by William Skink
If Melissa Romano is going to be a viable candidate for Democrats next year, then a better strategy to deal with her political scandal needs to be developed, and pronto. Official silence and unofficial smear-the-messenger shots at bloggers like myself will not make her husband’s drug charges go away.
Politics is not a flowers and sunshine business where people are honest and your personal life is off limits. Lisa Triepke found that out the hard way when she challenged Herr Engen for the crown to his fiefdom in 2017.
In October of that year the Missoulian ran multiple hit pieces on Triepke, publishing details about her divorce settlement and information about her use of support services, like SNAP and LIEAP, and purchases of big ticket items, like a motorhome and a used Toyota.
After the first report in the Missoulian, someone in the Montana Motor Vehicle Division gave the newspaper records pertaining to Triepke. Here is how our corporate rag reported it at the time:
After that report was published, the Missoulian was given records from the Montana Motor Vehicle Division showing that Triepke, in the wake of the divorce settlement, also titled and registered a 2007 Yamaha T25 motorcycle in late March and a 2010 hybrid Toyota Highlander and 2006 Dutchmen motor home in April.
Triepke said the motorcycle was hers as part of the divorce settlement, but said in an interview Thursday with KGVO radio that she bought the car and motor home, both of which were used.
All three vehicles are still registered in her name, according to the records provided by an attorney who identified himself as a supporter of Triepke’s opponent, incumbent Mayor John Engen.
The attorney who provided these records to the Missoulian was never identified by name, but it is nice that the Missoulian at least acknowledged it received them from an avowed supporter of Herr Engen.
Triepke opened herself up to these attacks when she publically touted the budgeting lessons she learned after her divorce. A similar argument can be made that Melissa Romano also opens herself up to criticism when she uses her role as a parent in her political campaign.
Here is how Romano introduces herself on her campaign webpage:
My Fellow Montanans,
As a parent, a teacher and a leader dedicated to a strong public education system throughout Montana, I am running to serve all Montanans as your Superintendent of Montana’s Office of Public Instruction.
If Romano’s role as a parent is important enough to her candidacy that it is front and center in how she chooses to identify herself, then questions any parent would have about her husband’s life choices and how those choices could have negatively impacted the elementary school kids he was responsible for seem quite pertinent.
Romano’s campaign now has a gaping hole they must fill with a narrative that explains what happened in the Romano household between the date of Eric Lehman’s traffic stop on August 31st to the date of his resignation on November 1st. Was there any genuine concern for the kids Lehman was responsible for educating, or was the main concern doing damage control for if/when the story came out?
Making the claim that this is a private family matter is not going to work. The clock is ticking. What is the Democrat candidate for the Office of Public Instruction going to do?