Education: Attended FVCC, then studied at University of Montana until joining the Air Force in 1985.
Occupation: I’m 100 percent disabled so I haven’t worked since 2009.
Background: Served in the U.S. Air Force from 1985 to 1991. Ran Classy Cabs Taxi Service in Columbia Falls for six years. Ran for Justice of the Peace in 2006 and for the Legislature in 2010 and 2012.
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: What I understand is that there was quite a bit of misappropriating by Gov. Bullock’s office involving their $200 to $300 million; $100 million of it he brought back when the Legislature had to go into special session, but apparently everybody seems to be fine with it. I’m not. I think that when you have misappropriation like that and you turn around and cut funding for the most needy, the disabled, like myself, as well as other programs for the less fortunate, putting these nonprofit organizations in quite a bind. No. 1, we’ve got to finally figure out what to do about the general fund, so people can’t just dip into it whenever they feel like. Also, it seems that because of improper land management, our state has suffered wildfires like we’ve never seen before. The problem with not defending our natural resources is that there will be those who want to destroy our natural resources and that costs a lot of revenue and manpower.
Q: Do you support a sales tax or other tax increases as a way to shore up the budget and increase revenue?
A: No, I’m against the sales tax. Anytime government puts a tax or a levy — a Band-Aid on the people — it never goes away and it only increases. They can’t even appropriately handle the money that is being brought in as it is without misappropriating or doing all sorts of foolish things. We have to be very careful of how we dole out taxes to the people. The people are overtaxed in one area and under-represented in other areas.
Q: Montana’s Medicaid expansion program is set to expire in 2019. Should the state renew this program?
A: The Medicaid expansion program that was looked at in the last Legislature I think got tabled. Why it got tabled, I’m not exactly sure, you’d have to ask your representatives. But the Medicaid program has been good for the people in the state of Montana. It should be a state issue, not a federal issue. Our representatives should know what is best needed for the people of Montana. On the surface, yes, it should be renewed, but I’d have to look more closely into why it’s been tabled and why things are going in that direction.
Q: Which other issues would you like to see addressed by the Legislature?
A: A complete repeal of unconstitutional provisions in the Montana code annotated, such as 39-71-411, provision of exclusive remedy. No one should have exclusive anything in a country where we’re all equal. The last amendment to that was nothing more than a Band-Aid on a hemorrhaging and everybody knows it. Secondly, Montana code annotated 30-10-305 “injunctions and other remedies — limitations on actions.” That one has been temporarily postponed until 2020 to give the state the opportunity to make the term auditor switch over to commissioners and businesses not be fined $5,000 per violation but $20,000 per violation of their constitutional rights. That’s what it amount to. That’s insanity. How many small businesses can take a $20,000 hit because they’re exercising their constitutional rights to defend their business or themselves?
Q; Why are you the right choice to represent your district?
A: I believe I’m the right choice to represent our district because I have a good sense about how to make government work for we the people instead of we the people work for the government. I have a long history of making sure that our government does the right thing on behalf of the people, and they didn’t like that — the issue of the statewide public defenders program, in terms of accountability for money coming into the state, and many other issues on the local level. Justice of the Peace was not and should not be a partisan prerequisite position for those who have law degrees. If an individual, whoever they may be, can show empirical evidence of standing before those that are officials to get access to a court of law, they should not ever be denied access, redress, grievance, remedy, relief or any other constitutional rights that anyone else in the country enjoys, but we don’t here.