Family: Married, wife Cynthia; son, Erik, and two grandchildren.
Occupation: Retired high school teacher and small businessman
Background: Taught high school government and economics for 42 years (retired from Flathead High School 2009). Served on the Montana State Board of Public Education (appointed by Governor Judy Martz , 2001-2008), served as U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke’s Northwest Montana Field Director (2015-17).
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 be the priorities be in the state budget in the next legislative session?
A. The Montana Constitution requires a balanced budget for every legislative session. As I was not in the 2017 Legislature, I cannot speak to the priorities of that session. However, the allegedly required budget cuts were later determined to be significantly less because of the Trump economic policies that restored the American economy to its normal robust growth. The priorities of every state of Montana budget should be to provide the essential services of government while keeping the taxpayers’ burden as light as possible.
Q. Do you support a sales tax or other tax increases as a way to shore up the budget and increase revenue?
A. The French philosopher Frederic Bastiat once said, “Every time government undertakes to perform something good, it must first do a wrong.” By that he meant that whenever government does something for someone, it must first forcibly take the money from someone else. Consequently, increasing taxes or creating new taxes without first eliminating all fraud, waste and abuse currently within the government would be immoral in and of itself.
Q. Montana’s Medicaid expansion program is set to expire in 2019. Should the state renew this program?
A. I refer back to the previous quote of Bastiat. Medicaid expansion was part of the discredited Obamacare program. It mandated an enormous burden on the taxpayers of Montana. It also robbed funds from Medicare. What could possibly go wrong when a program takes funds away from our seniors and gives it to able-bodied younger people so they can have cheaper healthcare? It is an illegitimate use of governmental power when Legislatures pick winners and losers for political gain.
Q. Which other issues would you like to see addressed by the Legislature?
A. As a potential freshman legislator, I do not presume to claim to have the foresight to predict all the hot-button issues that must be confronted. Education, health and human services, corrections, infrastructure, property taxes, etc., must all be dealt with in a short period of time. I believe that we will have a successful Legislature when we get a bi-partisan budget signed by the governor.
Q. Why are you the right choice to represent your district?
A. As a former teacher at Flathead High School, many of my constituents will be former students. I watched them grow, tried to educate, empower and encourage them fulfill their dreams. They know that I believe to the roots of my soul that the purpose of government is to “Protect the rights of mankind.” That means protecting the rights of all of our citizens; the young and old, the big and little, the rich and poor, the strong and the weak, the born and the unborn, the Democrat and the Republican. I believe and taught that America is more than a name, more than a location; it is an idea. An idea founded on the God-given rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that every generation must work diligently to “protect and defend.”