The Billings Gazette publishes letters from readers in the Opinion section. Here are this week's letters.
To submit a letter to the editor, go here.
Garcia broke law on campaign finance
Campaign finance law is nothing to play around with it. A couple of months ago, the COPP made a decision on the Blatnick vs. Garcia case. The commissioner said Rodney Garcia has broken campaign finance laws and asked him to return a $3,000 illegal contribution to his campaign. The facts are clear, Rodney Garcia broke the law.
I have known Amelia Marquez for some time and I know that Marquez is passionate about campaign finance laws. Marquez understands that campaign finance laws are in place for accountability and fair elections. Garcia said it is our problem if we don’t understand why he broke the law. Let’s show him that we have the solution to his problem by voting for Amelia Marquez.
Congress must renew LWCF for Montana's sake
What does prime elk habitat and the little league field where our kids play have in common? They and other public lands and recreation sites have benefited from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. It’s one of the best conservation programs we’ve ever had, and it doesn’t cost taxpayers anything.
LWCF uses a portion of offshore oil and gas leases to fund conservation projects, including land purchases to block up public lands and open access. But it also goes for recreation facilities in our cities and towns, including baseball and soccer fields, swimming pools and playgrounds. Everybody benefits, but we won’t if the program expires this fall.
Call Sen. Jon Tester, Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte and tell them to renew and fully fund LWCF. It’s vital not just for us, but for our kids and grandkids.
Elect Cabrera in Heights HD44
When I heard that Ming Cabrera was running for the legislature in HD44, it was like a breath of fresh air! I have had several front-door visits with him and couldn’t help but notice his energy and passion in the task at hand. He will be able to work with everyone in Helena to represent our district, unlike other no-shows we have had in the past! Join me in voting for Cabrera.
Davies will make great district judge
Colette Davies will make a great district court judge. Prior to partnering with me, Colette was a municipal court judge. She dealt with people of all different backgrounds compassionately and fairly. As a judge, Colette was universally regarded as the embodiment of thoroughness and fairness, a rare combination. She will bring an experience to the bench because she has already served as a judge.
A judge’s primary job is to make timely and fair decisions. The wheels of justice grind to a halt when deadlines aren’t held and rulings made. Colette Davies holds herself to a level that is unsurpassed. Many evenings I will go to turn off her light only to see her still there working. When I tell her to go home, she’ll just say, “Not until I get this out the door.” Rather than make excuses or seek extensions, she simply gets it done. Again, Colette’s ability to get things done and complete what has to be completed without excuse or corner-cutting will make her an exceptional judge.
Colette Davies is always able to find the best in people. I have watched her deal with people who are short-tempered, rude or even downright hostile. She always handles these situations with firmness and grace, diffusing rather than escalating the situation without ever losing control. This type of ability is rare in the practice of law and further highlights a character trait of all great judges.
Please join me in voting for Colette Davies for District Court Judge.
Medicare for all makes sense
Single-payer health care is currently the most desired health care reform in the United States, by over 60 percent of Americans.
Performance facts on the Affordable Care Act show that the market-based approach has proven to be complex, more and more expensive with mounting premium increases, and adequate coverage more difficult to obtain. Big private health insurance companies are vacating the marketplace and limiting physician networks, making the middle class less likely to find affordable coverage.
The Republican Party is step-by-step dismantling the existing programs under the ACA for adequate coverage in ways that are not being widely published, so that citizens are being taken by surprise when the silent changes are dropped on them.
Drug prices have climbed exponentially with no imposed regulation.
Over-the-counter drugs are promoted on TV and through print ads in magazines and papers under false claims, because OTC drugs are not researched or scrutinized for truth in advertising by the FDA, duping the American public who spend money on worthless drugs. (Two examples are Prevagen and Cognivex for brain health.)
Private insurance is just a middle-man that moves money from patient to provider with their main motive to make profit, while generating extremely high administration costs which is put on enrollees, without improving health.
The single-payer form of universal coverage will eventually come to the United States, because it is the most cost-effective way to cover everyone from birth to death with comprehensive extended benefits.
No matter which political bent you follow, it just makes unquestionable sense to vote for congressional candidates who support a single-payer universal health care system like improved Medicare for all.
Richard A. Damon, MD
Vote for Rosendale
I am voting for Matt Rosendale for U.S. Senate and this is why.
Never in the history of our country have our two main political parties been so far apart. Rosendale supports life from conception, our right to self-defense and protecting our borders.
The Democrats have labeled Trump supporters as deplorable. But, just recently they made a mockery out of the judiciary process. Democratic senators convicted Judge Kavanaugh without any evidence. Even before these allegations came up they questioned Kavanaugh's character in such a way his parents were in tears and his little girls had to be removed from the hearing. Rosendale has denounced the tactics used by the democrats and believes in "innocent until proven guilty."
Our Democratic senator has not denounced the actions of his party. He spread lies, dragging Admiral Jackson's name through the mud. He is right in step with the way the Democratic Party is being run. He has the mentality of "guilty until proven innocent."
Montanans do not approve of these smear tactics. We expect our elected legislators to act in truthful and honorable ways. Our democrat senator has failed to serve in an honorable way. He has not been an example of Montana values and it is time to retire him.
Matt Rosendale is an honorable man who will make Montana proud. I will be voting for Matt Rosendale for U.S. Senate and urge you to do the same.
Vote for Montana values — Vote Matt Rosendale.
Business owners support Tester
As anyone who has owned or started a small business can tell you, it’s not all entrepreneurship. Part of small-business ownership is learning how to navigate often frustrating bureaucratic red tape, reams of paperwork, and the path through government hoops required to get off the ground. It’s during this process that it helps to have elected officials at your back who are willing to go to bat for you.
Imagine being the proud new owner of a manufacturing business only to find yourself in a bureaucratic no-man's-land that prevents you from operating your business. Our business began in just such a quagmire that only makes sense in the head-scratching Catch-22 of government bureaucracy. But a call to the senator's office got the ball rolling and got us operating.
We own and operate a distillery in Helena, and Sen. Jon Tester further helped us by spearheading a tax cut for breweries and distilleries like ours. He sponsored the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, which reduces our federal excise taxes. Tester’s work on this, and his commitment to getting this passed in Congress, allowed our distillery to use our revenues to hire a full-time employee and grow our operation — something that could not have been possible without the tax relief Tester fought for.
Tester delivers on his promises, and he knows what small businesses in Montana need. These small business owners are going to be supporting Tester this November.
Steffen Rasile and Tyrrell Hibbard
owners, Gulch Distillers
Candidates' birthplace doesn't matter
I find it interesting that the majority of political ads against Rep. Greg Gianforte when he first ran for congress focused on the fact that he was not originally from Montana and therefore should not be elected to represent Montana. This same tactic is now being used against Matt Rosendale in most of the political ads. Because they chose to move here from out of state, the ads emphasize, they should not be elected to represent Montana. However, it seems that most of the money paying for these ads is willingly accepted even though most of it comes from out of state. Apparently, none of the people putting together these ads, or those running who agree with them, have the same problem with Kathleen Williams as a candidate even though she only moved to Montana from out of state in 1995. Why is location of one's birthplace only a problem if you are conservative? I guess we are not all created equal, nor treated equally.
Tester votes against GOP
The time for voting for the person has long gone. In this day and age where politics has become so polarized each side needs the support of the voters. We have to remember that our state is a subset of the country, and the country should come first.
Look at the voting records of our representatives and senators and see if their philosophy agrees with yours or if their agenda agrees with yours. Look closely at what you believe in and compare to the agenda or ideas of the politician.
For example, if you are for gun control look at the agenda of the candidate, if you are for or against abortion look at the agenda of the candidate, if you are for cutting taxes look at the agenda of the candidate, if you are for vetting immigrants or for open borders, look at the agenda of your candidates, if you are for law enforcement look at the agenda of your candidates. All of these issues should come into play when choosing who you vote for. Don't just look at the person because he/she is good looking, rich, or even a native of the state or even an incumbent?
More specifically let's look at Sen. Tester and his voting record. Senator Tester has voted against everything the Republican Party has proposed. He voted against the tax cut, he voted against the Supreme Court judge because of the appointee being somewhat conservative. He has voted against immigration control. He voted against the wall. He has voted against health-care reform and in fact he has voted against anything good or bad that the conservatives have proposed. Yes, he whoops and hollers about the bill(s) he has sponsored for the veterans. As Ms. Pelosi would say “hip hip hooray.” Well, fine and dandy, who wouldn't have voted for the vets and for that matter the seniors as well. But when the budget came up for vote and a good share of it was for the military, he voted against it too. In fact if you look at his agenda and voting record he has gone right along with whatever the demos have told him.
Montana, being a red state, should look at these issues and for sure see if they line up with one's ideology and agenda for the country. Compare them to the opposition and vote accordingly.
I-185 will save lives
I got 20 more years (and counting) with my father because of a tobacco tax increase. Let me back up. My father, a Vietnam vet, started smoking in the late 1960s. He smoked all through college, all through Vietnam, and throughout my years at home as a child. In 1996, Oregon passed Measure 44, a tobacco tax increase that tipped him over the edge and he quit cold turkey. It wasn’t easy, but he did it, and I am thankful every day that he made that choice.
Fast forward to today — my father is now dying from tobacco-related lung disease. The damage he did over the 30 years he did smoke have caught up to him and my family will lose him in the next 3 to 5 years. Imagine if he hadn’t quit in 1996? I suspect his disease would have advanced far quicker and we would have lost him years ago.
I-185 in personal to me. I know it saves lives. I will lose my father to tobacco, but my hope is that my children will resist the targeted campaigns to lure them into tobacco use.
Make no mistake: The opponents of I-185 are funded nearly entirely by two of the world's largest tobacco companies and they aren’t saying a word about tobacco in their ads. Their motivation is protecting profits and securing new lifelong customers. Instead, we can reject this and vote yes on I-185. Save lives.
Williams offers legislative experience
Honesty, integrity, and healthy longstanding Montana values are expressed and demonstrated by Kathleen Williams every day, all day. Williams’ intelligent, well-informed, collaborative approach to resolving complex issues has resulted in many successes during her legislative experience as a leader in the Montana Legislature. Successful work on behalf of higher education, a balanced state budget, improved consumer protections, and reduced business equipment tax burden are a few examples of her admirable legislative service.
Williams is an outdoors woman and a strong supporter of the state’s important outdoor recreation industry. She will stand tall in protecting Montana’s public lands and unique “last best place” landscapes. She is a hunter and gun owner who will continue to advocate for wildlife, hunting, and gun ownership rights. She will steadfastly support public education, Medicare, Social Security, improved tax structure for the middle class, and strengthening Montana’s economy.
With Kathleen Williams in office, you will once again boast about your congressional representation.
Daines should back someone better than Kavanaugh
I received general mailing today from Sen. Steve Daines titled, “I Stand with Kavanagh,” with same old rationale: It’s either Us! or Them! so we must ram this through NOW!
I wrote back, as I hope other Montanans will, too: “Senator Daines, your support of Kavanagh is wrong-headed. By following the party line like a sheep, you are ignoring long-term Montana interests. Kavanaugh presented himself as a privileged, self-righteous insider who throws a tantrum when not getting what he assumes he deserves. He more than anyone should be calling for proper procedure to be followed, to clear his name before being allowed to judge fellow citizens. Instead, Kavanaugh broadcast clearly how he will be unable to fairly treat the party he accuses — he is the one who claimed vengeance. Kavanagh changed his story about his background as it suited his argument — can we trust him to be honest? Watching Kavanagh’s testimony, can you deny that he himself raised serious doubts about his fitness for this position?
If I’d responded to interviewers the belligerent way Kavanaugh did, not only would I be disqualified from that job, I’d probably be escorted out by security! Senator, is this really your best judgment? Are you in DC working for the good of each of us Montana citizens, or are you doing what Kavanaugh is — siding with one Washington power block to further your own career aspirations?
Stand up now for what is right, senator. Do it for Montana. Pick a better person for this job.”
Zinke should disavow Whitefish 'Code of West' event
I support, value and use public lands. These days, public lands are rather controversial because there are so many competing uses — anything from pure non-motorized wilderness experience to full development of mineral extraction. Most importantly, I support and want people respecting the law or working collaboratively to change it for the better. And of course with all this comes freedom of speech, which is the foundation of our country.
On Oct. 13, Ammon Bundy will be exercising his right to free speech at an event in Whitefish called "The New Code of the West.” It touts transfer of public lands and threatens sovereignty of tribal nations. I respect people’s right to assemble and speak, but I must exercise my own right to respond. This event does not reflect the passion and honesty Montana is renowned for throughout the world. We are a state who values public lands, our last best places. We respect tribal nations who lived here before the land was dubbed “Montana.” We want the United States to be respected for keeping its words, promises and treaties and for preserving its natural treasures.
The ideologies of The New Code of the West stand in direct conflict to the values of Montanans. That's why I'm asking Secretary Ryan Zinke to stand alongside me and hundreds of his fellow Montanans in denouncing The New Code of the West event. Secretary Zinke, do not turn your back on your hometown of Whitefish, American Indian Tribes or public lands you manage.
Williams understands Montana health care concerns
The rising cost of health care is something most Montanans can relate to. With the mid-term election approaching, it makes sense to consider which candidate actually has concerns about the future of health care for Montanans.
Kathleen Williams has written a white paper suggesting ways to fix our current system. It’s clear she has studied the issue. One thing she is strongly behind is allowing people 55 and older to opt into Medicare, paying a higher premium than those 65 and older but no doubt less than what they are paying now.
This would help people 55-plus, many of whom are working fewer hours than when they were younger, while experiencing more health issues and paying much higher premiums. It would also take pressure off the market, of 55 and younger, by removing those with growing health problems from that insurance pool. This seems like a very measured and effective way to approach the problem.
In contrast, Republicans have not advanced a workable health care plan in over 100 years. And, Rep. Greg Gianforte will be happy to carry on that tradition. After all, he has said Noah lived for 600 years without retirement income. He probably did not have health insurance either.
3 on Land Board play games with Montanans' lives
Montana State Land Board members Elsie Arntzen, Matt Rosendale and Corey Stapleton need to step up and stop killing good conservation projects that are important to our farmers and ranchers. These three, this spring, rejected the Horse Creek Conservation Easement, and have rejected others as well, but have given no valid reasons why other than griping about the price.
They turned solid Habitat Montana projects that bring sportsmen and landowners together and made it political. Now Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has a dozen other easements in the works, with more than 80,000 acres of public hunting on private lands that would be opened up. Why wouldn’t they want to support this quality program that hunters are glad to pay for?
What’s even worse is the stress it causes landowners who are working with FWP. Some of them have land purchases pending on these deals, and they use Habitat Montana funds to expand their ranching operation and plan for their financial future. Simply put, these three are messing with people’s lives, all out of some ideological bent against a solid program.
Let these three know that Montanans are tired of people playing political games with Habitat Montana, our hunting traditions and our ranching families.
Elect Merecki to Senate for Heights
Jennifer Merecki has a vision for greater quality of life for Montanans. She is motivated by frustration shared by many citizens in Billings regarding broken promises of politicians on both sides of the aisle. After decades of seemingly systemic recurring economic crises, many Montanans are realizing that our democratic system is still not benefiting them. Unfortunately, many folks have developed apathy and disdain for a system which often appears driven by greed, fear and delusion rather than listening, cooperation and effort. Deception deepens the divide between a two-party system that often appears to be concerned with winning rather than developing solutions for important issues. It's understandable that folks feel powerless to affect change, or trust in a system that lacks transparency.
We need progress-minded leadership to focus on solving problems that affect all Montanans, regardless of party affiliation. Jennifer's willingness to think beyond partisan rhetoric makes her a true populist and a great choice to represent us.
I've known Jennifer for almost 10 years, having cooperated with her professionally and personally. One of her most distinguished traits is her capacity to listen to people and understand their perspective. I've seen her successfully address division and misunderstanding through genuine conversations, considering actual evidence and recognizing shared values.
She knows we all want and need a voice in decisions that affect our environment, livelihoods and futures. I urge you to vote for Jennifer Merecki to represent Senate District 22 in Billings Heights.
Support Mercer for Montana House
While a county commissioner, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of excellent people. Bill Mercer is one of them. He is rock solid when it comes to enforcing the law and making our community a better place to live and work. As such, the president appointed Bill to serve as United States Attorney for Montana. He worked closely with local officials to help get drugs off the street and prosecute crimes committed against us.
Bill is seeking an opportunity to serve in the Montana House of Representatives. He certainly understands the challenges faced by local government. Bill is active as a volunteer for Little League, Billings Symphony — and the Griz Foundation, which I’m trying not to hold against him.
Please consider Bill Mercer for the Montana House of Representative.
McNally voted for tougher sentencing of child molesters
Tom McGillvray is playing fast and loose with the facts. He recently sent out a political flier accusing Sen. Mary McNally, of Senate District 24, of being soft on crime and sexual predators in particular.
The truth is that McNally voted for a bill that strengthens protections from sexual predators for children 12 or younger.
In the 2017 Legislative session, Sen. McNally voted to approve HB 133, which passed the Senate with bipartisan support by a margin of 37 to 12. HB 133 was designed to redirect limited resources in prisons and jails to focus on violent and dangerous offenders, and to address deficiencies in sentencing guidelines for various crimes, both violent and non-violent.
In voting for HB 133 Sen. McNally voted to establish a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for sexual abuse of children 12 and younger.
Before the 2017 Montana Legislature, there was a "mandatory minimum" sentence of 25 years for this offense, with an exception that allowed judges to exercise discretion. That means there was no effective mandatory minimum sentence for this crime. Montanans were outraged in 2016 when a judge in northern Montana issued a sentence of probation for a case involving a family member and a victim under 12. Consequently, this issue was addressed in HB 133 by establishing a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for such a crime and removing the exception allowing judicial discretion.
McGillvray is twisting the truth and misleading voters about Sen. McNally’s voting record.
Congress let Trump raise insurance costs
As a hunter, outdoorsman and father, I’ll back Kathleen Williams for Congress.
Williams is not wealthy. She knows from experience all Montanans deserve top-notch health care. Less than a year ago, health insurance rates skyrocketed across Montana, the direct result of actions by the president and no action by Congress.
My daughter’s health insurance (Montana Health Co-op) went up 66 percent!
Rep. Greg Gianforte did nothing to prevent this, despite the fact that health costs are higher than taxes for many Montana households.
Williams has a three-point plan to reduce health care costs for all Montana families.
Like me, Kathleen Williams is a gun owner and hunter. Our rights to bear arms are guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.
Our public lands and outdoor heritage have no such guarantees. Gianforte has not lifted a finger to challenge interests in his own party who aim to “transfer” or take public lands.
Williams has taken a stand to keep public lands in public hands and listen to all Montanans’ views. Gianforte has refused to listen even while sponsoring radical legislation to rob Montana of millions of wild public acres.
It’s time for a change — Kathleen Williams!
Vote yes on I-185
I’ve been lucky in my life and no one in my immediate family has been a tobacco user. I watched carefully as my son grew to adulthood and feel so blessed that he did not pick up this deadly habit.
As a nurse who has worked in hospitals and primary care clinics, I know how deadly tobacco is to individuals and how devastating it is for their families to watch loved ones die. I’ve watched patients suffer from COPD, heart failure, cancer and diabetic complications because of tobacco, and no one should have to go through that. Tobacco kills 1,600 Montanans every year and 100 percent of those deaths are preventable.
Tobacco companies, with their millions of dollars, are working hard to make I-185 about how the tax is spent rather than the fact that I-185 would reduce tobacco use by an estimated 11,000 Montanans — including young kids who are getting addicted to tobacco through e-cigarettes and vaping devices.
Tobacco taxes reduce tobacco use and save lives. How can that be bad? And the fact that a portion of the revenue will be used to help 100,000 Montanans keep their health care? Again, how can that be bad? Vote yes on I-185.
Paula Block, RN
Vote for Tester, Williams
Our senators and representative are supposed to represent us and not push through the president’s personal agenda. As I see it, President Trump’s agenda is to continue locking up children in cages. He even diverted funds from FEMA to build more detention centers. How does a wall along the Mexican border benefit the people of Montana? Why would the people of Montana want a sexual predator (my opinion) in the Supreme Court, when we already have a sexual predator in the White House? What is the purpose of cutting taxes for the wealthy only to take money from Social Security and Medicare to pay for these tax cuts? The last tax cut increased my pension check by $2 a month (can’t even get a cup of coffee for $2).
Montana depends a great deal on tourism for its economy and yet there are plans to sell and open our public lands to mineral extraction and our nation’s parks to hunting. Sure would be awful to try hiking amongst oil rigs and people shooting at whatever moves.
Do we really want to re-elect a person who refuses to hold town halls and body slams reporters?
We need to vote for Sen. Jon Tester and Kathleen Williams to stand up for Montana values.
Elect Mercer to Montana Legislature
I’ve had the opportunity to work with Bill Mercer, a candidate for representative from House District 46, on a nonprofit board for the past eight years for Big Sky Senior Services, an organization that provides direct services to low-income seniors. As chair of the board during some of his tenure I’ve worked with him on numerous important issues.
Bill has been involved in all aspects of the organization, particularly on preventing the financial and physical exploitation of the elderly in addition to improving state laws making them strong enough to get results in courts when prevention doesn’t work. I’ve witnessed his dedication and tireless efforts to protect some of our most vulnerable citizens from abuse and fraud. He has given his time and expertise freely with the enthusiasm that I believe he would bring to representing his district.
As part of our board of directors, his legal training has benefited us as we encountered various issues, considered legislative fixes, and engaged in strategic planning. This training, coupled with his keen insight has helped the organization make key decisions that have greatly assisted both the organization and the people we serve.
His community service record shows his level of commitment to continued improvement of our city and state. This, combined with his experience in government and non-profit organizations give him an uncommon perspective that would benefit us all.
I urge the residents of House District 46 to vote for Bill Mercer, he would be an excellent choice to represent you.
McNally knows the district
Election Day 2018 will soon be here and voters in SD-24 will have an opportunity to re-elect an experienced candidate who understands our district, city, and state — Sen. Mary McNally. In these tumultuous times, McNally will provide a calm, experienced voice representing and advocating for issues of concern to all of us.
She supports adequate and appropriate funding of public education and investment in special education, vocational education, and early education. She supports Medicaid expansion and the Children’s Insurance Program (CHIP) which together support many thousands of Yellowstone County residents and many tens of thousands of other Montanans who otherwise have no access to health insurance.
She understands Billings and the issues facing our growing city. She received a favorable rating from the Billings Chamber of Commerce for her understanding of and support for issues identified by the chamber as important to the many businesses in Billings that the chamber represents. Those issues include the local option, tourism funding, MSU Billings, tax increment financing, health care, and others.
McNally has worked hard for SD-24 in the Legislature for many years. She knows the issues, she listens, she cares. Please join me in voting to re-elect McNally.
Tobacco takes $81M toll on Montana's health
We are blessed to live in a remarkably free country and I am proud to have served as a U.S. Army paratrooper in Iraq and Afghanistan. Freedom, however, comes at a price.
For generations, big tobacco companies have invested billions in advertising designed to get young Americans hooked as smokers for life. Big profits for them has meant big problems for the rest of us.
My grandfather was a military veteran, a smoker, and we lost him when I was very young. Treating tobacco-related diseases among our Medicaid recipients costs over $81 million dollars every year. Tobacco-related diseases create massive liabilities for taxpayers through Medicare and for everyone who pays for private health insurance as well. By voting yes on I-185, you can help make sure that those who choose to smoke will pay for the health costs of that choice. By voting yes on I-185, you can also help encourage those who smoke to quit and save their family members from the pain of losing a loved one at a young age.
Williams will defend public land access
Ranchers: Kathleen Williams will work hard to prevent any transfers or privatization of public land. Many Montana ranchers rely on public land grazing. Transferring land to states (with the ultimate goal of sale to the highest bidder) will result in dramatic increases in grazing fees if the land even remains available for grazing leases. This would hurt ranchers, and the general public, because grazing is necessary on our public lands for vegetation and wildlife habitat diversity. Most ranchers throughout the west are not in favor of public land transfer or privatization.
Parents: Kathleen Williams is a strong supporter of public schools. She won’t allow public funds to be siphoned off for private schools. When my son attended a private school, his parents paid for it. That’s how it should be.
Recreationists: Rep. Gianforte’s record on public land transfer and stream access is suspect. Kathleen Williams is a strong public lands and stream access advocate and a water resources expert.
All Montanans: Kathleen Williams is the only candidate with a specific health care proposal. She will fight for health care and fair taxation for all Montanans, regardless of income level or social status. During her three terms in the Montana House of Representatives, Kathleen earned respect from both sides of the aisle for her ability to listen to all viewpoints, compromise when it made sense but always stand her ground on core values.
I urge you to vote for Kathleen Williams for Congress.
McGillvray proven, skilled leader
This November, voters of Montana Senate District 24 have an outstanding opportunity to send a conservative, wise and very experienced legislator to the Senate. Serving four terms in the House of Representatives, Tom McGillvray proved to be a skilled leader, and a champion of fair taxation and responsible state budgets. McGillvray is a stalwart opponent of those who would expand government on the backs of middle- and lower-income taxpayers. A successful small business owner for 27 years, McGillvray understands the devastating effects that uncontrolled government taxes (such as the business equipment tax) and excessive environmental regulation have on economic growth and job creation in Montana. An avid outdoorsman, McGillvray understands the importance of guarding public lands while at the same time protecting the rights of private property owners.
A devoted family man, he strongly advocates for the traditional family and the rights of the unborn. McGillvray believes the family is “the most important unit in American and Montana society.” He clearly demonstrated those beliefs as a legislator.
McGillvray is keenly aware of the importance of an excellent education for Montana kids when it comes to having the quality jobs and careers necessary for successful families.He believes we must protect Montana families from those who would weaken our laws against child predators, habitual DUI offenders, and identity thieves.
I have known McGillvray for many years. He is a true Montanan of impeccable character, absolute integrity and great wisdom.
Steven W. Pence
Tester's efforts help veterans
Matt Rosendale is on television stating that Sen. Jon Tester’s efforts to improve health care for veterans, amounts to “little stuff.” This kind of statement could only have been made by someone who is not familiar with the issues facing Montana’s veterans.
I am a Vietnam veteran who went on to serve for 35 years in the U.S. Army, the Montana Army National Guard, and the U.S. Army Reserve. I support Tester because he has never stopped fighting for veterans. In the last few years, Tester has passed 10 bills to make fixes at the VA that make health care more accessible for veterans. Included among these are: the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, which makes it easier for the VA to fire bad employees, and the VA Mission Act, which eliminates the cumbersome Veterans Choice Program and makes it easier for veterans to get health care from doctors in their communities. These changes are extremely important for Montana’s veterans, and contrary to Rosendale’s statement, Tester’s efforts to improve our access to health care is “big stuff.”
Please cast your vote to re-elect Sen. Jon Tester in November.
C. Milo McLeod
Tester jumping to conclusions
Well, folks, Sen. Jon Tester, has done it again, jumping to conclusions over allegations about Judge Brett Kavanaugh, just like he did when Trump nominated highly distinguished Admiral Jackson to be VA secretary, before the FBI can or could finish its investigation.
Tester will never support term limits even though Montana voters supported them and passed them years ago.
I am a third-generation Montanan like my wife and we are also 10th-generation Americans. I don't believe Tester supports strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, nor of our immigration laws. I am sure our founding fathers would grouse about Tester and his democratic values. Tester needs to go.
The only real groups he supports are veterans and his place in the "swamp." I think he values the "swamp" and the money he receives from it. I can't help but wonder if he is part of the "deep state" community in D.C.
I strongly urge you to vote against Tester. Tester has not been able to carry his home county of Choteau in his previous senatorial elections. This county is where my grandparents (both sets) settled in 1910-1915 to live and my mother's parents to homestead.
Independents and Republicans: Get out and vote. Tester doesn't deserve our vote when he pre-judges people and condemns them without evidence or before evidence proves otherwise.
McNally supports health care
Health care is a major issue for all. Lacking medical insurance, many don’t get essential care. Many go bankrupt trying to afford care. It’s no exaggeration to say that health insurance and medical care are matters of life and death.
The next legislative session promises critical decisions about Montana health care. Most important is whether 92,000 of our neighbors on Medicaid expansion will continue receiving care. If we don’t elect people who will fight for all of our health, many will suffer and some will die as a result.
Additionally, there is a desperate need to expand our state’s mental health care services. Montana tops the nation in suicides, yet, last year, our Legislature cut $95 million from the public health department.
That’s why I’m excited Sen. Mary McNally is running for re-election. McNally voted against the excessive cuts to mental health care; she knows our mental health system is in crisis and needs additional support.
Not only that, McNally understands the importance of health care on a personal level. As a cancer survivor, she knows what it means to live with a “pre-existing condition.” She also helps provide care for her mother, so she knows how critical quality health care is for our elders.
McNally is the right choice for SD-24. At a time when so much is at stake, McNally gets it. She knows how critical it is for Montana to have quality accessible health care.
In other countries, the state is god
Liberal Democrats concerned that God is too often mentioned here in the U.S. should move to Canada where socialism is well established. There is no need to fight with conservatives here in the United States about showing “In God We Trust” on our currency, the display of the Ten Commandments on public buildings or standing for the Pledge of Allegiance.
In Quebec, attendance in Catholic churches is down dramatically. Where in the 1950s, 95 percent of the population went to Mass; only 5 percent do so today. In Quebec, 527 churches have been closed/transformed. The state (provider of all good things) is now “god” in Quebec.
And in China, as of this year, no member of the Communist Party of China may have any personal religious beliefs. Ninety million members of the party must disavow and refuse to support any Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, Christian, etc., activity. Again, the state is god.
Probably this is what Obama was striving for when he announced in a speech in Turkey in 2009 that, “while we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.” His democratic values were never defined.
I-185 will help deter Montana youth from tobacco, vape products
I-185, the citizens’ initiative to protect the health of minors by increasing the cigarette tax makes sense. A high cigarette tax is the No. 1 deterrent to stopping kids from smoking. Preventing young people from using tobacco before age 21, helps their brains avoid tobacco-product addiction. It’s long been proven that people who begin smoking at an early age are more likely to develop a severe addiction.
Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in Montana and the nation. Health care costs for tobacco related illness does not go away. The funding from I-185 will help pay for the health care that you and I pay for in state-funded programs. The resources of tobacco users should pay for their health-related illnesses. Additional dollars from this tax will also pay for other health programs that help non-smokers. It has been argued that if less people smoke and buy tobacco products, then less will be generated. As a family physician who deals with lung and other smoke-related illness, I think that is great. Remember I-185 is not a sole funding source for the other programs that can benefit from the tax. That’s totally different than the confusing term of an unfunded mandate.
Do not believe the smoke-screen of ads paid for by Phillip Morris and RJ Reynolds. They have so far spent $7 million in attack ads because they know they will reap huge profits if Montana’s youth start smoking today and are addicted for years.
Remember, if you don’t buy tobacco products you don’t pay the tax of I-185.
I-185 will make cigarettes and e-cigarettes less accessible to high school and middle school students. Deterring youth from starting a bad habit with lifelong health and financial consequences will benefit all Montanans. Let’s pass I-185.
Michael Temporal, MD
I-186 threatens Montana mining industry
Montana used to be known as the Treasure State. But in recent years, there has been a noticeable shift. Out-of-state environmental groups have been pushing to get rid of mining in our state and advance their extremist agenda. From filing frivolous lawsuits to putting in place onerous regulations, these well-funded environmental activist groups will use any tactic they can to prevent Montanans from developing our natural resources.
And they’re at it again.
I-186 — their latest ploy to mislead Montanans — is an ambiguous ballot initiative that will stop future mining projects in Montana by upending our existing, strict permitting process that successfully balances mining with protecting our environment.
What’s worse is that the proponents behind I-186 have teamed up with EarthWorks — a D.C. based environmental extremist group — to force this ill-conceived initiative on Montanans.
If passed, I-186 will have serious repercussions for the future of Montana’s mining industry as well as our economy. Mining in Montana generates $199.4 million in annual revenue for state and local governments. These funds support teachers, local infrastructure, and provide critical public safety resources.
Mines like Hecla have been waiting for decades to receive a permit, and I-186 will do nothing more than add yet another hurdle for pending mining projects in our state.
We don’t need I-186, and we certainly don’t need these out-of-state groups meddling with Montana’s economy.
Vote No on I-186 to protect Montana’s mining jobs and keep the swamp-dwelling environmental extremists of D.C. out of our state.
Renew 6-mills for higher ed in Montana
I graduated from Park City High and am currently a junior at U of M, serving on the Associated Students of the University of Montana Senate. I am encourage all my fellow Montana citizens to get out and vote this election year, regardless of what party you align with. If you are not already registered, it is a very simple process and gets you on your way to fulfilling your civic duty.
One particular issue is coming up on the ballot this November: passage of the 6-mill levy. The 6-mill levy is on the ballot every 10 years, providing roughly $20 million to the Montana University System. This levy has been passed for the last 70 years and students across the state need your help to make sure it passes for the next 10 years.
This is not a new tax. If this levy fails, students could potentially face an 18-percent increase in tuition, roughly $1,200 to $1,300 per academic year. As Montanans, we should strive to have the best and brightest youth come forth out of our colleges and universities with wonderful educational experiences. Many graduates of the Montana University System stay in Montana and contribute to our local economies. Please join me in voting yes for the 6-mill levy this November!
Re-elect Vinton to House from Lockwood
I write to urge the voters in Montana House District 56 to re-elect Sue Vinton to represent to the Montana House of Representatives. Sue and her husband, Mike, have lived and raised their family in the district since 1996.
Sue volunteered countless hours as a member of the board of the Lockwood School District for 11 years, serving as board chair for over five years. She has worked over the years with a number of community organizations such as Eagle Mount and the Billings Downtown Exchange Club and served on a number of other boards including the Montana School Board Association Board of Directors. That experience, along with what she has learned over the years working as a paralegal and a small-business owner in the Billings community, proved invaluable last legislative session where she served as a member of the Education, Business, and Fish, Wildlife & Parks committees.
Sue brings tireless energy and an inquiring mind to the problems faced by the Legislature. Her clear-eyed search for innovative solutions which don’t overburden businesses or local government entities was a benefit in the last legislative session and will be an asset in the next. She has what we all should be looking for from our representatives in Helena. Please vote to re-elect Sue Vinton to represent House District 56 in the Montana Legislature.
Lind will represent Lockwood well
I am writing in support of Janna Lind for House District 56. Janna earned my support from her dedication to educating our youth while engaging a diverse student body; that diversity mirrors our population. She graduated from high school in Hysham, attended Rocky Mountain College, and has built a home in Lockwood with her husband and son.
I knew Janna first as student at Rocky, and now as a colleague at Billings West High. She has always been forthright, honest and direct in sharing her beliefs and opinions. The Holocaust Museum invited Janna to training one summer and the two of us presented teaching Montana history at the National Council of Social Studies. Janna proudly showed a national audience our cultural heritage and innovative ways of teaching its lessons. This led to other presentations on balanced use of Montana resources.
Having lived on ranches and in a small town, Janna understands the values and interests of rural Montana. Her election to the Lockwood School Board and the discussions concerning the construction of a new high school has given her insight into the funding of education. Janna lived and taught in Hardin for several years which has gave her an appreciation of the landscape — both geographic and socioeconomically. I have walked neighborhoods with her campaign, and I was awed at her ability to calmly and confidently talk to residents as a young professional. I encourage voters in Lockwood to choose Janna Lind — she will represent you well.
Elect McGillvray to state Senate
We have an opportunity this election to look a candidate in the eye when we need direct, clear answers to the challenges facing Montanans.
Tom McGillvray is that person, retired after more than 27 years serving individuals, small businesses, nonprofits and most importantly, families, all who rely on someone who understands business taxes, estate concerns, government spending, taxation and policies that affect Montana workers and businesses.
He proved his mettle during four terms in the House of Representatives (2005-2012). He was majority whip, deputy minority leader and majority leader. He served on the House Judiciary and Health and Human services committees.
Tom’s family is integral to who he is: husband, father of three, grandfather of five, married to Margaret for 42 years. This is the man who looks you in the eye and speaks with honor and truth. I can talk with experience about Tom’s love of the outdoors, but I like the strength of his inner values more.
Vote Renk for clerk of court
Throughout our many years of friendship, we have “agreed to disagree” on almost all things political. In general, Pam votes Democratic and Ruth Ann votes Republican. However, we have found common ground this election, and both wholeheartedly support Rex Renk for Clerk of the Supreme Court.
Our friendship developed from being coworkers for many years. Now both retired, we each worked some three decades for the Montana Supreme Court as judicial assistants for several associate justices and chief justices.
While we may not agree on other statewide races, we do agree that Renk is the only candidate with the knowledge, experience and qualifications to serve as clerk, having served as deputy clerk for over 23 years. During our tenure at the court, we worked with Renk on a daily basis. He was not only highly efficient with day-to-day operations of the clerk’s office, but was invaluable during the court’s transition from an outdated, paper-based case-tracking method to a 21st century electronic case management system tracking and organizing the court’s docket.
The Clerk of the Supreme Court appears on the ballot as a partisan position; however the duties and responsibilities are not. Experience and efficiency do not, nor should they, have a political party. Whether Republican or Democrat, you should vote for the best candidate. Renk is the best candidate, the only qualified candidate. We join in urging you to vote for Renk for Clerk of the Supreme Court.
Pam W. Hunthausen
Ruth Ann Popp
I-185 would help veterans
I am a proud Montanan and a veteran, and I support voter initiative I-185. About one in 10 Montanans is a veteran, one of the highest per capita representations among all the states in America. Including the less fortunate among us Montanans, an estimated 9,500 veterans stand to lose their current health care coverage through Medicaid if I-185 does not pass.
As a veteran I know first-hand the sacrifices made by those who chose to serve our country, and the least we can do is provide health care coverage to those who have given up so much for our country.
Internal documents show large tobacco corporations systematically targeted members of the military because they believed they were more likely to become addicted to their products. It’s wrong that so many service members have put their lives on the line for our country, only to bear the burden of increased risks of lung cancer, heart disease, chronic bronchitis and many other diseases related to tobacco use. I-185 will provide funding not only to help veterans kick tobacco, but also provide important health services including veterans suicide prevention programs. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ranks Montana first in the nation among veterans who have died by suicide.
Voters in Montana have an incredible opportunity to save lives and stand up for our military members who not only carry the wounds of war, but are continuing to fight for their lives because of Big Tobacco’s lies. A yes vote on I-185 is a vote for our veterans. I support I-185 and I hope you will too.
Drew working hard to earn votes
When I moved to Red Lodge 28 years ago, one of the first people to knock on my door was a guy named Alvin Ellis, who was making his first run for the state Legislature. I liked Ellis. He listened to my concerns and told me about his. I could tell he had integrity, and wanted to do what was best for the community.
At the time I had never voted for a Republican. But his Democratic opponent never knocked on my door, never gave me a sense of who he was or whether he cared about Carbon County. And I understood that in Montana, this is the way politics should work: you don’t vote a party line, or for a collection of policy platforms. You vote for a member of the community that you can trust to listen to you. I voted for Ellis and I’ve never regretted it.
This year, who has knocked on your door? In Carbon County, it may be Anna Drew, who’s making her first run for that same seat. The way Montana politics should work, I hope you’ll ask yourself, of Drew or any candidate, not “What party is she?” but “Do I like her? Does she listen?” I find Drew a likable, hardworking listener, and I predict that others will too.
McNally deserves your vote
Montana State Senator Mary McNally deserves re-election. She has worked to improve public education, infrastructure, health care, and non-profit organizations that provide vital services. She protects the interests of citizens in Senate District 24 and throughout Montana.
Through serving Billings as a volunteer Energy and Conservation Commissioner and as a board member of the Alberta Bair Theater, Yellowstone Public Radio and others, Mary has shown strong commitment to her community.
As a recently-retired Professor of Management from MSUB College of Business, Mary is ideally suited for her role as Chair of the Legislative Audit Committee. She also chairs the Energy and Telecommunications Interim Committee. Both these legislative leadership positions show the respect Mary’s colleagues have for her.
If you have met her, you know Mary is courteous, respectful and willing to listen to what you have to say. She is the same when she is in Helena — with colleagues, lobbyists, government officials, and the public. Mary makes thoughtful statements when she is in deliberation and her even temperament is exactly what’s needed in today’s conflict-ridden political landscape.
The Billings Chamber of Commerce gave Mary a favorable rating because of her support for issues that will advance the interests of the community. She also scored high with Montana Conservation Voters. Mary is a stalwart defender of public access to public lands.
I have known Mary McNally for years and can vouch for her integrity, commitment and her thoughtful approach to making public policy. I recommend her without reservation to the voters of Montana Senate District 24.
Get out and vote
It doesn't seem to be bothering anyone that our Montana tax dollars are going for security to guard the people coming in and out of our state to influence our votes. What the heck? Can't people make up their own minds without someone coming around from Washington to give us the heads up? What a waste of time and money. Dang, have they nothing else to do? I have plenty to do with my time and money here at home, doing my own job, and do not walk around in other peoples’ faces to get them to change their minds about who to vote for. Just get out and vote.
Get campaign signs off public right of way
As I drive around our county I take note of the "vote for me" signs that have been placed on our public right of way. I'm sure that the minions that placed them there intended to do good for their chosen candidate(s). However, these signs really get under my skin, and here's why: These public right-of-ways are not their property. This property belongs equally to every citizen of the state of Montana. The Legislature, on behalf of "the people," did not give you permission. You can look it up for yourself: Rule Title: Political Signs, Number: 18.6.246.
For the life of me, I cannot understand why none of our public employees, appointees or elected officials have brought this rule to the attention of the sign putter-uppers or to the persons whose names are on these signs. Could it possibly be because these folks feel they have benefited from signs such as these? If that is the case, it doesn't say much for these folks. So come on, the rules apply to everyone and we "people," who pay our taxes to provide you with these positions, deserve better.
Get out and, at least, make a token effort to get those signs off of the public's property.
Kelker works hard for Billings community
I am writing this letter in support of Kathy Kelker for re-election to the Legislature representing HD-47.
Kathy’s life and career have been marked by her passionate advocacy for children and families and for decent funding of public schools. She has been an educator at almost every level, from pre-K to college, as well as serving on the school noard of Billings Public Schools. I first met Kathy in 1990 when she was the director of Parents, Let’s Unite for Kids (PLUK), an organization that helped parents advocate for their children with special needs. I have admired her intelligence, compassion, organizational skills, and her selfless public service for years. Before taking her skills and experiences to Helena, Kathy was an assistant professor of special education at MSUB and then was executive director of Billings Head Start, retiring from that position in 2014.
Being a teacher myself, I especially appreciate Kathy’s efforts in the Legislature for funding programs that support both regular education and special education, as well as her efforts to try to fund preschool education in Montana. In addition to this good work, Kathy currently chairs an interim subcommittee on transparency in health care pricing. We are lucky to have her working on these and other issues in the Legislature. We need to return her to that job.
Tell us how vehicle fees are used
When I received my registration notice to renew my automobile license plates, I noticed the line that says registration fees, no explanation, just fees. The amount was over $200 and the county fees were over $140. I called Yellowstone County Motor Vehicle Department and no one there knew what the fees were for and gave me a number at the Helena motor vehicle office.
A nice woman there said she didn't know either but would find out. As it ended up, she had no access on her computer to get that information. Her supervisor gave me the same answer — no access.
Finally, I called our county commissioners office and Robyn Driscoll found someone who could help me. This person told me there is a breakdown in percentages of the fees. A certain percentage goes to several different areas.
Some dollars go to the general fund; highway patrol; and fish, wildlife and parks, etc. I did not write down all of the details, I just wanted to know generally where my money was going.
All of this got me to thinking that I cannot be the only one wondering about this. I think it might be a good idea for all the county MVDs in Montana to get these fees broken down into some sort of format and have them on hand so that when someone asks about the costs, they will have access to print or hand that taxpayer a copy. That would be much more informative than simply telling people what I was told, "They are fees, the money goes to the state. Why do you need to know?"
I have a 2015 vehicle and my total fees were over $375, and, yes, I want to know. I believe in paying my fair share of taxes — I just want an accounting of where my dollars go.
Candidates should campaign in person
I am so tired of the political campaigns. If it wasn't for my civic duty to vote, I'd walk away from politics, campaigns and voting entirely.
I'm tired of political TV commercials, political robocalls, political surveys, political signs, political billboards and political mail that keep showing up in my mailbox!
Do these candidates not know that no one believes any of the above things? Do they think the constituents are stupid? Little phrases, that are taken out of context, are supposed to be believed? Criticizing a candidate because they weren't born in Montana is insulting. Do these candidates not know that half the people in Montana are transplants, including me?
Enough! It's a waste of money. The meet-and-greet gatherings are the best way to win votes. People can ask questions and look into the eyes of the candidates. I realize we are in the age of technology, but what ever happened to knocking on doors to talk to people?
I'm not alone in my thinking, everyone I know feels the same way. I hope every candidate sees this letter so they will realize how their constituents feel.
Giuliano will serve Billings HD46 well
If you are reading this, you owe your literacy to an educator. I come from a family of teachers. It is a noble profession. Our future depends on our children's access to quality education. The saying, "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance," rings true. Our success as a nation will be in direct correlation to our ability to compete with other nations and their high standards of education. This starts at the state level. We need strong representation in Helena who will take an equally strong stance in favor of education. Dr. Anne Giuliano is this person. She is running for state legislature in House District 46.
As a physician, Giuliano is trained to first identify problems and then solve them, no matter how complicated. She will take this ability to Helena and work toward what she believes in. She is a proponent of education from grade school to graduate school and beyond. She will make a difference for you, me, our children, and our great state. Dr. Anne Giuliano will represent, "We the people of Montana" with passion and conviction, and above all else, with our best interests at heart.
Send Scanlin to Montana Senate
The coming election is an extremely important one and I recognize that we are a very polarized society, especially when it comes to our national politics. However, while we live in this wonderful country, we are more precisely residents of Montana and can certainly rally around some common issues.
Betsy Scanlin has chosen to focus on issues that are important to us all and will bring grace and inclusiveness to the process. I know Betsy and believe that she will do all in her power to help our towns and rural communities prosper and improve our quality of life by focusing on education and local services for young and elderly.
Betsy is a realist. She can be persuasive without resorting to extremist rhetoric and is always a good listener. These qualities will serve us well when she represents District 29 residents in the Montana Senate.
Don't be bamboozled by I-186 claims
The word “bamboozled” isn’t one we use often nor understand anymore. However, if I-186 passes we’ll get a darn good reminder of its proper use. Bamboozled means the use of a ploy, ruse or scheme to achieve a specific goal. An example would be, “Tom Sawyer 'bamboozled' the neighborhood boys into doing it for him.”
The proponents behind I-186 are presenting it as a much-needed solution, when in reality I-186 creates more problems than it solves. I-186 is a proposal to stop the future of mining in Montana that is being pushed almost entirely by out-of-state interests.
Why does this matter? Because these out-of-state groups are out of touch with Montana and don’t care if I-186 completely upends the balance between mining and protecting the environment that Montana has achieved. The only thing they care about is making sure they have a place to recreate and vacation.
This attempt to shut down mining in Montana is not a grassroots movement. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It’s a nationwide environmental activist effort, and if successful, will put restrictions on this state that will not only prevent future mining, it will have a serious impact on our state economy.
At this point campaign finance records indicate that nearly 75 percent of the donations to the I-186 campaign have come from out of state. Most of us don’t even realize we’re being misled — or bamboozled — just like Tom’s neighborhood friends.
Don’t be bamboozled. Vote no on I-186.
Ed Greef, Rep HD-88
Renk best choice for Supreme Court clerk
This autumn, I intend to vote a straight Republican ticket, except for clerk of the Montana Supreme Court. For this position, I will be voting for Rex Renk.
By some mysterious artifact of history, our Supreme Court clerk is a partisan race. However, the job must be, at all times, nonpartisan. The mosaic of Montana law contains variously shaped and sized tiles representing the diverse swath of people in this state. A good clerk of court, however, should pass without notice - like the dull grout holding the mosaic together. A good clerk should be sworn into office, and decades later, merit a small store-bought cake at 4 p.m. on retirement day, with maybe some Hawaiian Punch.
It is not an office of galas, pageantry or self-promotion. Like a great piece of machinery, it should largely go unnoticed. Renk is the fellow who will serve, as he has already, with a bland steadiness that keeps him out of the public eye so the machinery of the judiciary can work without the toxicity of needless partisanship.
Mark D. Parker
Don't tax tobacco, tax everyone
I have to laugh at columns like the one Mr. Loveless and Dr. Gibb wrote. It is safe to assume these men are highly educated, with multiple degrees, yet they feel comfortable making a statement (in writing!) like "...vote yes on I-185 to help Montanans keep their health insurance and prevent tobacco use ... ", apparently not seeing the conflict there. On the one hand, they want to help pay for health insurance. On the other hand, they want to discourage the use of the very product they are taxing to pay for the health insurance. Instead, how about putting the tax on something nearly everybody uses, to spread the tax burden across most of the population?
Why make it a nearly patriotic duty to buy tobacco products?
When the politicians put the previous $1 per pack tax on cigarettes, I quit smoking. I predict that if I-185 passes, more people will do just that, and the revenue will be nowhere near what they are predicting.
So, sorry, no, I will not vote in favor of a tax on a small segment of the population to pay for anything! Tax us all, or fugetaboutit.
Jon A. Poe
The mute button on my remote control is about worn out! I am so sick of the TV political ads that stretch the truth, make innuendoes and out-and-out lie so get votes! Enough is enough! I understand that in Canada politicians are only allowed to campaign for 11 days before the election. We need to do the same in the U.S. This had truly gotten out of hand and the money spent is ludicrous. It is wrong, as well, that the local city has to pay for big shot politicians coming in to campaign for candidates. Candidates’ campaigns ought to pay that bill, not the taxpayers! Let’s speak out and put a stop to this!
Barbara G. Karst
History will judge the GOP
This president is under criminal investigation and should not be appointing Supreme Court justices for life and his policies should be on hold until the investigations are complete.
Sen. Daines, Rep. Gianforte and the rest of the complicit GOP members of Congress know this and are acting like thugs during a riot, looting local shops and grabbing all they can until the cops show up.
Shameful. History will judge them and so should we.