow discussing the grievance he would eventually file in Montana District Court declaring that Governor Bullock’s public health orders were “null and void and shall not for any reason be treated as legitimate lawmaking.”
• Promoting Ramlow’s campaign as a Libertarian for the Montana House of Representatives.

She’s posted information about how to join Ammon Bundy’s People’s Rights. She also shared information about how people could join a criminal complaint by Montana People’s Rights against Governor Bullock for his directive requiring the wearing of masks.

In a post raging against the wearing of masks, DeLaughder compared public health measures regarding COVID to the Holocaust and complained that America had “transformed into an obedient socialist country” during the pandemic. The post ended with the statement, “I am not about to go with the flow of devious government.”

Facebook Group Membership: Montana Liberty Coalition
Facebook Likes: People’s Rights Montana, People’s Rights.

Montana - Area 5

Ty Heaton * Qanon

Ty Heaton is a follower of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which is based on fears of a supposed Satanic cabal of prominent liberals trying to destroy the country and engaging in child sex trafficking. Believers have decided that President Trump is the only person who can defeat these enemies of America. Many details of QAnon regurgitate longtime anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The FBI views QAnon as a domestic terrorist threat.

Heaton claims to have spent a decade studying conspiracy theories, which he calls “underground information.” He mentioned that QAnon was something many people still didn’t understand, and he offered his services to anyone who wants to get a “better grasp” of it. Heaton wrote a long Facebook post about “Pizzagate,” a QAnon-espoused conspiracy that a pedophile ring was being run out of the basement of a Washington D.C. pizzeria. For him, Pizzagate was real, and he complained most people won’t believe it, because they don’t want to believe it could happen. Additionally, Heaton attaches QAnon hashtags and references to some of the articles he posts on social media.

State Area Map

The map below depicts the People’s Rights state areas. Scrolling over an area on the map will show the number of People’s Rights members in that area.

State Activities

Area 1 - Meeting
Havre, Montana
Area 1 - Meeting
Havre, Montana
Area 1 - Meeting
Havre, Montana


[1] Facebook, Nick Ramlow, April 30, 2020.

[2] Montana District 1 People’s Rights. Facebook. Accessed October 7, 2020.

[3] Ramlow’s first “People’s Meeting” was held on April 11, 2020. Facebook, Nick Ramlow, April 10, 2020.

[4] Northwest Liberty News. “EIV Radio Episode 128 – Nick Ramlow – Candidate, Montana HD 7.” June 22, 2020.

[5] Facebook, Nick Ramlow, April 20, 2020.

[6] Facebook, Nick Ramlow, April 27, 2020.

[7] Facebook, Nick Ramlow, April 30, 2020.

[8] Jamieson, Racheal. Official’s respond to claims by People’s Rights group. Havre Daily News. August 6, 2020.

[9] Facebook, Tim Westervelt.

[10] Facebook, Montana District One People’s Rights, Aug. 31, 2020; Sept. 6, 2020.

[11] Ballotpedia. “Nicholas Ramlow.” Ballotpedia Website. Accessed October 1, 2020.

[12] Ballotpedia. “Debbie Westlake.” Ballotpedia Website. Accessed October 1, 2020.

[13] Ballotpedia. “Mark French.” Ballotpedia Website. Accessed October 1, 2020.

Ammon's Army

Inside the Far-Right People's Rights Network

A Special Report of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and the Montana Human Rights Network

Copyright © 2020. Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights.