Tara was born and raised in Helena, MT, where she developed a love for the outdoors, music, art, healthy competition, and building things. She is a two time team inductee in the Helena Sports Hall of Fame for back to back Class AA State Basketball championships at Helena High. After high school, Tara received a BS degree in Rangeland Resources (1996) from Montana State University in Bozeman, MT, and a MS degree in Animal & Range Sciences (1998) from South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD. She returned to Montana State to work as a Research and Extension Associate in the College of Agriculture for almost eight years working with farmers and ranchers across the state. During her time at MSU she also co-taught a class on Conflict Resolution in Natural Resources Management and in some instances was a liaison between landowners and state agencies.
Tara joined the Army National Guard in 1999 and served 8 years as an All-Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic doing one deployment in Iraq during 2005-2006. Upon returning from Iraq, she attended seminary and worked as a Youth and Family Coordinator at Peace Lutheran in Belgrade. After graduating seminary with her Master of Divinity degree in 2011, Tara was a stay at home mom for ten years, during which time she was ordained as a Lutheran pastor. Tara has lived in Dillon with her family since 2019. She is a substitute school bus driver and works part time as the Transportation Secretary for the Beaverhead County school district. After struggling with her own re-integration after deployment, she is passionate about helping those who serve and sacrifice for their country and community with living a fulfilling life during and after service.