Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Election mail bag Oct. 24

| October 24, 2020 12:00 AM

Lies and fabrications

The Montana Democrat Party sank to a new low when they sent a mailer to HD 3 voters trying to link Republican Braxton Mitchell to white nationalist Richard Spencer. Newsweek reported that Mr. Spencer has endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president. Telling blatant lies and fabrications to tear down an opponent is reprehensible.

The only extremism that Braxton Mitchell has is his love for Montana, Columbia Falls and the U.S. Constitution. Maybe that is what the Democrat Party is afraid of.

­—Keith Regier, Kalispell

An independent mind

Braxton Mitchell’s Oc. 18 letter stated that he embraces the doctrine of an organization he’d been introduced to in high school, Turning Point USA.

Braxton is running on the Republican ticket against incumbent Democrat Debo Powers for the House District 3 seat. TPUSA inspires him because of the untruths spouted by Democrats calling TPUSA misogynistic, bigoted, racist, and homophobic. I quote: “. . . The typical labels that Democrats have used in recent years to attack anyone or anything that doesn’t fit their narrative.”

Lambasting the Democrats for a mailer aimed at him, he said: “. . . They used these labels and claimed I was the chapter leader of an organization that has ties to and promotes racism, that I’m radicalized by extremists pushing a hateful agenda, and then also tying myself to white supremacy for being actively involved in TPUSA . . . This goes beyond politics, this is an attempt to derail my candidacy and destroy my name as an everyday citizen. . .”

Braxton, open your eyes. Republicans shoot this same negativity against opponents. Consider the lies spread by President Trump. Would you speak against his untruths?

My point, though, isn’t to say who’s the rightest. I’m fearful of these well-funded social organizations teaching young people to abhor differing points of view. Vitriol spewing from all sides won’t solve social messes: health care, decent jobs, homelessness, racial inequality, saving our planet, defeating COVID, and on.

I see none of these issues headlined on the TPUSA website. I do see one-sided political indoctrination.

I’m sorry Braxton, that you’ve been hurt by the nastiness. Politicians need a thick hide. You could do some good for Montana if you set an independent mind to it.

­—Bonnie Smith, Columbia Falls

Powers’ stance on taxes

Campaign flyers for the two candidates running in House District 3 showed up in my mailbox on the same day last week. One from Debo Powers, paid for by the POWERS FOR THE PEOPLE campaign, simply encouraged us to vote and mail our ballots no later than Oct. 24.

Meanwhile, her opponent’s flyer, paid for by the Montana Republican Central Committee, Mike Hopkins Treasurer (no relation), warned in bold letters, “Democrats like Debo Powers want to (then in red letters) TAX EVERYTHING IN SIGHT.”

This nonsense from the MRCC got me wondering if Hopkins has read Debo’s positions on taxation, bulleted on her web page. These include her commitments to: “a property tax circuit breaker that would adjust property taxes based upon the ability to pay, with the deferred taxes paid once the property is sold; making out-of-state corporations pay their fair share of taxes in Montana ... by implementing income reporting for multi-national corporations that also earn money in Montana; (and taxation) based upon the ability to pay, which is achieved through graduated rates.”

As to that last point, Debo says, and I agree, when those in the top brackets don’t pay their fair share, middle- and lower-income taxpayers end up paying the difference. Debo also opposes a state sales tax.

How governments, and how much elected officials, tax citizens is a crucial debate. As a former mayor of Kalispell and city manager of Columbia Falls, I also know that truthfulness about collecting the public’s money is essential for an honest discussion.

Debo has smart, common-sense plans for funding the essential public services we in Columbia Falls, the North Fork, and the Canyon rely upon. We need her wisdom, experience and leadership in the Montana Legislature. We also need honesty about her positions, not misleading rhetoric.

­—Roger Hopkins, Columbia Falls

Bullock on crime

Steve Bullock is pure politician.

From 2012 to 2019, violent crime in Montana increased 55%. Aggravated assault and rape went up 60%. In all cases, Montana’s rate per 1,000 residents surpasses the national average.

Additionally since Bullock has become governor, he has the distinction of being the first governor since 1980 to surpass the national average for property crime for five straight years. What a hideous and embarrassing record.

Bullock tells you he is there for Montana, he supports law enforcement, and he is working for Montanans. He tells you he is protecting females against sexual crimes. Balderdash! The opposite has been demonstrated to be true.

As for his problem solving skills, Montana is now one of the three worst states in the nation for COVID-19.

Bullock is purely political. He gets his picture taken, buys votes with taxpayers money, and thinks he should be a U.S. President.

Bullock, on national TV, said he backed packing the Supreme Court. Voters need to look at who they are voting for. Do you believe the claims made in ads supported by dark money now flowing into the state crucifying Senator Daines and other Republicans, or are you interested in facts?

Vote intelligently. Don’t allow moneyed out-of-state interests pick Montana’s next Senator.

­—Larry Ashcraft, Polson

Health care the top issue

This is the 10th presidential election I have the honor of voting in. I already cast my vote via the safe, organized mail-in system that Flathead County has once again utilized.

I have spent 30 years working in the health-care sector not as a provider but in leadership roles supporting providers and advocating for access to affordable quality healthcare for everyone. As a Medicare Specialist, I’ve helped seniors and veterans navigate the turbulent waters of the healthcare system. I hesitate to say I am a single-issue voter but health care is without question the most important issue to me and to my family.

The expansion of Medicaid championed by Governor Bullock has been a godsend for Flathead County and saved rural healthcare. As a fiscal conservative who has served three terms as an elected official, I can attest to the fact that Medicaid expansion makes great financial sense. It provides access to quality affordable healthcare while also creating and supporting sustainable careers that pay a living wage and can support a family.

The protection of Medicare and Medicaid Is unequivocally on the ballot this November. If health care is as important to you as it is to me and my family I am more than confident to share my support and endorse Steve Bullock for Senate and Kathleen Williams for U.S. Congress. If you have any concerns about health care or pre-existing conditions please make no mistake that Kathleen Williams and Steve Bullock are your champions and their opponents or not.

Let’s put politics aside when considering the issue of health care. The facts are the facts, and the fact is that their opponent’s fail the test to support access to affordable quality health care and protecting pre-existing conditions period. Please vote for Kathleen Williams for U.S. Congress and Steve Bullock for U.S. Senate. They will both be strong and independent champions for all Montanans!

—Jim Driscoll, Kalispell

Inform yourself on LR-130

This Legislative Referendum 130 was brought about after city of Missoula attempted to preempt state law regarding the private sale of firearms in Montana. They wanted to require a background check for any firearm sold privately in Missoula. The state attorney general filed suit and eventually the Missoula regulation was struck down by the Montana Supreme Court. The basis of this decision was primarily around the pre-emption laws, whereby a county or city is unable to circumvent existing state laws.

The 2019 Legislature, after taking a closer look, decided to tighten up restrictions on what were considered loopholes in the current law relating to concealed carry. Montana issues concealed carry permits after a thorough background check, including fingerprints and a face to face interview at the office of the county sheriff.

This change to the law was approved by the 2019 Montana Legislature but vetoed by Governor Bullock. Our governor was running for the Democratic presidential nomination and was trying to gain traction with the anti-gun rights wing of that party. The Legislature introduced a simultaneous law that triggered LR-130 in case the passed legislation was not enacted into law.

Voting against LR-130 will not allow cities and counties to regulate private sales. To say it will keep felons, illegal aliens and all kinds of spooky people from purchasing firearms is completely false. It will stop cities that try to restrict concealed carry.

One can argue the merits of the state law, but the place to change that is in the Legislature and not a city council.

You can get into detail about this at the Montana Shooting Sports Association website at mtssa.org and do a search for LR-130. It is well worth the effort. Inform yourself.

Vote YES on LR-130.

­—Dale Roach, Bigfork

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