Born in Denver, Colo., but raised in Boise, Idaho, Messina earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Montana. While in college, he worked for the Montana Democratic Party and as press secretary for Democrat Frank Morrison in his unsuccessful run for governor.
Messina managed his first campaign in 1993 when Dan Kemmis (D) ran for mayor of Missoula, Mont. He also worked as a chief of staff in the Montana state Senate before heading East to Washington.(1)