Jen Gross (D)
Occupation: Manager of field operations at Planned Parenthood of Montana Family:
Education: Educated in Billings from Head Start through MSU Billings. Bachelor’s degree in environmental studies
Past employment: Primarily in the service industry, waiting tables in Billings and Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks; peer mentor for the SOS/TRiO program.
Political experience: I have worked on electoral, legislative and advocacy campaigns in Montana as a volunteer and in paid positions dating back to 2008.
Online campaign info
Facebook page: JenGrossSD25
Ways voters can contact you
Address: 211 S. 33rd St, Billings, Mont., 59101
Phone number: 406-696-0649
1. For years, a surplus in revenue has been the lynchpin for a healthy economy in Montana while providing a safety net for the state. Revenues are less than projected for the current FY, yet reports show our surplus is not too far from the projected $300 million. Legislative action in 2015 eliminated the business equipment tax for two-thirds of small businesses here in the state. Property and income taxes are up as a result of low unemployment and job growth. In the legislature I will work to ensure these taxes do not become burdensome for all hard working Montanans.
2. Montana must look out for workers and families first with an eye toward the future. The owners of Units 1 & 2 in Colstrip have made it clear they cannot continue to operate those units because they’re losing money doing so. Energy markets are driving energy away from coal as natural gas prices remain at an all time low. We can develop a responsible plan to help communities like Colstrip make the transition to cleaner, renewable sources of energy. As a senator, I’ll work tirelessly to ensure we replace these good paying jobs by working to attract new companies to Montana.
3. The transfer of federal public lands to the state would be costly and burdensome to Montana taxpayers. Out of state special interest groups lobbying to transfer our public lands are just not for Montana. We can’t afford the upkeep. Wildfire management alone would mean selling public lands off to the highest bidder. Montanans value our public lands and our outdoor heritage is what makes living here so special. Montana’s outdoor economy adds $5.8 billion and 64,000 jobs; we can’t afford to jeopardize that. In the legislature, I will vote against any attempts to sell off our public lands.
4. Paycheck Fairness legislation is a critical issue for women, children and families in Montana. Montana women are strong and independent and we pride ourselves on hard work, going all the way back to the homesteader days. Today, women make up nearly half of the workforce across the nation, yet evidence shows a clear disparity in wages and income. Ensuring equal pay for an honest day’s work will not only help women provide for their children and families, but also help grow a more diverse economic base in the state.
5. Aging infrastructure is a real problem in Montana. This is an issue impacting everyone from farmers who rely on irrigation canals, to parents with kids riding school buses over crumbling bridges. The legislature failed to increase funding for infrastructure projects last session due to ideological differences in how projects should be financed particularly over bonding and which projects should be financed. Bipartisan support and working relationships across the aisle are always necessary to do what is right for Montana, and I pledge to work with Democrats and Republicans to address aging infrastructure when the legislature convenes in 2017.