The Advocate rolled out the first part of its "Forty Under 40" feature article today, and Missoula Rep. Bryce Bennett, the first openly gay man elected to the Montana Legislature, made the list.
No stranger to the front lines, the 26-year-old Democrat previously worked for Forward Montana as a field organizer to pass the state’s first LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance in Missoula last year. “We are told over and over by society that we shouldn’t be proud of who we are and that we shouldn’t rock the boat,” he says. “Being openly gay lets me be out front to make waves.”
The Advocate, which started in 1967, describes itself as America's leading gay news and entertainment magazine. The current cover story highlights young "entrepreneurs, activists, politicians, artists, and athletes [who] are much more than ahead of the curve, they're out, proud, and changing the world."
Bennett was elected last November in a tight District 92 race against Republican Don Harbaugh. Since arriving in Helena, he's been one of the easiest legislators to follow thanks to his prolific use of Twitter. In fact, we learned about his mention in The Advocate through his Twitter feed.
Bennett isn't the first local politician, of course, to make a national magazine's list of under-40 rising stars. Time included Rep. Ellie Boldman Hill on its list of political up-and-comers last year.