Political Perspective

A Response to Greg Larson

“Would you vote for Nancy Pelosi?” asks Greg Larson in the October 12 edition of the Montanian: Larson makes the assumption that a vote for Monica Tranel is a vote for Nancy Pelosi, which is in large part an accurate assumption. In order to be consistent and not hypocritical, one could ask, “would you vote for Kevin McCarthy (House Minority leader)? One could accurately assume that a vote for Ryan Zinke would be a vote for McCarthy as well. This apparent hypothetical however is not the focus of this particular missive. The ballot in America is a secret one, and I am in no way obliged to answer to Greg Larson.

What is of concern to me are the “talking points” that Larson spews out that lack thoughtfulness, solid research, or originality for that matter.  Let us examine just a few of the reasons proffered up by Larson to vote against Tranel or any Democratic candidate: (1) “Media censorship of conservative thoughts.” This preposterous claim is subject to ridicule, and demonstrates a lack of “doing ones homework” on Larson’s part.  In fact, the data is clear that Fox News is the first cable news network to finish No. 1 for twenty straight years! Over that time period, Fox News garnered 226,000 adult viewers per day (ages 25-54), while CNN was watched by 101,000 and MSNBC by only 74,000. Furthermore, research shows that conservative radio networks outnumber liberal ones by a whopping 2,000 to 50 across the span of the United States. “Media censorship of conservative thought?” Really!  (2) “Critical Race Theory?” Where is the proof that any Lincoln County School District is teaching “Critical Race Theory?” As they say, “the proof is in the pudding,” but not a shred of “pudding” is offered by Larson.  (3) “Federal Agency Corruption?” Is Larson referring to his preferred candidate, Ryan Zinke? People of privilege in these cushy high-ranking government agencies don’t just walk away from their jobs for no reason! (4) “Misinformation?” you say? Where is Kelly Ann Conway with her “Alternative Facts” theory that permeated the land for 4 divisive years? (5) “Dishonoring law enforcement?” Can I assume Mr. Larson is referring to the events of January 6th?

On the other hand, I highly commend Mr. Larson for his “immorality” concerns! I’m assuming he was referencing a former prominent political figure who remarked, in 2009, to an “Access Hollywood” host that the way to treat women is to grab them by the genitals (I’m paraphrasing), and in reference to Fox News Megan Kelly after a debate, stating that “there was blood coming out of her wherever!” Furthermore, the pro-life Georgia Senate candidate, Herschel Walker has been accused of coercing his former girlfriend into having an abortion (also in 2009), requesting that she have a second one, and is the father of one of her children. Walker has shown little regard or responsibility for the children he has fathered, and in fact his conservative radio host son recently stated that he (Walker), “has lived a life of destroying other people’s lives; so you don’t get to pretend that you’re some moral family guy.” So let us dole out the “immorality” issue in equal measure, although Mr. Larson hasn’t offered any specifics!

While there is much to criticize about the current administration which is the norm during any political season, a more measured assessment of the current race between Tranel and Zinke offered by Senator Mike Cuffe in the same October 12 edition would be much more effective in making a convincing argument for Mr. Larson’s candidate of choice. Nowhere in his diatribe does he (Larson) offer convincing and positive evidence that Ryan Zinke would be the most effective choice for Western Montana. Instead, he offers the same tired old dated slogans that intend to sow seeds of discord amongst the body politic, ones that many Americans have grown weary of, and are a disservice to the Republican Party. In the end, Monica Tranel is not going to win in Lincoln County, nor will any Democratic Party candidate. However, she may garner enough votes to make the race an interesting one, District-wide.

Surely we can all do better, Greg?

Submitted by Tony Smith of Troy, Mont.

Protecting Our Children

I am writing in response to a big red and white banner in a prominent downtown Libby window.  It reads:  PROTECT OUR CHILDREN  VOTE REPUBLICAN.

It kind of hit me the wrong way, so I checked on some proposed laws in the 2021 Montana Legislative session that would have gone a long way toward protecting our children.  You can do the same by using the Montana Legislative website: https://leg.mt.gov.  You can also find out how your Lincoln County Legislator, Steve Gunderson or Neil Duram, voted on that website.

YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH AND SUICIDE PREVENTION: HB 369  would have made 5% of the funds already generated by taxes on alcohol purchases available as grants to smaller Montana school districts like the ones in Lincoln County.  These grants would have made it possible for these districts to participate in a school-based mental health promotion and wellness program that is being used in larger school districts that can afford it.  This program is designed to “build resiliency in youth and lead to reductions in serious mental illness, chemical dependency, and suicidality”.  It has been “cited as effective by peer-reviewed research or literature”.

HB 369 passed the House Human Services Committee 17-2.  It FAILED on the Republican-controlled House floor by 49-51.

SCHOOL BREAKFAST AND LUNCH PROGRAMS: HB 69 would have reimbursed school districts for the funds they would have collected from low-income families as co-payments for reduced-fee breakfasts and lunches their children ate at school.  Thus, low-income families that didn’t qualify for free meals would not have had to come up with money before their children could have school-provided meals.  And, it would have eliminated the administrative costs for the school districts.

Consideration of HB 69 was requested by the Legislative Education Interim Committee .  However, it failed in the full Education Committee which has a majority of Republicans.  It did not come up for a vote on the House floor.

PROTECTION OF CHILDREN AT- RISK FOR ABUSE OR NEGLECT: HB 274, the Family Preservation Act, would have helped families who were at risk of having children removed from the home because of child abuse or neglect.  It was designed to prevent the added trauma for children of being separated from their families while also protecting them from potential abuse or neglect.

HB 274 also died in the Republican-controlled Human Services Committee without coming to the House floor for a vote.

That’s just 3 bills in the Montana State Legislature.  At the Federal level the first things that come o my mind are expanded Child Tax Credit and Free School Lunches for all children.  They significantly contributed to reducing child poverty and hunger while in force.  Republicans opposed the continuation of both measures.

Now, please tell me how Voting Republican protected our children in these important ways.

Submitted by, Donna Martin, Libby

To Preserve our Way of Life we Must Preserve our Public Lands

In my years as a wilderness advocate, I’ve come to profoundly appreciate the values we derive from the public lands around us. There are, of course, the products and incomes provided by drilling, mining, logging, and grazing. But more important than such commercial uses are the benefits we all freely enjoy: the opportunity to hunt and fish, the protection of watersheds and stabilization of climate, and the preservation of an untrammeled natural world.

But we can’t assume public lands will always be here. The development pressures are intense, and we need leaders who will resist them. I’m supporting Monica Tranel for Congress because she’s such a leader. She’s a Montanan who knows that to preserve our way of life we must preserve public lands. She knows that they belong to all of us, and should not be sold. And she believes that public wellbeing should outweigh corporate interests.

As Interior Secretary, Monica’s opponent Ryan Zinke opened public lands to commercial exploitation by oil, gas and mining corporations. He still works for those interests, and those close ties mean that he will not be a guardian of public lands and interests. But Monica Tranel will be, and she deserves your support.


Submitted by Dale Harris