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Voter Guide: 2020 general election for Eastern Montana
special report

Voter Guide: 2020 general election for Eastern Montana

Each candidate was asked to answer these five questions. Their answers were limited to 100 words each and are presented verbatim. 

1) COVID-19 has hurt Montana’s economy. Montana’s Legislative Fiscal Division projects a 13% drop in revenue to the state general fund this fiscal year, while economists don’t expect a return to pre-pandemic growth levels until 2022. The current governor has suggested that reserve funding can cover the loss, though Republican leaders have called for budget cuts. What budget steps do you think are needed to deal with this recession’s impact on state government? Would you support tax increases to balance the budget and maintain current government services? In the alternative, what government services would you cut to make the budget balance? If you intend to cut taxes, tell us what changes to government spending would be needed to accommodate both your tax cut and the current revenue slump.

2) On Nov. 10, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the California v. Texas, a case concerning the Affordable Care Act. The case is rooted in ACA’s individual mandate, but could undo the entire law, or parts of it, including federal funding for Medicaid expansion. What would you as a legislator do if federal funding of Medicaid expansion was eliminated? The state would become responsible for full funding of the expansion program if the federal government backed out. Roughly 90,000 Montanans have enrolled in the expanded program. Montana’s health care businesses benefit from Medicaid expansion spending. Explain the outcome of your decision on both Medicaid patients and the health care industry.

3) Earlier in the pandemic, two Montana legislators asked that small businesses and health care providers receive immunity from liability lawsuits related to the spread of COVID-19. Nothing came of the request, but the issue isn’t dead. How you vote on the issue in the Legislature? How would you balance the interests of businesses with public safety? Would you condition liability waivers on businesses to taking certain steps to avoid spreading the virus?

4) Montana faces an energy economy crisis. Its biggest energy customers in Oregon and Washington are banning coal power. Out of state power plants that burn Montana coal are also planning to shut down in the next few years. What should the Legislature do? What steps would you take to keep Montana in the energy export business, or should the state get out?

5) Explain one concern your constituents have told you about that you will attempt to address as a legislator. Tell us what you intend to do.

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Ballots for November's general election, which includes the races for president, governor, U.S. Senate and the state's lone U.S. House seat, among a host of other contests, will be mailed out Friday. 

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