Throughout his time as Montana’s junior senator, I have yet to see Sen. Steve Daines take an informed position on issues of consequence to Montana voters. After seeing which way the political winds are blowing, the senator refuses to directly communicate with voters in-person and instead hides behind a camera in Washington, D.C.

One issue is illustrative. I recently encouraged Daines to explain his health care votes to my family member, a mother of five children, and one of millions across the country battling cancer. A vote to repeal Obamacare without federally mandated protections for pre-existing conditions will only add to the suffering that many with cancer already endure, a decision favored by our junior senator. Unfortunately, the senator has done little to inform his decision by speaking with those who will actually be impacted by it. Of course, we cannot expect perfection from our elected officials, but we can and should demand that they account for their decisions.

Civility can be restored to these great debates when politicians like Daines have the basic integrity to meet with constituents and gain perspective from regular people. Coming to an agreement on an issue may be impossible, but an informed decision cannot be made if the senator refuses to step out of his insulated echo chamber. A conversation with real people suffering from pre-existing conditions like cancer might be difficult, but this voter would at least respect the senator if he stopped taking the easy route, where being cruel is acceptable, as long as those who need health care to survive are out of sight and out of mind.

Benjamin Halverson