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Letters to the editor Oct. 31

| October 31, 2022 12:00 AM

A new voice for Montana

The best candidate for the new western congressional district is Monica Tranel. I am voting for her because she is a Montanan who has made it her goal to find out what the majority of Montanans are concerned about. She has traveled over 40,000 miles throughout the state to towns big and small to talk to ordinary middle class Montana citizens to find out what their concerns are. She understands their important issues. Monica was raised on a ranch in Eastern Montana and had nine siblings. She lives in Montana and raises her children here.

With Monica Tranel Montanans can be proud of their congressional representative again. As former Republican Gov. Marc Racicot and Republican Bob Brown have stated, “Monica’s life is marked by strength, integrity, hard work, and a genuine concern for the people she so ardently wishes to serve.”

Join me in voting for a new voice for Montana, Monica Tranel.

— Kathy Slonaker, Lakeside

The fair and independent choice

The election for justice of the Montana Supreme Court is between current justice Ingrid Gustafson and attorney Jim Brown. Brown’s career has been as a lobbyist for big corporations. I do not think he can be trusted to suddenly change his spots, and be entirely fair to working people, the little guy in a suit against a big corporation. Brown the lobbyist has never argued a case before the Montana Supreme Court.

Justice Ingrid Gustafson the other hand, has lots of experience as a judge. She was first appointed as a district court judge in Billings by Republican Gov. Judy Martz in 2004. Ingrid was elected to the Montana Supreme Court in 2018.

The trick to being a good judge is to be able to be neutral and fair and follow the law, regardless of who the parties to the particular lawsuit may be. Justice Gustafson has a reputation for being fair and independent. Just as many Montana voters are independent, so is justice Gustafson. She does not attend Republican or Democrat campaign events. Brown attends Republican campaign events, which is against the independent tradition for Supreme Court candidates.

There is another issue in the race: a woman’s right to choose what is done with her body. The Montana Constitution has a specific right of privacy in it. In 1999 the Montana Supreme Court ruled that this right of privacy includes the right to abortion, in some circumstances. Brown opposes this, and supports forced birth. Most Montanans oppose forced birth, and support a woman’s right to choose.

Justice Ingrid Gustafson supports a woman’s right to choose. Yours sincerely.

— Jon Heberling, Whitefish

Fake Republicans

RINO, or “Republican in Name Only” is a term that’s too-often used to describe Republicans who aren’t unequivocally on board with every policy position emanating from D.C. Intra-party debates are healthy, and discounting the arguments of those you disagree with won’t lead to a productive solution. However, in the case of Marc Racicot and Bob Brown, the term is apt.

The former governor and secretary of state have emerged from obscurity, as they seemingly do every few months, to endorse Monica Tranel and trash Ryan Zinke’s character. Despite being poorly-written and even more poorly-argued, their letter makes one thing clear: Marc Racicot and Bob Brown are not Republicans, and they haven’t been for a long time.

The last time Racicot was in office, Bill Clinton was the president and Sept. 11 was just another date on the calendar. The last time Brown was in office, the iPhone hadn’t been invented yet. Just because they once donned an “R” next to their name doesn’t mean they should hold any sway in today’s Republican party.

Racicot endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016, Joe Biden in 2020, Independent Gary Buchanan in Eastern Montana and now a liberal Democrat in Western Montana. He also endorsed Ingrid Gustafson over James Brown for the Montana Supreme Court. Bob Brown endorsed Steve Bullock in 2020 and voted for Joe Biden. There’s nothing remotely “conservative” or “Republican” about these candidates.

The Tranel campaign is touting these endorsements as evidence that Republicans are souring on Zinke. Montanans won’t fall for that. When someone repeatedly tells you who they are, we listen. At least Racicot and Brown got the headline they desired!

— Leslie Whitman, Missoula

Retired judges support Gustafson

We strongly support Justice Ingrid Gustafson for re-election to the Montana Supreme Court. We have known Justice Gustafson for almost 20 years, first as a fellow District Court Judge and then for the five years she has served on the Montana Supreme Court.

We have always known Ingrid to be fair and impartial, approaching each case with an intense analysis of the facts and the law, and never losing sight of the impact of her decisions on those involved. She does not have and has never had an agenda, nor favored one person or group of people in her decisions.

Justice Gustafson’s opponent has absolutely no judicial experience and, in fact, it seems from his public presentations and advertisements that he places no value whatsoever on legal experience. Instead, it appears from Mr. Brown’s advertisements that he is running against President Biden, but his feelings about the president are totally irrelevant to this race for the Montana Supreme Court. Judicial races are, by law, non-partisan and Mr. Brown’s campaign is clearly partisan.

He has offered no evidence that he has the temperament and ability to adjudge the most important and complex legal cases affecting all Montanans.

We encourage you to compare the two candidates’ legal and judicial experience and qualifications and vote for the candidate who will serve the people of our state with integrity, Justice Ingrid Gustafson.

— Stewart E. Stadler, retired 11th Judicial District judge; Katherine R. Curtis, retired 11th Judicial District judge

Give Holmquist another term

I have known Pam for quite a few years. I had a conversation with her before the campaign. I asked her how she makes decisions.

I was impressed with the thought and research she puts into her decisions. She may talk to an attorney, accountant or other professional so she knows she has done her best making the decision. Pam is fiscally responsible and a natural problem solver.

If I hear of a controversial decision that the commissioners have made I contact her and ask about it. She is always one phone call away.

If you have any questions for her before you vote, call or email her at the county commissioners’ office.

In our conversation she said she wants to give the people six more years. I encourage you to honor her request. I will.

— Joi Gratny, Kalispell

Zinke’s priorities

There are many reasons to vote for Ryan Zinke. He believes in borders, he knows that this out of control spending by congress and the current administration has to stop, he knows killing fossil fuels is not the answer for the planet, he knows that girls should compete against girls in sports, he knows parents matter in education and he knows Montana.

He knows inflation with its high gas prices and high food prices is hardest on those that can least afford it and he knows we can’t afford this crazy increase in the cost of housing. My daughter just built a house. In the five months it took to build the mortgage interest doubled. The cost of building a house has also doubled. How is she going to afford that?

The current administration is out of touch and Congress is on a spending spree that won’t stop. While the price of gas eats more and more of our family check book his opponent thinks we are in a perfect place to kill fossil fuels. Ryan believes in a balanced all of the above energy strategy.

Sending a Democrat back to Washington D.C. is not the answer.

Vote Ryan Zinke.

— Susan Lake, Ronan

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