Party: Republican, incumbent
Education: Bachelor of Science degree in business, University of Montana, 2005
Occupation: Owner, Stillwater Sod Corporation
Background: Kalispell Planning Board member, Montana Small Business Compliance Assistance Advisory Council, Lighthouse Christian Home board member, Montana Special Olympics volunteer, Montana Right to Life member, National Rifle Association, Montana Family Foundation.
Q: A slate of budget cuts were made in 2017 to address a $227 million shortfall caused by less than anticipated revenue and an expensive fire season. What should the priorities be in the state budget in the next legislative session?
A: It is unfortunate that Montana has lost revenue with declining timber sales, and now we have to use so much of taxpayers money to put out the ever increasing fires. It’s a double negative hit to Montanans’ pocketbook, and that is on top of losing air quality and impacting our precious summer days. We need to prioritize healthy management of our natural resources. Quality management provides better habitat for wildlife, increased access for sportsmen, increased revenue for essential services, and the positive list goes on.
Q: Do you support a sales tax or other tax increases as a way to shore up the budget and increase revenue?
A: The first place to look when there is a shortage of tax dollars coming to Helena is NOT in the pockets of Montanans. The first question to ask is how is the current tax money being spent? One example of poor management of your tax dollars is the state run medical clinics. These, free of charge, clinics are operated with your tax dollars and are only for state employees. State employees who have great, taxpayer funded health insurance plans. These clinics exists just so the state employee does not have to pay a minimal co-pay or wait in line with the rest of the public at the community hospital. A $6 million a year waste of your money.
Q: Montana’s Medicaid expansion program is set to expire in 2019. Should the state renew this program?
A: Medicaid expansion is costing $87 million a year to the state, and growing. That is on top of all your federal taxes spent to subsidize it. There is no work requirement or drug testing. There are thousands of single, able-bodied adults that are enrolled. There is no means testing. Adults that are worth hundreds of thousand of dollars on paper but show no income can enroll. It is stealing resources from those that the program was meant for. Those of you who have suffered from recent state budget cuts, part of the problem lies with Medicaid expansion taking away from the vulnerable. It does however provide millions to big hospitals; big hospitals that are paying CEOs over a million dollars a year while increasing the cost of services. It is time we bring the patient back to the center of the Medicaid/Healthcare conversation. So I am pro-patient, pro-taxpayer, no to Medicaid expansion.
Q: Which other issues would you like to see addressed by the Legislature?
A: I heard over 800 bills last session. The issues get voluminous and complicated, but the ones I always like to see are the ones that return power and freedom to the people of Montana.
Q: Why are you the right choice to represent your district?
A: I believe in people not politicians. It is Montanans that make this state great. Born and raised here in the Flathead, I will fight for a small efficient state government that serves you, not the other way around.