In the People's Interest

Candidate Commentary: Cooney, Bullock vs. Daines, Gianforte, Trump

Cooney has earned trust, best choice to lead state
I have known Mike for 40-plus years. From listening to his band at high school dances to skiing at Lost Trail pass, working for the Sheriffs Association and his term as our lieutenant governor. Mike has worked hard and dedicated his working life to the people of Montana.
Mike served as one of the youngest members of the state Legislature. He served in the state Senate and president of the state Senate. He served at the Department of Labor. He was elected secretary of state. And currently serves as our lieutenant governor.
Mike’s experience and knowledge of the issues combined with his passion and love of our state make him the logical and best choice to lead our state. Mikes demonstrated ability to work with both sides of the aisle has been seen repeatedly throughout his career. Listening and building consensus to solve problems to everyone’s benefit. Mikes calm and decisive decision making demonstrate his ability to lead the state of Montana.
Mike has earned our trust and our votes to serve as governor of our state. Please join Diane and I when we vote for Mike Cooney.
Jim Cashell

With health care, Daines putting party above state
Last year Republicans across several states filed a lawsuit to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Recently Trump filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to side with the Republicans and
eliminate the ACA. Steve Daines has offered only token comments about the importance of reforming our health care legislation. On numerous occasions he’s voted to repeal the ACA. He never has offered ideas on what should take the place of the ACA, nor has he offered any solution for the 150,000 Montanans who rely on the ACA for their health care insurance and to protect them against claims being denied because of pre-existing conditions.
Daines has had many chances to show that he cares about Montanans more than his party bosses and special interests. He could have against the repeal of the ACA. He could have supported one of the proposed bills to improve the ACA. Instead, he’s offered typical politician double speak that amounts to nothing.
Now Daines is facing someone, Gov. Steve Bullock, who for eight years has fought for better health care for Montanans. It’s time to rid ourselves of Daines and send someone to Washington who will represent Montanans rather than party bosses in D.C.
Lyndy Caine

Recovering from Trump will be a massive challenge
When Donald Trump ran his “Drain the Swamp” campaign against Hillary Clinton and President Obama, he was never specific and never cited a specific instance of corruption or lobbyist influence in the administration. He just made the unfounded charge. But, upon arriving at the White House, Trump proceeded to fill the government with incompetent, unethical sycophants and lobbyists. It didn’t take long before the corrupt department heads Richard Cordray (CFPB), Ryan Zinke (Interior), and Scott Pruitt (EPA) were driven from their jobs for their abuse of office. Others with conflicts of interest remain, including Wilbur Ross (Commerce), Steve Mnuchin (Treasury), Sonny Purdue (Agriculture), Ben Carson (HUD), Elaine Chao (Transportation), and William Barr (Justice).
Lower on the scale with conflicts are Seema Verda (Medicaid), Scott Angelle and Doug Demenech (Interior), Rachel Brand,(Justice), Steve Censky, Brooke Appleton and Kailee Tkacz (Agriculture), and Nancy Beck (EPA).
The self-dealing corruption of Trump himself and his waste of government funds (golfing, etc.) are so odorous that they mandate further investigation and indictment. Even more disconcerting
is the collusion of Republican legislators, including Daines and Gianforte, in supporting this corruption. To recover from this vile aberration will be a massive challenge for Biden and his reformers.
John Shellenberger

Change in tax code will help bridge U.S. equity gap
Greg Gianforte recently released a summary of his income and taxes paid for the last 10 years. During this period, Gianforte earned $184 million and paid taxes of $30.5 million. He is to be  commended on his transparency (unlike Trump who refuses to release his tax returns).
What Gianforte’s press release failed to mention is the tax rate he paid on his income. The math is easy. He paid a rate of 16%. Consider for a moment that middle-class families, with annual incomes in the range of $79k to $168k, pay at a rate of 22% federal. For upper professionals (doctors/lawyers) who make between $320k and $612k, the range is 32% to 35%. I surmise that
Gianforte’s income came mostly from the capital he invested in Right Now Technologies.
There is a great inequity between income tax from capital and income tax from labor. This inequity should be corrected in our tax code so that income from capital is taxed at an equal rate to income from labor. Such a change would help narrow the current historic gap between rich and poor in our country. Oh yes, and please vote this November.
Ron Matelich

Gianforte can’t be trusted with state’s health care
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) isn’t perfect, but it’s the only national health care legislation we have. It should be improved, not gutted as Republican leaders in Congress are trying to do with a pending lawsuit. Greg Gianforte voted in support of this suit.
The ACA helps thousands of Montanans secure health care insurance. Over 45,000 Montanans benefit from the Medicare Expansion provision, which Gianforte is on record opposing. This
program has been critical to keeping Montana’s rural hospitals open. Over 150,000 Montanans enjoy protection for their pre-existing conditions. Again, Gianforte has failed to fight to preserve
this protection.
Montanans need even better health care protection. But until someone proposes something better than the ACA, or proposes ways to improve it, we should hang on to it. Gianforte instead has tried to gut it.
Montanans deserve a governor who will fight to protect and improve our health care legislation. Mike Cooney did this as Gov.Bullock’s lieutenant governor and he will continue to do so as Montana’s governor. Gianforte has shown he cannot be trusted with Montanan’s health care. He lost his bid for governor in 2016, we need to make sure he loses it again in November.
Teri Ball

Bozeman Daily Chronicle Letters to the Editor 7/12/20

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