Jackie Yamanaka

Senior Political Reporter/Special Projects

Jackie Yamanaka has been news director at YPR since 1986.  From her home base in Billings, Jackie covers a wide range of issues across Montana and Wyoming. During the Montana Legislative session, she re-locates to the state Capitol in Helena where she has another office.

During her tenure she has won numerous journalism awards from Public Radio News Directors, Inc.; The Society of Professional Journalists, The Montana Broadcaster’s Association EB Craney Awards; The Montana Associated Press; and elsewhere.

Jackie received a degree in Mass Communications from Eastern Montana College (now Montana State University Billings).  She is secretary of the Montana Freedom of Information Hotline (http://www.montanafoi.org/) and a past board member of Public Radio News Directors, Inc.  When she’s not working she enjoys running and hiking with her dogs, fishing, shooting sporting clays, and playing tennis.

Ways to Connect

Montana Motor Vehicle Divison

The federal government gave Montana a one-year extension to comply with the REAL ID law.  Without it, Montanans could not board a commercial airplane or enter federal buildings after January 22, 2018 using their driver’s license.  The alternative was another federally issued identification, like a passport.

The Department of Homeland Security had said it would only grant Montana an extension was if the state made a commitment toward making substantial and documented progress toward complying with REAL ID.

Jackie Yamanaka

Retired state district judge Russ Fagg made it official:  he’s a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. The announcement comes after a 4 month exploratory effort that Democrats have called a stealth campaign.   

"I love the people of the state," says Fagg, standing on a flatbed trailer parked in a helicopter hanger at Billings Flying Service. "I love the natural beauty of the state and so tonight for the very first time I am publicly announcing that I am going to run for the U.S. Senate."

Jackie Yamanaka

Republican legislative leaders are skeptical that the Bullock Administration's revenue projections are correct. Because of that they told reporters during a conference call Wednesday it is premature to talk about a special legislative session to address the state budget.


Jackie Yamanaka

Montana and Wyoming would be the perfect laboratories to test carbon capture technologies, that’s according to speakers talking about the subject at a forum in Billings, including Montana Governor Steve Bullock.

Jackie Yamanaka

Opinions were split between those who wanted to retain interim Chancellor Ron Larsen and those who spoke in favor of launching a national search for the next head of Montana State University Billings.

Montana State University President Waded Cruzado hosted 2 forums Monday afternoon to hear from faculty, staff, administrators, students, and community members.

MSU Billings

The process is underway to find a new chancellor at Montana State University Billings.

The first step is a public forum to gather comments on what traits and experience people think the next chancellor should have.

Montana State University President Waded Cruzado oversees the Billings campus. She’s scheduled an open public forum in Billings to hear those remarks.

Jackie Yamanaka

Former U.S. Ambassador to China and Montana Senator Max Baucus says there’s insufficient critical thinking today.  He says for many, it’s easier to watch or read the news they agree with.  Baucus says as Senator he strove to meet with those who didn’t always agree with him. 

“I love walking into a lion’s den. It’s a challenge,” Baucus says. “You learn something. And basically, they might learn something too.”

Courtesy image

A legal advocacy organization that represents low-income people says nearly every state has a law that requires the suspension of a driver’s license for nonpayment of court costs and fines. Legal challenges have been filed in 5 states challenging such laws, including in Montana.

The Legal Aid Justice Center in Virginia released those findings in report released today.


Grant Kier for Congress campaign

The former executive director of an organization that works to preserve open space in western Montana is the latest candidate to enter the Democratic primary for the U.S. House.  Grant Kier thinks that experience will serve Montanans well in Congress.

He spent the past decade as the executive director of Five Valleys Land Trust, before that with the Bitter Root Land Trust. The former well site geologist says he’s learned an important lesson from his time in the non-profit world.


Jackie Yamanaka

A film describing what it was like to grow up in Missoula, the son of a Presbyterian minister who held two things sacred–God and fly-fishing–had its world premiere in 1992 in Bozeman, Montana.

25-years later, a festival was held to recognize how Norman Maclean's modest novella captured his family’s troubled story, and introduced a worldwide audience to the beauty of Montana, its rivers, and fly fishing.

"In the Footsteps of Norman Maclean" was a 3-day festival that wrapped up Sunday in Missoula. It was held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the release of the movie, “A River Runs Through It.”

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