HELENA — Former Montana Lt. Attorney General, Deputy State Auditor and state legislator Kristin Hansen has died. She was 52.
Hansen was born in 1969 in Peoria, Illinois. A graduate of Augustana College and John Marshall School of Law, she moved to Montana in 2003.
“With the passing of Kris Hansen, we’ve lost a committed public servant and patriot, and I’ve lost a friend,” Gov. Greg Gianforte said in a statement. “Her indomitable spirit left an impact on all who knew her. A strong leader, Kris led a remarkable life, serving our nation overseas with the Montana National Guard and Central Intelligence Agency, before returning to Montana to continue her service to her community and to our Treasure State. Susan and I pray that her family, friends, and colleagues find peace and comfort.”
Hansen, a Republican, served in the Montana House of Representatives from 2011-2014 representing Havre in House District 33. While in the house she headed the Education Committee as chair. She was a prominent advocate for school choice initiatives.
In 2014 she was elected to the State Senate for District 14 which encompasses Havre, Big Sandy, Fort Benton and Chester.
“Kris Hansen was a beacon of light to anyone who knew her,” President of the Montana State Senate Mark Blasdel said. “Always dedicated to any task she put her mind to, she was a force to be reckoned with and served our country and our state in many capacities over the years. Kris always went above and beyond to help a friend in need, was generous to and looked out for young people involved in politics, and brought humor and a warm heart with her everywhere she went. Montana lost a great one, she will be sorely missed.”
Hansen resigned from the State Senate to become chief legal counsel for the state auditor’s office under Matt Rosendale. She was later promoted to Deputy State Auditor.
She joined the Montana Department of Justice as Lt. Attorney General in 2021, the same day Attorney General Knudsen was sworn into office.
"Kris was a dear friend, a conservative leader, and an amazing woman who dedicated her life to others,” said Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen in a release. “She served our nation as a member of the National Guard in Iraq and a tour with the Central Intelligence Agency in Somalia. She served her community in the Hill County Attorney’s Office and represented her neighbors in the Montana Legislature. She served the state she loved in the Auditor’s Office and then as the Lieutenant Attorney General in the Montana Department of Justice. It was an honor to have Kris on our team and we deeply miss her presence.
As Deputy AG Hansen played a key role in several high-profile and controversial actions by the AG's office. In a dispute with the Judicial Branch, Hansen said lawmakers would not follow a court order quashing the subpoena of court emails and records.
She was also a key figure in a dispute between the AG’s Office and St. Peter’s Health over the care of a COVID patient. According to a special counsel report, Hansen was contacted by text message by a family member of the patient expressing concerns that the hospital denied the patient access to “alternative medication” an outside provider had prescribed.
Hansen departed from the Montana Department of Justice in June. David Ortley replaced her as the new Lt. Attorney General.