Pam Bucy: Now in the theater of life

When Pam Bucy attended Rocky Mountain College she cast a wide net to take full advantage of her college experience. She graduated in 1991 with honors in history, political science and English, “but I loved theatre and choir. I was in every play I could get in,” she said. 

In fact, those who know her from her days performing on the college stage are surprised to know her as a prosecutor with a history of convicting felons, a reputation that has earned her the endorsement of top law enforcement officials across Montana.

“I tell them this is the real theater, the theater of life,” she laughs, discussing her role as one of Montana’s top legal guns. “What I learned and experienced at RMC has a direct positive influence on what I do now.”

What she is doing now is running for State Attorney General. If she wins, she would be the first female to hold that job, and one of only a dozen in the United States.

“The odds are not that favorable, but I’ve never paid attention to the odds,” she said. “If I make up my mind to accomplish something, I generally succeed. I’m not a weak sister.”

Bucy’s experience is certainly an asset as she seeks the highest law enforcement position in Montana. Until recently, she served as Chief Legal Counsel for the Montana Department of Labor and Industry; currently, she serves as Administrative Counsel for the Montana Department of Labor. During her seven years as Executive Assistant Attorney General under former AG and current Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike McGrath, she represented the State of Montana in complex civil and criminal matters before the Montana Supreme Court. 

Bucy was praised for spearheading the Department of Justice’s efforts to pass legislation to register sexual and violent offenders, help senior citizens protect their identity and credit information, and ensure protective orders, such as restraining orders, can be more easily enforced.

One of the keynotes of her campaign is her eSm@rtKids program, which would help ensure kids' safety when engaged in online Internet activity.

“It protects them from sexual predators, as well as others who would exploit them if they do not use their Internet time in a safe and smart manner,” Bucy said.

Bucy’s career in law enforcement began when she grew up in Townsend, she said.

“I had to keep tabs on four younger brothers and sisters,” she said. “That may be also why I’m very interested in protecting families and children. I felt I grew up in a safe environment, but modern life exposes us all to new risks and dangers. Not just our playgrounds need to be secure; our resources need to extend to cyberspace where predators take advantage of children and the elderly."

After graduation, she studied law at the University of Montana and immediately after receiving her degree, went to work as a criminal prosecutor with the Lewis & Clark County Attorney’s office. In that role, she gained a solid understanding of the various issues surrounding the criminal justice system and successfully prosecuted hundreds of cases, including DUI, domestic violence, theft and homicide. 

Prior to her legal career, she owned the Firehouse Playhouse in Livingston and was assistant manager of the Livingston Chamber of Commerce.

“I know something about the challenges to small business,” she said. “I haven’t forgotten the issues they face."

Bucy’s attraction to RMC began when she was only a child. At a Methodist Church summer camp, “a witty, smart, funny and really entertaining group performed,” she said. “They [the Montana Logging and Ballet Company] were all RMC grads. I thought right then if they turned out as good as they did, that was the place for me.”

Getting here and staying here was another matter. Scholarships were essential, but “I also worked the whole time, at whatever job I could find,” she said. “I had jobs at The Granary, TJ Maxx, Ernst and work study jobs. I was lucky. I was brought up in a family that valued hard work.”

On a recent visit to campus, Bucy recalled wonderful professors, including Mark Moak (art), Ken Egan and Linaya Leaf (English), and Dr. Larry Small (history).

“I loved this college,” she said. “I got everything I wanted and more from here.”