Bullock names new director of the Montana Department of Commerce

Gov. Steve Bullock on Thursday named Tara Rice as the new director of the Montana Department of Commerce.

Rice, who grew up in Choteau, recently served in private legal practice as a transactional attorney where she worked with bankers, developers and engineers to build infrastructure and energy projects.

“Tara’s experience – from growing up on a ranch outside of Choteau to her work implementing economic development policies with an eye toward rural communities – will continue the Department’s work fostering opportunities all across Montana,” Bullock said in a statement.

“I look forward to what Tara’s passion for public service and strategic approach to strengthening Montana’s economy will bring to the administration.”

Rice arrives from the public and private sector with a background in economic development. Beginning in 2012, she served with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in rural development, where she helped manage the agency’s investments in housing and business development.

Rice later led work at the White House Rural Council, coordinating efforts for rural investment across federal agencies and with state and local partners.

She graduated from Choteau High School, Seattle University and Yale Law School.

“I am honored for this opportunity to work hard for economic development in all corners of Montana alongside the capable and talented team at the Department of Commerce,” said Rice. “I look forward to working with partners around the state to spur opportunity for small business development and to help sustain our Montana livelihoods.”