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Honoring Our Veterans: Cory Swanson


Matt Nelson
MT43 News Correspondent

This article is part 2 of a two-part article.

Cory Swanson is the Broadwater County Attorney and is also a Lt. Colonel in the Montana Army National Guard. Part 1 of this story was about his military career; Part 2 is about his work as the County Attorney.

He said, “The County Attorney job is such a fun job, it’s a great job. It’s very demanding because new problems arise every week. Part of the job is keeping up with the pace of things that are thrust upon us."

Cory loves being in the courtroom, working with law enforcement, and fulfilling a goal just to help people. Every week somebody is in the office needing help. The goal is just to try to help them. Sometimes the people who come to his office aren’t in the right office to get the help they need, but they do try and find the right organization for the person needing help. He has a really good team in his office.

Prior to becoming the County Attorney, Cory had worked in a private law firm in Helena doing Civil Law, and he also spent two years working with the Montana Attorney General. That experience is what led him to the County Attorney job. He was glad to get into the criminal prosecution arena after doing a lot of Civil Law.

He was first elected in 2014 in Broadwater County and took office in January 2015. He was reelected in 2018, and this term ended in 2022. There was a complication with his deployment to the Middle East in January 2022. In December of 2021, he received a call asking him to become the 1-163rd Battalion Commander again. The unit was deploying to the Middle East and needed someone to take over the job. He made arrangements with Broadwater County to have an extended leave of absence, but to be able to stay on the ballot as the County Attorney candidate.

Prior to his deployment, he had filed for reelection to his third term in office for the November 2022 election. The Army regulations say that you cannot run for office, or hold an office during your deployment if your active duty time to be deployed exceeds 270 days. At the time he left for Kuwait, his deployment time was under 270 days. After arriving in Kuwait, Cory found out that his unit’s time had been extended, which meant that he would have been gone longer than 270 days. He came very close to withdrawing his bid for reelection. He had a deadline in the summer that he needed to meet because if he was going to pull out, the county would need the time to find somebody else to run. He had to receive permission from the Secretary of the Army to stay on the ballot for the County Attorney. He was just days away from withdrawing when he received permission from the Secretary of the Army that he could remain on the ballet.

One of the things that the County Attorney’s office personnel always worries about is the amount of drug traffic that goes between Butte, Bozeman, and Helena. They get a lot of drive-through crime, but then Cory laughed, and said that there is a lot of local crime, too.

Cory and his wife Julie love it here, and both grew up in Manhattan (Montana, not New York!). They had lived in Helena and realized that they wanted to live in a smaller town. Helena is too much "big city" for them. They moved to Townsend in 2013. John Flynn had been County Attorney for a long time, but he passed away in 2012 so Cory decided to run for the position in the November 2014 election.

Cory’s wife, Julie, runs Songbird Pediatric Speech Therapy for kids here in Townsend. Her office is in the Lodge. Their daughter, Claire, and their son, Caleb, are active in sports, the 4H, and they also participate in the annual science fair at the school. They are a very fine and a very close family.

Cory said, “The law is as broad as all of society. Every aspect of society may have some issue that somehow involves the law or lawyers. Someone’s law practice can be as unique as any other thing. There are always these different niches out there of how you can practice law. I enjoy the law, but I wasn’t enjoying the civil law firm type of law practice that I was doing. This wasn’t the right thing for me. I definitely feel that the County Attorney, prosecution, heavily involved in everything that happens in the community job is something I very much enjoy”.