Thursday, November 26, 2020
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Election Mail Bag Nov. 1

| November 1, 2020 12:00 AM

Larson will listen to medical professionals

The recent Flathead County Commissioners’ statement on mask wearing is both shameful and damaging to the well-being of our community.

Covid-19 numbers are rapidly rising in Flathead County. Following CDC guidelines and the governor’s mandate is imperative if we are to protect our most vulnerable citizens.

The commissioners should be leading by example, and they are not. They have been holding maskless meetings, even though the governor’s mandate gives a strict directive to wear masks in government offices. This is endangering the lives of county employees and all the citizens wishing to provide their public input on county decisions.

Tying “Constitutional rights” to this pandemic is inconsistent with other public health laws we already have in place such as prohibiting smoking in public places, not texting while driving, wearing seat belts and wearing shirts/shoes in restaurants.

The temporary requirement to wear masks during a pandemic to slow the spread to others is not a violation of anyone’s rights. True patriots make these small personal sacrifices because they recognize the importance of protecting the broader community.

If you agree, consider voting for Kristen Larson for Flathead County Commissioner. She will support CDC guidelines as a tool for changing the trajectory of Covid-19 in our community. She supports keeping our local businesses and schools open, and she will listen to the medical professionals who are saving the lives of our community members.

—Teressa Whitney, Somers

Bullock not up to snuff

Have you ever seen or heard more advertising for office than is being done in Steve Bullock’s case? There are ads in every conceivable form and he’s easy to promote with his good looks and “I’m just your average guy” talk. 

However, my dad (Henry Byrne, 1899-2000) used to tell me, “Sis, watch out when somebody goes overboard trying to sell you something ... take a second look and you’ll find it’s not what it’s cracked up to be.”

Actually the phrase Dad used was “you’ll find it’s not up to snuff” but I think that phrase, along with the honesty and integrity of dad’s generation are lost to many.

—Lois Lyford, Kalispell

Bullock wins on health care

Steve Bullock worked to pass and reauthorize Medicaid expansion in Montana which expanded healthcare to more than 90,000 Montanans. Governor Bullock invested in Montana’s mental health system and increased access to telemedicine. Steve Bullock believes we need to build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Steve Daines voted consistently against the ACA, which was a vote to deny healthcare at affordable prices to thousands of Montanans. Daines voted to deny healthcare at affordable prices to Montanans with pre-existing conditions. He voted against Medicaid expansion that supports thousands of Montanans and supports our rural hospitals facing severe financial circumstances.

Daines supports a lawsuit before the Supreme Court that would invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act. Daines supports confirmation of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee before the election, which is an additional vote against improved healthcare through the ACA when the court hears the lawsuit (to invalidate the ACA) on Nov 10.

Steve Bullock’s and Daines’ records on healthcare are dramatically different. Vote for access to healthcare at affordable prices. Vote for Montana’s rural hospitals. Vote for Steve Bullock for Senate.

—Ron de Yong, Kalispell

Knudsen backs law and order

We need an Attorney General who will take our Montana values to Helena. Former Speaker of The House and county prosecutor Austin Knudsen will always back our law enforcement, defend the Constitution, protect our 2nd Amendment rights, safeguard our private property rights, reduce excessive government spending and champion policies that keep our economy going strong. 

Austin’s opponent Seattle Raph Graybill is a scary left-wing extremist who has never prosecuted a case, supports defunding the police, abolishing the second amendment, and wants to rapidly grow Government.

Eastern Montana native Austin Knudsen who shares our Montana values or Seattle Washington outsider Raph Graybill? The choice is clear.

Join me in voting for Austin Knudsen as our next attorney general.

—Braxton Mitchell, Republican candidate for House District 3

Will be voting for Larson

As I write this letter I wonder when the last bit of decency will vanish among the people of America and among Montanans as well. I always thought that the people of Montana cared about their fellow man and were willing to pitch in to help out when need be. However, this sentiment seems to have disappeared.

Witness the recent article stating the position of our County Commissioners on wearing a mask during this pandemic. They say that they “support the Constitutional right of Montanans to make choices about personal protection for themselves and their families”.

Another recent article pointed out that a physician in a public health capacity similarly stated that there was a constitutional right not to wear a mask and even went on to state that to require children to wear them amounted to child abuse.

Maybe these wise public figures can enlighten me and others just where it is in the constitution that you don’t have to wear a mask and that you can endanger the health and life of your fellow citizens. Is it in the same part that says you can drive drunk or not wear a seat belt?

This ridiculous notion that everything the government does is a constitutional infringement is the mantra of the day but it is without merit. No one likes to wear these masks and I can’t wait until we can do without them. But really. Is it such a big infringement on your freedom? Is it that important to you to go maskless and endanger the health and life of the elderly or the medically susceptible among us. When the medical science clearly states that this virus is airborne and can linger in the air that we breathe, it clearly is the height of selfishness to insist that your right not to wear a mask trumps the health or life of one who may die from your behavior.

And to think that we have three commissioners who support this unfounded notion of a constitutional right during this pandemic is depressing.

This was not intended to be an endorsement of anyone or meant to be a political statement but I have to point out that we need to change the complexion of this county commission.

I will be voting for Kristen Larson who not only supported the 70% of county voters to stop the water bottling plant, while the commissioners did everything to negate the will of the voters, but Larson also pledges to face issues with an open mind and work across the political divide and get things done for people in this county.

Let’s all think a little beyond our own selfish interests and behaviors and do the right thing for those who need us to do that.

—David Eychner, Kalispell

Blame Bullock

Really! Our hospitals aren’t ready for the surge of coronavirus cases? They certainly should have been as everyone knew once we opened up, we were bound to have more cases. The fault lies squarely on the back of Governor Bullock.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone these cases have risen particularly to our governor as he has access to all the information necessary to be able to ascertain this inevitable situation. In addition, he has had control of over a billion dollars sent to him from the first virus bill months ago. Instead of sitting on that money he should have been giving it to our hospitals and other health care facilities while giving them a “directive” that they must expand their capacities in preparation for this obvious and unavoidable state of affairs.

But our governor has hidden out in the Governor’s Mansion and, except for occasionally issuing directives, has remained curiously silent during these last few months being content to concentrate on his political campaign instead. It’s an obvious case of dereliction of duty and proves he is not a leader, just a typical bland politician trying to further his own political career. And who suffers? The most vulnerable as always.

Governor Bullock has absolutely no excuse for the lack of preparation in anticipation of this surge of Covid cases. But his lack of foresight and inaction which has created this “crisis” certainly has made

Senator Daines the clear choice for Montana’s U.S. senator seat.

—Mark Agather, Kalispell

Second Amendment

There’s nothing safer than a gun-toting Democrat! In response to Colin Sellwood beating me to respond to Jeff Larson’s letter on Oct. 5. I applaud you Colin for speaking up. Let’s throw these corrupt A+ and F ratings out the window and use common sense. I could rattle on all day about AR-15s and high-capacity rifles. We really don’t need them. In fact they are such a low caliber weapon that they would mostly be used for hunting small vermin. I want Montana’s to know that you will never lose your Second Amendment rights. The only way that will happen is if you have them taken away by committing a felony or being mentally unfit. Why would you protect the rights of those individuals to bear arms?

My uncle Leonard, God rest his soul, ranched and farmed 20,000 acres in Eastern Montana beginning before the Great Depression. He had 186 guns! My God he must have been mad right? No, he was a Montanan that lived off that land. You had a gun for ducks, geese, rabbits, bird, deer, antelope, moose, coyote, or skeet. He even had a 2-gauge shotgun. Two guys might be able to pick it up. It was used for commercial geese hunting. All of those guns are now in a museum in Circle at the Macone County Museum.

So why am I telling you this? The reason is you can be an avid sportsman and hunter without 30-50 rounds in your clip. Of all my uncle’s guns none held more than the allotted amount of shells or bullets allowed.

So again vote Democrat, buy a gun, do some target shooting and rest assured that a murderous felon has not been able to purchase a weapon.

—Jon Reinemer, Kalispell

GOP endorsements

Lincoln County has strong representation in the Montana Legislature.

Please vote to return Rep. Steve Gunderson to House District 1 and Neil Duram to House District 2. This is the first time I won’t appear on the ballot in 10 years, as I am a mid-term holdover in the Senate. The three of us make a good team.

Please strengthen our work through election of Greg Gianforte and Kristen Juras as governor and lieutenant governor. Our state definitely needs the business and congressional experience of Greg Gianforte.

Keep Sen. Steve Daines in office. He is a strong proponent for our natural resource usage and public land access. His opponent has blocked mining and hurt our economy, along with his DEQ director who has argued against some disbursement of asbestos cleanup money to local residents.

Vote for Matt Rosendale for Congress. He is a strong fiscal conservative with a proven record of statewide public service and Montana values. The difference between him and his opponent is vast, check out her legislative voting record on second amendment issues.

I personally know all of the Republican candidates, and strongly endorse:

Austin Knudsen for Attorney General who was our Speaker of the House twice, and an experienced private attorney and public prosecutor;

Christi Jacobsen for Secretary of State, who I worked with regularly as deputy Secretary of State.

Elsie Arntzen, for Superintendent of public Instruction, who did a super job her first term. Put flags in every classroom is one current project, and she was a mentor to me in the legislator.

Troy Downing for Auditor, the only candidate with experience and a background of successful business and military combat.

Jennifer Fielder, my senate seatmate this term, will make a great Public Service Commissioner. I also served with her on Consumer Council Committee which deals with matters before PSC. She is tenacious, thorough, and smart.

We also have two county officials seeking reelection, all have done well. I back Mark Peck for commissioner and Tricia Brooks for clerk of court.

In the nonpartisan races, Laurie McKinnon served us well her first term, and I will vote for her, and also for Jim Shea, who has no opposition.

—Sen. Mike Cuffe, R-Eureka

Election issue

Why would anyone vote for a person who believes it is alright to kill a baby. I wonder why abortion has not and is not the most important issue in any election. I have not noticed anyone speaking about this issue as to who does or does not support abortion.

—Randy Britt, Kalispell

Time for change in Helena

The Gianforte/Juras ticket for governor and lieutenant is a significant one. Not only will we get a smart business man and gifted professor of law, but will “hire” a duo who will make significant appointments to our boards and agencies.

Director choices in state agencies are the front line workers to make sure Montanans have a voice and active listener to what works in small business across the state. If any of you have been put off by kick the can when calling Helena you know exactly what I mean.

Some of the biggest frustrations I have dealt with in my tenure are people with licenses trying to get through the system when there is obstruction on the other end. The licensing boards touch every phase of our lives--from permitting, hair cutting, safety issues and dozens more.

Appointments to head agencies (DEQ, DPHHS, FWP, etc.) and licensing boards falls on the governor. We certainly need some changes in Helena that I know will be resolved with a vote for the Gianforte/Juras ticket. Make sure your vote counts for our new leaders.

—Sen. Dee Brown, R-Hungry Horse

Bullock understands complexity of democracy

I went to college with Steve Bullock. He is a little older, but same major: politics, philosophy and economics. Same professors at a fairly conservative school. Not “value voters” conservative, but “old-school” fiscal conservative.

Our professors taught how our philosophical positions impact the creation of policy and the growth of the economy — both the financial well-being of individuals and the national economy. What are the possible unintended consequences of a well-meaning policy? What are the long-term impacts of free trade agreements or tariffs that tax your own citizens? What does the Constitution allow and the founding fathers expect? We studied Adam Smith, both his his belief in the importance of free markets and his acknowledgment that free markets would not solve every societal problem. We took positions and defended them with facts and logic. A weak link was always brutally exposed. There was no such thing as a “one-issue” discussion of right and wrong. It was complex. It was clear that running the government was not the same as running a business. Businesses exist to make a profit. The goal of government is to ensure that businesses can make a profit, citizens receive equal justice under the law, and to provide for the common good of the nation.

I am voting for Steve Bullock. For government to run effectively, it requires leaders who understand the inter-connectedness of philosophy, policy and the economy. He understands the complexity of this democracy that we value and the importance of the institutions that protect our system of checks and balances. He knows the importance of a free market, but does not think it solves every problem. He loves what makes Montana special and will take our values and work ethic to D.C. He will represent all of us and do it well.

—Kim Morisaki, Kalispell

Montana, don’t pay the bills in Illinois

I do not want to pay the bills in Chicago, or Illinois. If you vote for Mr. Bullock or Kathleen Williams, that is exactly what you will be doing. If they get elected, they will vote to bail out Illinois. I moved from Chicago to Montana so I wouldn’t be subject to the ridiculous corrupt economic lunacy that they believe are sound accounting practices in Illinois.

Montana ranks 16th with $2,100 debt per person. Illinois ranks 49th with $52,600 debt per person. Illinois owes over $666 billion, not million, billion with a capital B. Do you want to pay that debt? Bullock and Williams will vote for bailing out all the fiscally irresponsible states because they will owe Pelosi and Schumer for getting elected.

Don’t be fooled by political rhetoric. Only because of Republicans in the state legislature does Montana have an excellent AA bond rating. Because of Democrats, the Illinois bond rating is one level above junk status.

If you don’t want to pay the debt of other states irresponsible behavior, vote for Mr. Daines and Mr. Rosendale. It is imperative that Montana sends Republicans to Washington.

Seriously, are we going to send politicians from Montana to pay the bills in Illinois and top it off by voting to pack the supreme court with justices that will take away our 1st and 2nd amendment rights? I am not on board for that. You shouldn’t be either.

If you haven’t voted yet, or registered, get up and vote for Daines and Rosendale and all the other statewide republicans on the ballot and keep Illinois Democrats out of your wallet. You can register and vote even on the day of the election, it’s easy, just bring your ID.

—Rich Penhaligen, Butte

Clear choice

It’s incredibly helpful that Steve Daines, who is running for U.S. Senate here in Montana, and Greg Gianforte, who is hoping to become our next governor, have tied themselves directly to President Trump. It makes our choices clear in 2020.

If you agree with President Trump that members of the U.S. military are “suckers” and “losers,” then vote for Gianforte and Daines.

If you want to cut our health care coverage in the middle of a pandemic, then vote for Gianforte and Daines.

If you believe President Trump bears no responsibility for 225,000+ Covid-19 deaths here in the U.S., then vote for Gianforte and Daines.

If you’re convinced that losing millions of jobs is a good thing, then vote for Gianforte and Daines.

If you think it’s OK that President Trump lied to us about the severity of the pandemic, then vote for Gianforte and Daines.

If you believe that Nazis and the KKK are “very fine people,” then vote for Gianforte and Daines.

If you’d rather listen to Vladimir Putin than our U.S. intelligence agencies, then vote for Gianforte and Daines.

If it’s OK for a president to order the arrest and prosecution of his political opponents, then vote for Gianforte and Daines.

If you support a president who pays $70,000 for haircuts and has a secret Chinese bank account, then vote for Gianforte and Daines.

If you’re good with Russia putting bounties on U.S. soldiers, then vote for Gianforte and Daines.

On the other hand, if you’re a patriotic American who hates what Trump, Daines and Gianforte are doing to Montana, you should vote for Steve Bullock and Mike Cooney in 2020.

—Todd Tanner, Bigfork

Vote for leaders who will solve climate change

As a pediatrician in Kalispell, it’s my job to warn my patients about health risks. That’s why I joined thousands of doctors and nurses from every state to sign the “Dear Patients” open letter to America’s patients (https://tinyurl.com/y43qkrz6).

It warns our patients, and our communities that your health is on the ballot this November.

We are in a climate health emergency. Although the particular illnesses vary by region, everyone is at risk. In my practice over the past five years in Kalispell, I have seen worsening asthma and respiratory illness from more frequent and larger wildfires caused by hotter and drier summers than ever before. We must transition to clean energy and reduce emissions substantially within the next decade.

The good news is that clean energy will provide enormous health benefits immediately, by cleaning the air we breathe.

Vote in November for leaders who will solve climate change. A vote for climate is a vote for your health and the health of those you love.

—Dr. John Cole, Kalispell

I know the real Gianforte

I know Greg Gianforte! A lot of people think they know Greg Gianforte because of the things that they’ve seen on TV, but the real Greg Gianforte is one of character and strength, and someone who I would be proud to call Governor.

Greg has made a name for himself as a successful businessman, but many people don’t know that his philanthropic work has had a tremendous impact on Montanans across the state. And Greg has already pledged to donate his salary as governor to various philanthropies across the state, which is to say nothing of the already generous donations he has been making.

Greg is also a deeply devout man. His passion to run, to live up to the calling of selfless public service, and to improve the lives all of Montanans, is why he runs. He has learned a lot from his many successful business ventures, and now he wants to make Montanans the beneficiaries of that knowledge.

If you haven’t already voted, check your mailbox. Please join me in voting for a great man with a great vision of Montana. Vote Greg Gianforte, and return your ballot today.

—Sen. David Howard, R-Park City

Don’t take the chance

I can not believe that Montana voters would risk the Constitution by allowing court packing of the Supreme Court. That would lead to destruction of the Bill of Rights.

No more First or Second amendments. Court packing was done on Turkey and Venezuela. Look how they are controlled. You would allow Chuck Schumer to run over Montana citizens.

Would Steve Bullock vote for statehood of Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico? Would he vote to end the Electoral College? These both would destroy Montana’s voice the country.

Voting For Steve Bullock would forever change and damage the Constitution and the country. Can you take that chance? Vote for Steve Daines.

—William Hagen, Bigfork

Dems very hypocritical

I find the Democrats in Montana so very very hypocritical.

As a full-time year round resident of Polebridge religiously twice a week for several weeks now — our mailbox is flooded with campaign mailers.

It appears that what the Democrats main points of attack in several races is to raise doubts about Republican candidates values.

Matt Rosendale the Republican candidate for Congress is often referred to as Maryland Matt — because that is where he was born and worked for many years. I guess being a rancher in Glendive for nearly 20 years and being elected to several offices in Montana where he has always served with distinction shouldn’t matter — he’s really an out of stater. So Democrats want you to vote against him.

Greg Gianforte our elected Congressman who is the Republican candidate for Governor moved here 25 years ago starting a tech company that created over 1,000 good paying jobs for residents of Montana. That doesn’t really mean anything to out of state Democratic campaign consultants who constantly refer to him as New Jersey Greg. Once again the underlying message is that he is an out of stater who hasn’t been raised with the values of true Montanans. So Democrats want you to vote against him.

So how does that square with Democrats pushing the candidacy of Debo Powers in HD3. Records show that she didn’t register to vote in Montana until 2017 —didn’t get a Montana drivers license until 2017 —never paid state income taxes until 2017 if then. Democrats say vote for Debo she’s one of us.

As if that isn’t bad enough records show that her campaign is being financed by very liberal contributors from all around the country —most of whom I’m guessing don’t even know where the North Fork is.

Hypocritical!

—Joe Novak, Polebridge