Blake Cilwick is the son of Montana expats that met on the sawdust, peanut-shelled floors of Moose’s Saloon in Kalispell. Although they left the rigid winters of their home state behind, they returned every summer to impart their love of Montana and all of its outdoor recreation opportunities onto their children. With an undergraduate degree from a small school in South Carolina— and 4 years of college baseball under his belt— Blake moved back to the Treasure State for his year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. Serving at the Blackstone Launchpad on the University of Montana campus he worked to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career path for students and alumni - with a focus on inclusivity and outreach to communities of interest. After his national service Blake entered into politics as the Regional Field Director of Missoula for the Montana Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (MDLCC). In this position he gained valuable experience in boots-on-the-ground organizing - helping flip one of only a few legislative pickups in the state for the 2018 election cycle. This led to his next position as a legislative aide for the State House Democratic Caucus for the 2019 session. Here he got to be part of the caucus’s successful efforts to expand Montana’s Medicaid expansion, address the MMIW crisis, fund statewide infrastructure, and pass a tuition freeze for all public university students - among other big wins for a minority Party. In the 2020 election cycle he made the jump to campaign manager for a progressive Congressional primary campaign. The campaign raised over $375,000 - an impressive feat for a first-time, young candidate running against the former nominee from the previous cycle. They led the conversation in the state with a progressive campaign platform built around a working families message including planks for: healthcare for all, addressing the climate crisis, student loan debt, legalizing cannabis, and more equitable representation for All Montanans. But perhaps the most lasting accomplishment was becoming the first campaign in Montana history to organize its staff, leading with the values that would then encourage the workers of the Montana Democratic Party to bargain under the same union.
Community Activist/Political Advisor