Born in St. Ignatius, Montana, Sands obtained a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Montana before doing graduate work at George Washington University in Washington, D.C..
Sands began her career in the Montana State Legislature in 1996, when she was appointed as the Democratic nominee for the House of Representatives in the 66th district. The previous nominee, incumbent Rep. Mike Kadas, had just been appointed Mayor of Missoula following the resignation of Daniel Kemmis. She was elected, without opposition, in November 1996 and took office in January 1997. She did not run for re-election in 1998 when her job forced her to move to Oregon. She wasn't away long, though; returning to Montana in December 1999.
In 2006, when Rep. Tom Facey (D–Missoula) was termed out after eight years in the House, Sands ran to succeed him in the renumbered 95th district. She faced no primary opposition and defeated her Republican opponent by 60% to 40%. Re-elected in 2008 and 2010, she will be termed out of the House in 2012.
A lesbian, she was the first ever openly gay member of the Montana Legislature. She now serves alongside two other LGBT legislators, Sen. Christine Kaufmann (D–Helena) and Rep. Bryce Bennett (D–Missoula). Her 1996 campaign won the support of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.
Diane Sands is an American politician from Montana. A Democrat, she serves in the Montana House of Representatives, representing the 95th house district, based in Missoula. Her partner, Ann Mary Dussault, also once served in the Montana legislature. Taking office in 1975, she served four terms and was the first female majority leader in the nation. She would go on to serve on the Missoula County Commission. Sands began her career in the Montana State Legislature in 1996, when she was appointed as the Democratic nominee for the House of Representatives in the 66th district.
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