Election Guide '22

The candidates and issues on Montana's 2022 ballot

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Randy Pinocci
2022 Republican candidate for Public Service Commission District 1

Randy Pinocci

Incumbent utility commissioner
Active candidates in race

Randy Pinocci, 57, was elected to the Public Service Commission in 2018. Prior to joining the commission, Pinocci ran a Great Falls printing service where he specialized in political direct mail.

Pinocci served a term in the Montana House of Representatives, where he sat on the Fish, Wildlife and Parks; Judiciary; and Federal Relations, Energy and Telecommunications committees. He has served on the Montana Shooting Sports Association board and chaired the Second Amendment Committee for the Republican Party.

Pinocci lives in Sun River with his wife and three children.

This biography is based on material from the Public Service Commission and Montana Legislature websites.

MTFP coverage

Reporting on this candidate published by the Montana Free Press newsroom.
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Campaign finance

Campaign finance reporting for this race is done through Montana's Commissioner of Political Practices. That data can be accessed through the COPP's Campaign Electronic Reporting System Dashboard.

On the issues

The material shown below was solicted from candidates via a written questionnaire in September and October 2022. Responses were limited to 1,000 characters and edited lightly for punctuation and spelling. Responses have not been exhaustively fact-checked. Send questions to Eric Dietrich at edietrich@montanafreepress.org.
Q1: What are you uniquely positioned to accomplish as a commissioner?
Randy Pinocci:

When campaigning four years ago, the complaint I heard the most was, "I don't know who my Public Service Commissioner is or what the position even oversees." I promised to change that and have traveled to more destinations in my district than all other commissioners combined. I also covered a large percentage of those travel expenses out of my own pocket.

Today, throughout my district my PSC position is much better understood and most voters have heard of me. There are many towns I need to set up meetings in and I will continue to reach out to more communities in the future.

Q2: What do you think is Montana's biggest energy-related issue and why?
Randy Pinocci:

We do not produce the electricity we need. As a result we buy out-of-state at a cost of 10 or 20 times the cost we buy from in-state. Montana needs to be an energy exporter and never again be an energy importer. This will bring our energy cost down hundreds of millions of dollars and at the same time position our Montana economy in a healthier place.

Q3: How are you qualified to sort through the technical aspects of the commission's work?
Randy Pinocci:

I have worked in the Montana political arena for over 30 years. More importantly, I served as a legislator on the most important energy committees and now, with four years as a Public Service Commissioner, that's about the most experience you can have. Because of term limits I can only serve four more years. Other states do not limit the PSC to eight years because they understand you’re limiting technical experience. The Legislature must end term limits for the PSC position or Montanans will continue to lose valued job experience. If the commissioner is not performing, you simply vote them out of office.

Q4: At a salary of about $109,000 a year, this is one of the highest-paid positions in state government. If elected, how would you balance the requirements of the job with other personal or professional obligations?
Randy Pinocci:

As a legislator, all expenses are covered. In the PSC they are not. This year alone I covered over $15,000 in travel. After that is factored in, I am one of the lower-paid positions at the PSC. We are looking to fill a staff position now that pays $30,000 more than my salary. Most Montanans assume the commissioner is the highest paid, it is not. Also, I spent $50,000 — or was it $80,000 — to win the race to have the position. Should not the reporter expect you to have to subtract that cost from your pay? Now I am the lowest paid person at the PSC. Also, think of the risk: you might pay $100,000 in campaign cost and not win at all. How many people do you know that will spend $100,000 for a job interview for a job that only pays $100,000 a year when you pay most of your own expenses and only last four years? And then you may not get the job after you spent the money and over 1,000 hours of your time out on the campaign trail.

Q5: What is the most important regulatory matter before the commission right now?
Randy Pinocci:

To regulate your future energy cost.

Election results

June 7 Republican primary vote
Count reported by Montana secretary of state as of 7/19/22
Nov. 8 General election vote
Count reported by Montana secretary of state as of 11/14/22




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