Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Sheehy’s plan to defund Homeland Security would be disastrous

by John Muhlfeld
| May 2, 2024 12:00 AM

As one of the few Montana mayors near the northern border, I know what it means to keep our communities safe. When politicians start to talk about their plans for our border patrol agents and the security of our state, I pay attention.

That’s why when Republican Senate candidate Tim Sheehy recently called to defund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), it caught my attention. Anyone who has met with local officials and law enforcement in a border town — the southern and the northern — would understand what a catastrophic idea this is. The DHS is our nation’s first line of defense — without the DHS, we would not have any of the resources needed to secure the border. 

In Flathead Valley, our local governments and law enforcement agencies work hand-in-hand with our counterparts at the DHS. Sen. Jon Tester secured key resources for Flathead Valley through Operation Stonegarden Program, a grant funded by the DHS, which allowed Flathead County and Whitefish police departments to hire more police officers and fight drug trafficking. 

The DHS seized more than 500 pounds of fentanyl and nearly 3,000 pounds of methamphetamine last year — stopping deadly drugs from ending up on our streets. DHS border patrol agents work alongside our local officers to curb the drug crisis and save lives. 

While creating safer communities, the DHS also provides well-paying jobs in Flathead Valley and spurs our local economy through tourism — Tester makes sure of that. When President Joe Biden’s administration tried to reduce resources for our northern border, Tester fought back. Tester secured more staff and full hours for Montana’s points of entry, ensuring that the DHS continues to bring new jobs to our community and keep our border secure. 

So when Tim Sheehy claims the DHS is “not needed” and could “go away,” he is dead wrong. His disastrous proposal to defund the DHS would only hurt Flathead Valley by cutting our police departments, increasing drug trafficking, and weakening our economies. 

Tester has never faltered in his fight for border security and securing wins for Flathead Valley. This November, I will be voting for Senator Tester — he’s the only candidate I trust to keep Whitefish safe.

John Muhlfeld is mayor of Whitefish.