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Letters to the editor May 12

| May 12, 2022 12:00 AM

Misleading information

It never ceases to amaze me how often people jump to conclusions based on false, misleading or just plain repugnant information.

Such is the case displayed in several letters attacking Flathead County Commissioner Pam Holmquist.

For instance, Commissioner Holmquist and other commissioners have been accused of permitting or approving of projects over which they have very limited authority. In most cases state and federal agencies are in control of these projects. Flathead County authorities have only pass through jurisdiction and authority. The preliminary requests, permitting and final approval are not under the purview of the County Commissioners.

There are many more misleading and false accusations in the letters, but one that stands out to me is the accusation that Commissioner Holmquist is under the control of some devious and controlling cabal. Those who make these statements either do not know Commissioner Holmquist or are purposely lying about her. In my discussions with her and observing her actions on the commission, I can assure you that she is a strong, highly principled woman and is not a puppet of any group or individual.

I would urge concerned voters to take the time to learn more about how county government operates and attempt to understand how jurisdiction and approval is legally distributed amo0ngst various governmental agencies. Also attend various public meetings and get to know Commissioner Holmquist for yourself.

Please join me in voting for Commissioner Pam Holmquist.

— Richard M. Griffin, Kalispell

Don’t be fooled

A vote for Ronalee Skees from someone who has appreciated all of the great work she does in our community. Ronalee has worked hard to provide for families in crisis, help seniors with Alz and had led with respect and integrity through a hard year of Covid.

Ronalee and Pam were not the cause of the county lock down, that was a state decision based on a national declaration of a state of emergency. To blame them for lock down is a mischaracterization and is not the truth.

Ronalee Skees is a conservative who listens to the people that she serves. On the health board and on the planning board I have seen Ronalee make the leadership decisions that I make her a true servant of the community.

Don’t be fooled by the lies of a few radical elements in our community. These lies are being spread by people who don’t have Montana values.

Ronalee is the real deal and will be a true conservative for you in Helena. A vote for Skees in the Flathead has been a solid vote in Helena.

— Frank Hammer, Lower Valley

Sprunger will preserve Montana values

Growing a small business in the Flathead Valley requires vision, patience and practical wisdom. I know this from my own experience building a farming operation and I’ve observed these qualities in my lifelong friend, Courtenay Sprunger.

Courtenay and I shared a pretty special childhood. We fed the critters, lassoed chickens from on top of the brooder house (we never got one, but we never gave up) and we built forts in the hayloft. Then, there was the battle with the barnyard roosters. Spurs out, they had us on the run until the day Courtenay turned and took a run at them. They scattered like marbles, and we never had trouble again.

Those same courageous, determined qualities have followed Courtenay for all the years I’ve known her — through grade school, high school, college and now as the owner of a successful business in this valley

The two of us share a lot of values, many of them formed during our childhood in Creston. Neighbor helped neighbor, “business relationships” consisted of a handshake and Montana was the best place to live. Though the demographics of this valley have changed since then time, I don’t believe that it means we have to change those values. That’s one of the reasons I support Courtenay in her run for the state legislature.

Like Courtenay, I feel strongly about preserving Montana’s way of life. It will take a visionary leader to preserve what we have while addressing our community’s growing needs. Over the years I’ve known her, Courtenay Sprunger has been a go-getter and a natural leader. I believe we need her fair-minded and respectful approach now more than ever; she would make an exceptional representative.

— Tryg Koch, Bigfork

Olszewski vs Zinke

The U.S. House race is largely about integrity. I have known Dr. Al Olszewski for a decade and can confidently say he is a man of integrity. He stands head and shoulders above his competitor as the consistently conservative pro-life, pro-election security, pro-Second Amendment candidate. Olszewski’s lifetime voting rating from the American Conservative Union is 88%, Ryan Zinke’s is 69%.

Al served as a flight surgeon in the Air Force for 13 years and was honorably discharged as a major. Zinke’s claim to fame is that he was a Navy Seal, but the truth is he was quietly censored for bringing Seal teams to Montana and misrepresenting their activities on his reports. Yes, he was Trump’s Interior Secretary for a season, but was forced to resign because of questionable personal dealings.

On Immigration, Al opposes amnesty and favors finishing the wall. Ryan says finishing Trump’s wall is too difficult and supports amnesty.

On election security, Olszewski supports requiring a photo ID. Zinke voted against requiring Montanans to present a photo ID and opposed efforts to verify signatures on mail-in ballots.

On life issues, Al has sponsored several key bills in the state Senate. Ryan claims to be 100% pro-life, but in the Montana Senate voted against three critically important pro-life bills.

On the Second Amendment, Olszewski holds an “A” from the NRA. Zinke voted to limit hunting rights for Montanans and to expand hunting options for nonresidents, while supporting limitations on gun ownership.

On residency, The Olszewskis raised their family in Kalispell – he will put Montana first. Ryan is a Santa Barbara resident using a hotel as his “residence.” Ryan will put California and Washington D.C. first.

Ryan’s financial support is primarily from the Republican establishment, while Al is supported by solid Montana conservatives.

— Dick Pence, Billings

Repke an honest candidate for PSC

John Repke has our vote for District 5 PSC. We have known John for many years. He has an extensive background in financial management and also brings the integrity and honesty that we appreciate in a public official. John

Repke has 40 years of successful experience in private sector finance, strategic planning, and organizational management. John has worked in oil and gas as well as in the environmental services industry. John’s education and experience make him the best candidate for representing Montanans who are serviced by the companies regulated by the PSC.

The PSC regulates privately owned utilities and other companies who have a monopoly position in the markets they serve. Ensuring that rates are fair requires diciplined analytical work based on an understanding of business finance, accounting, economics and statistics. Experience in these areas should be a pre-requisite for any candidate seeking a seat on this commission. Unfortunately, our current PSC commissioners do not possess the experience needed to regulate these utilities on behalf of the Montana public. And, there are serious questions regarding the practices, ethics, and disclosures of the current commissioners as articulated in the most recent state audit.

Our Public Service Commissioners are some of the highest paid elected individuals in Helena with an approximate salary of $110,000. We urge you to research and carefully consider which candidate is best qualified for this seat on the PSC.

We believe the PSC will benefit from John’s experience and honesty. We encourage you to vote for John Repke, PSC District 5.

— Mary Lloyd and Richard Harding, Whitefish

Pierson has earned our support

A few years ago the Montana people honored me by electing me their Secretary of State. I hadn’t realized until beginning my actual duties how directly and closely my office worked with Montana’s locally elected County Clerks and Recorders.

The two offices have in common that they keep and maintain vital records, without which local and state businesses couldn’t function. Both also conduct and oversee the process of elections, without which our representative democracy couldn’t function.

It is my observation, based on many years of perspective, that the Flathead County Office of Clerk and Recorder is exceptionally well run and highly proficient in carrying out its duties and responsibilities. The office has many highly capable and experienced employees, but it simply couldn’t serve the people as well as it does without a top-notch leader. That leader is our current Flathead County Clerk and Recorder, Debbie Pierson.

Sometimes I think people might not realize how good a public servant can be. In my long experience in government I visited many County Clerks’ offices and kept in close contact with them and their employees. In paying particular attention over the long term to the office of Clerk and Recorder here in Flathead County, I can say without any equivocation that our Flathead County Clerk and Recorder, Debbie Pierson is one of the best if not the best in our state. She has certainly earned our confidence and support in the upcoming primary election.

— Bob Brown, Whitefish