Friends of the Montana Constitution


Friends of the Montana Constitution logo

Friends of the Montana Constitution is a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit that celebrates and supports the Montana Constitution and the people, processes and places that helped to create it fifty years ago in 1972.

Montana's State Constitution 50th Anniversary

The purposes of Friends of the Montana Constitution shall include but not be limited to promoting and enhancing the public’s understanding and appreciation of the 1972 Montana Constitution; advancing civics education at all levels about the 1972 Montana Constitution; and recognizing and celebrating the 1972 Constitutional Convention and its delegates.

Butte’s Pat Harrington, spouse of Con Con Delegate Dan Harrington, passes away

Pat Harrington

June 11, 1942 – March 6, 2024

Pat HarringtonPat Harrington passed away surrounded by her family at her beloved home of 54 years on Excelsior Street on March 6, 2024. Born on June 11, 1942, in Kalispell to Bill and Pete Gallagher, the second of four girls, Pat spent her first four years living at the Flathead Mine where her father worked as an assayer. The family then moved to Butte and eventually settled on Lewisohn Street – where the Gallagher Girls made their mark. Pat attended the Immaculate Conception grade school (Go IC Indians!!!) and graduated from Girls Central High School in 1960.

Shortly after high school, while working on the John F. Kennedy campaign, she met her future husband of 52 years, Dan W. Harrington, who passed away in 2015. They met while stuck in the elevator at the Finlen Hotel. From that day forward they began a life full of love, laughs, politics, family and friends. She was very involved in the Young Democrats and worked alongside Dan on many campaigns over the years.  Dan was a long-time Democratic legislator from Butte but before that was a Delegate to the 1972 Montana Constitutional Convention.

Dan HarringtonPat and Dan’s life was enhanced greatly with the birth of their three children Kathleen, Dan and Kevin. They spent the next couple decades raising kids, attending sporting events and living life to the fullest. Nothing meant more to them than when the grandkids came along. They were the light of their lives. Pat and Dan had their basketball team and their princess with Bryce, Tyler, Daniel, Henry, Megan and Ryan. The grandkids filled her life with absolute joy and once again they were attending basketball, football, baseball games and dance recitals. Family get togethers were chaotic but priceless. Pat enjoyed several special trips with her kids and grandkids with trips to Disney, Hawaii, Notre Dame football games and the beloved family camping trips. She was an avid Grizzly fan and spent many Saturdays with the entire family cheering on the Griz.

Her best friends since the beginning of time were her sisters – Mitts, Boo and Nicey. They had a lifetime of adventures. They were always up to something whether it was legal or not. Pat even had a warrant for her arrest after all three of the sisters got a ticket for 4-wheeling where they shouldn’t have been and she refused to pay hers. They were well known for their “Sisters Dance” that occurred at every family event –joined by Connie, Shovie and Bobbi as honorary sisters.

One thing about Pat is she always looked like a million bucks. Whether she was working, camping, or 4-wheeling, she was always styling. Mitz remarked “she was one classy lady and always looked like she came out of a band box”.

Pat had many special friends and prior to Covid had a very busy social schedule with weekly dates with the “Breakfast Gang”, dinners with the “Lady Bugs” Cathy and Gayle, and special times with best work buddies JoAnn, Bev and Maria. She was always ready for an adventure. She loved the outdoors and spent as much time as possible 4-wheeling with her sisters, camping, road trips in the Mustang and boating at the lake. Spontaneous road trips with the gang occurred regularly. Everything turned into an adventure – sometimes much to her children’s dismay. She kept a tent and sleeping bag in her trunk just in case someone wanted to go camping. Her favorite saying was “lets hit the Mickey road”. She had adventures to last a lifetime and made so many great memories for so many people. One of the best memories for family and friends was her annual 3rd of July party. It wasn’t for the faint at heart and you took your life in your own hands if you dared to stand on the corner of Excelsior and Zarelda.

She spent over thirty years working as a manager in the catering industry at various locations in town. Her reputation proceeded her, and her work ethic was unmatched. She had a special gift of making every event extra special whether it was wedding, shower, after funeral, Christmas party or “just because” parties. She excelled at parties to plan parties. She gave 110 percent to every client she ever worked with and people from all over sought her advice and expertise. She was an excellent manager and many of the “kids” she worked with have mentioned over the years what a difference she made in their lives. She loved them like her own.

She was preceded in death by her parents: William and Pete Gallagher; her husband, Daniel Harrington; sister, Janice Bettini; her in-laws: Dennis and Nora Harrington; nephew, Marty Daily and niece, Becky Sprunger.

She is survived by her children: Kathleen (Charles) Coleman, Dan (Shannon) Harrington, Kevin (Tricia) Harrington; grandchildren: Megan and Ryan Coleman, Daniel and Henry Harrington, and Bryce and Tyler Harrington; sisters: Mitzi (Jim) Daily, and Billie (Dan) Shovlin; nieces and nephews: Bill (Mary Ellen) Daily, Bob (Leighanne) Daily, Beth (Greg) Shaw, Jamee (Matt) Mazuryk, Heather (Mike) Matteson, Sam (Ann) Luoma, Kate (Robbie) Farnes, Jim Sprunger, Terri Daily, Chris and Kim Bettini and numerous great and great, great nieces and nephews.

She did it her way…

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to the Butte Emergency Food Bank, 1019 E. 2nd Street, Butte, MT, 406 782 3814, or charitable donations of your choice.

Please visit to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Pat.

UM To Recognize Montana Constitutional Delegate With Honorary Degree

(UM News Service) The University of Montana will recognize Constitutional Convention Delegate Mae Nan Ellingson with an honorary doctorate – the highest individual award recognized by the institution.

Ellingson, a two-time UM graduate, was the youngest delegate to the 1972 Constitutional Convention and one of 19 women out of 100 delegates to serve.


Convention Delegate Mae Nan Ellingson

Rally at the Rotunda for the Montana Constitution

Rally at the Capitol

Some of the principles in “Friends of the Montana Constitution” gather at the overflow Rotunda Rally for the Montana Constitution on February 1 … (l to r) Evan Barrett, Vice Chair of “Friends”; former Governor Marc Racicot, an Honorary Co-Chair of “Friends”; and Dorothy Bradley, Board Member of “Friends”. Slightly hidden behind Dorothy is Jerry Loendorf, 1972 Constitutional Convention Delegate from Helena (one of only 9 remaining Delegates). The rally, prime sponsor was Northern Plains Resource Council, is one of many events unfolding across Montana as citizens stand up for the Constitution.

Latest polling data

Polling data

Above is some highlighted information about a public poll that includes a number of questions about the Montana Constitution …  the polling memo can be found at

Some highlights: “…the poll also examined Montanans’ opinions on a number of other top issues being debated by the 2023 Legislature, including proposed amendments to the state constitution, abortion rights, and elections in Montana.

Sixty-three percent of respondents oppose amending Montana’s constitution, and when asked about specific amendments that have been proposed, even greater numbers express disagreement: 

  • 75 percent oppose changes to the constitutional right to privacy that would restrict abortion access. 
  • 66 percent oppose revising the right to a clean and healthful environment to make it easier for private corporations to develop and profit from the state’s natural resources.
  • 92 percent oppose an amendment that would allow the Governor to appoint justices to the Supreme Court, rather than directly elected by the people.”

The poll was conducted for Middle Fork Strategies by Searchlight Research from Feb. 7-16 and had 600 participants statewide, representative of the state’s population. Responses were captured by live telephone survey to both landline and cell numbers.

The above meme is the first of a number of memes that highlight the findings of the poll as it relates to our 1972 Constitution.

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Words from our Honorary Co-Chairs and our Chair

In 1972, one hundred citizens-delegates gathered together as Montanans, not partisans, to craft Montana’s foundational document, hailed by many across America as the nation’s best state Constitution. At its 50th Anniversary, the eyes of all Montanans can be opened even more to this wonderful document and hopefully they can enjoy for years to come its strong, people-oriented provisions that serve us all well.

(Governor Schwinden’s health issues prevented him from commenting directly when this website was first posted. The above is a quote from his previously published comments from June, 2022.  Sadly, Ted passed away on October 7, 2023 in Phoenix at the age of 98.  We miss his presence and support, but are honored by his long commitment to our Montana Constitution)

Ted Schwinden (Honorary Co-Chair posthumous)

MT Governor, 1981-1989

The more Montanans know about the origin and history of their rights and protections provided for and guaranteed by the Montana Constitution, the more they will trust their government and each other. Friends of the Montana Constitution will greatly advance the opportunities for all of us as Montanans to continue to preserve the liberty and way of life we share.

Marc Racicot

MT Governor 1993-2001

Unlike the 1889 Constitution, which was written for the powerful interests by the powerful interests, Montana’s 1972 Constitution empowered the people, providing a modern open government and unmatched rights to the people, including a strong right to privacy.  It is easy to be a Friend of the Montana Constitution because the Constitution has been a friend to us for 50 years.

Brian Schweitzer

MT Governor 2005-2013

Friends of the Montana Constitution is a way that all Montanans can join in supporting, recognizing and respecting our state Constitution.  As Attorney General and Governor, I learned first-hand what an amazing document came out of the Constitutional Convention over 50 years ago.  It is a document that makes sure the government is held in check and is accountable to the people.  We owe it to ourselves to join in the ‘Friends’ effort. 

Steve Bullock

MT Governor 2013-2021

When, as a young attorney, I worked at the 1972 Constitutional Convention, I was amazed and inspired by the way 100 Montana citizen/delegates worked together, without partisanship, to craft a remarkable Constitution that brought Montana out from 83 years under the “copper collar” into a citizen-oriented state.  Through Friends of the Montana Constitution, we all can honor them and their efforts.

Max Baucus

US Senate 1979-2014, Ambassador to China 2014-2017

Montana’s 1972 Constitution is not a Republican or a Democratic document – it is a “We The People “ document – that means all of us.  The values expressed in the Preamble – quality of life, equality of opportunity and liberty – are timeless, Montana values.  I encourage all Montanans to learn more about their Constitution and their ability to participate in their government at all levels.  That is the purpose of Friends of the Montana Constitution.

Mae Nan Ellingson

1972 Constitutional Convention Delegate & Chair of Friends of the Constitution

MT Constitutional Convention Floor


Constitution of the State of Montana

Adopted June 6, 1972


We the people of Montana grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains, and desiring to improve the quality of life, equality of opportunity and to secure the blessings of liberty for this and future generations do ordain and establish this constitution.

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