Saturday, September 19, 2020

Election mail bag Aug. 6

| August 6, 2020 1:00 AM

Senator Steve Daines has often been critical of federal judges who “legislate from the bench,” in his words, but apparently legislating from the bench is perfectly acceptable as long as it suits his ideological goals.

Daines recently expressed his support for a lawsuit currently before the Supreme Court that seeks to invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act. If the lawsuit were to succeed, Montana’s Medicaid expansion (which Daines has voted to undermine) and protections for 152,000 Montanans with a pre-existing condition could be lost.

Of all the lawsuits Senator Daines could be on board with in the middle of a global pandemic, he chooses the one that would rip healthcare coverage from the most vulnerable of our neighbors when they need it most. He didn’t get his wish to repeal the Affordable Care Act in Congress, so now he wants the Supreme Court to do his work for him.

I’m hopeful the Supreme Court will choose to protect the thousands of Montanans with pre-existing conditions that are covered under the Medicaid expansion signed into law by Gov. Steve Bullock. But in the meantime, we should focus on choosing a new Senator — one who will work harder to expand access to affordable health care than our current senator does to sabotage it.

—Lynn Stanley, Kalispell

As a proud gun owner and sportsman, the most important thing I consider before supporting any candidate is if I can count on them to defend our 2nd Amendment rights from the barrage of attacks from the socialist-left and their allies in the media.

Matt Rosendale is a fellow gun owner, a hunter and a lifetime member of the NRA. For him, this issue is personal. Matt will oppose any attempt to confiscate guns or add restrictions of any kind on the sale or use of a firearm.

Matt believes that there is no ambiguity in “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” That’s why Matt is the only candidate for Congress who is “A” rated by the NRA.

President Trump has even said that Matt Rosendale will “never let our [2nd Amendment] go unprotected.” We can count on Matt 100% to defend our God-given right to bear arms.

The same cannot be said for Democrat extremist Kathleen Williams who is in favor of gun confiscation, and every draconian restriction on gun ownership the left can dream up.

That’s why I truly believe this will be one of the most important elections in my lifetime and why I urge every freedom-loving Montanan to join me in supporting Matt Rosendale for Congress.

—Marty Pigeon, Stevensville

It has been over a decade since Howard Dean admitted why there was not one word of tort reform in “ObamaCare.” It had everything to do with money grubbing by trial lawyers. Thanks to the Democrats and Steve Bullock, this glaring fault in Obama’s efforts to nationalize our health care remains firmly in place.

It is estimated that tort reform in our medical system would save 25% on medical costs. Doctors would no longer have to practice “defensive medicine” to protect themselves from one of the Democrat’s largest donors — trial lawyers. Indeed, it was reported by the Center for Responsive Politics that 97% of political contributions from the nation’s trial lawyers go to Democrats. Blocking any hope of reform is in the Democratic Party’s interest, and in Steve Bullock, Democrats swimming in cash know they have a reliable ally.

Despite a hypocritical plea made in April that “Democrats need to focus on getting big money out of elections,” Steve Bullock recently collected $628,000 from law firms to support his Senate campaign. Another $7 million for Bullock’s campaign has been raised through Senator Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama as they purchase his loyalty to their agenda — an agenda of enriching themselves and the herd of professional arguers profiting off the medical needs of America’s citizens.

We can do better, and we have a Senator in Steve Daines who will not be fighting for New York attorneys. Vote Steve Daines in November, and put the citizens in charge instead of the lawyers.

—Cynthia Waterman, Big Arm

Do you ever have the feeling that folks running for office think that we don’t pay attention to the news?

As a regular reader of the Daily Inter Lake, here are a couple of observations to make my point:

Steve Daines’ campaign is running a commercial that implies that somehow Governor Steve Bullock “steered” some lucrative state contracts to his brother. If this were true, does anyone doubt that one-time Republican gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Tim Fox wouldn’t have brought criminal charges against the Governor? Seems to me that this didn’t happen because it’s not true.

Or, Greg Gianforte’s commercials taking Mike Cooney to task for supporting the gas tax increase. Perhaps Gianforte doesn’t want to remind anyone that it was actually the Republican leadership in the Legislature that championed the increase in gas taxes!

And, now that Daines is firmly against China’s role in global affairs (even though he made his fortune there working for an American corporation that eliminated 4000 jobs here at home), why didn’t Daines join his fellow Republican Senators – like Chuck Grassley of Iowa – in pushing back on the President’s tariffs against China because of their devastating impact on American agriculture, especially in Montana?

Yes, the silly season is upon us, and some folks are trying to snow us.

—Scott P. Plotkin, Kalispell

Over the last 30 years I have had the opportunity to serve the Flathead community in a number of ways, including serving on the Kalispell City Council for 14 years, and serving on numerous boards. My focus has always been on seeking practical solutions to the problems at hand.

For the last six years I have lived in the North Fork, in House District 3. I have gotten to watch our current representative Debo Powers serving her community in many ways. This includes participating in the collaborative work of the Whitefish Range Partnership which succeeded in establishing a sustainable yield of forest products and preserving high quality recreational opportunities in the Flathead National Forest. Having been a public school principal, Debo knows how to keep the reigns on multi-million dollar budgets. Like me, she considers herself a problem solver — not an ideologue.

This current election has been dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 virus. Unfortunately, this has placed our local candidates at a great disadvantage in terms of going door to door and participating in candidate forums. I would ask that my fellow constituents in House District 3 — whether living in Columbia Falls, the Canyon, or the North Fork — take the time to become acquainted with Debo, as you will find her experience, values and willingness to comprise a welcome and refreshing relief in this era of divisiveness. Please take a few minutes and I’m sure you will find her a most worthy candidate to continue to represent us in the November election.

—Randy Kenyon, Polebridge

Students should be our number one priority when it comes to education. That is exactly what Superintendent Arntzen has done. Her philosophy is, and always will be, students first.

Elsie is a mother, grandmother and retired teacher. She knows from firsthand experience what is best for the students of Montana, and that knowledge and passion have guided her decisions during her current term as our Superintendent of Public Instruction. Elsie has worked tirelessly to increase graduation rates, improve test scores, and keep the schools accountable to the Montana taxpayers. As a retired teacher myself, I know how important these are for our children and their future.

I have known Elsie for several years, both as a friend and legislator. I have witnessed her dedication, hard work, passion, and love for her students in the classroom. I know she has applied these same attributes as our Superintendent. Please join me in voting to re-elect Elsie Arntzen as our Superintendent of Public Instruction. I have no doubt but what she will continue doing what is best for the students and taxpayers of Montana.

—Rep. Peggy Webb, R-Billings