An interview with Jamie Doggett, Class of 2009, Board of Governors Member
Jamie Doggett is a cattle rancher who grew up around Ringling and Harlowton. She attended Montana State University with a degree in History. She taught high school English, but never history because she says she didn’t have a basketball or football degree. She and her husband Jock have worked their cattle and land 25 miles west of White Sulphur Springs together for over thirty years. She calls it “Paradise.”
Doggett’s appreciation of her home and the people who live in Meagher County led her to serve her neighbors as Meagher County Commissioner for twelve years. She was active in county, state and national efforts to improve infrastructure, health care and voting rights.
Jamie’s passion for Montana’s history and the stories of its people led her to become an advocate for the humanities in 1989 when she was appointed by then Governor Stan Stephens to the Montana Committee for the Humanities (now Humanities Montana). She was subsequently re-appointed for two additional terms by Governor Marc Racicot and served for a total of twelve years, chairing the board for three of those years. She was elected to the board of directors for the Federation of State Humanities Councils in 1996 and was chair for 4 years. In 2006 she was nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the US Senate to the National Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities. President Obama also nominated her to the same position in 2016, but the Senate failed to confirm the appointment
Her favorite Montana book is Heart Earth, Ivan Doig’s moving portrait of his mother Bernetta, based on letters he found long after her death. She noted that it is the only book she read that made her cry. It tells the familiar story of a Montana family struggling with geographical, financial, and intergenerational problems. Jamie and Jock live in the Camas house featured in Doig’s This House of Sky.
For Jamie, the impact of Leadership Montana is the extended web of people it creates around the state and across the country. When Doggett was injured in a car crash in 2010, her former leadership classmates arranged for two giant coolers of prepared meals to be delivered, along with a $500 donation to a local nonprofit of her choice. “I was in shock,” she remembers, “lying in my temporary living-room-bedroom, watching that FedEx truck come up to the house.” Adding to the circle of generosity, when classmate Dax Schieffer announced his marriage to Chantel, it was Jamie and a classmate of Chantel’s who organized the collective gift of a lifetime membership in the MSU alumni association.
“That’s the power of it,” she says “everyone in Montana has a story. Leadership Montana is the gracious space place where they get to share that story.”