The Billings Outpost

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Stapleton the best choice

For 40-plus years I have been actively involved in politics, on both sides, for many candidates. In all that time, I have never worked with a candidate as qualified as Corey Stapleton. He is the real deal, the full package and the most well-rounded candidate for the U.S. Congress.

I would like to quote, in part, Corey’s endorsement from Gov. Judy Martz:  “… He had unanimous support in Helena as the conservative leader and has the ability to articulate our conservative principles. Corey is a big part of the reason we still enjoy a surplus in our general fund … . He is not tossed around by every idea that comes his way. He is a true leader, a solder, an honest person, clear thinker and he will keep his word. He has the passion, integrity and experience to represent us in Washington, D.C. Corey is a Naval Academy graduate, an engineer, family man and businessman.”

I would like to add, Corey is a man of faith, who walks the walk and not just talks the talk, a humble man that I am honored to support. Corey Stapleton is a statesman who will make Montana proud!

Judy Crabtree Trenka


Last Updated on Thursday, 22 May 2014 23:00

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Vote “Yes” on backside.

On the backside of the June 3, primary election ballot is the most important item on the ballot for citizens of Yellowstone County. The Referenda to Establish Yellowstone County Government Study Commission is an opportunity for those of us who live in Montana’s most populous county to speak up regarding the structure of our county government. If this ballot issue passes, members of the study commission will be elected in the November general election.

Many of us feel that our present structure is outdated, unfair and inadequate for the 21st century and that changes need to be made. Yellowstone County has 150,000 people and an annual budget of $40 million to $50 million yet is ruled by an elected board of only three people. That means that two constitute a quorum – if one person can persuade only one other, the whole county is subject to their decisions.

While state representatives represent about 10,000 people and senators about 20,000, our present county commissioners represent about 50,000 and are elected by all the voters in the county – not just those in the district they represent.

It is plain to many of us who live in the county but not in Billings that we have no one to advocate for our concerns and that much of the money we pay in taxes is not spent on our critical needs but elsewhere in the county. It’s not fair.

Vote “YES” on this issue.

Don Reed


Last Updated on Thursday, 22 May 2014 23:00

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Daines whitewashes record

It appears Rep. Steve Daines has finally gotten the message that intruding in women’s private medical decisions is not only bad policy, it’s bad politics. Months after announcing his candidacy for U.S. Senate, Daines made the misleading claim that he does not support outlawing birth control.

But Montana voters won’t be fooled.

The truth is that Daines supports so-called “personhood” measures which, if enacted, could interfere with a woman’s personal medical decisions relating to birth control, access to fertility treatment, management of a miscarriage and access to safe and legal abortion.

“Personhood” is government gone too far, and the defeat of similar state constitutional amendments all across the country — from Colorado and Ohio to Mississippi and Oklahoma — sends a clear message: Health care decisions should be left to a woman, her family, her doctor and her faith — not politicians like Steve Daines.

That’s also why, through conversations with voters, we were able to keep personhood off the Montana ballot in 2008, 2010 and again in 2012.

Montana cannot move forward while politicians like Steve Daines try to take half the population backwards — and Montana women won’t stand for Daines’ attempt to deny his anti-women’s health agenda.

We need leaders who will defend a woman’s freedom to make decisions about her reproductive health without government intrusion, and who will protect women’s access to basic health care — including birth control. That’s why Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana is proud to support Sen. John Walsh in his re-election campaign for U.S. Senate.

Stacey Anderson

Planned Parenthood of Montana

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 May 2014 09:32

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McGrath should recuse himself

Is it possible that dirty tricks are afoot again? Mike Wheat and Lawrence Van Dyke are both running for a seat on the Montana Supreme Court. Recently, however, a lawsuit was filed by several past supporters of Mike Wheat accusing Van Dyke of not practicing law in Montana for the requisite five years even though Van Dyke, our current solicitor general, has been a dues–paying member of the Montana Bar since 2005.

On Friday, April 25, Helena District Court Judge Mike Menahan ruled that Van Dyke, a fifth-generation Montanan and graduate of Montana State University and Harvard Law School, can’t be on the November ballot. Mr. Van Dyke is appealing the ruling to the Montana Supreme Court.

However, Chief Justice Mike McGrath has contributed $200 to Wheat’s campaign and since he can hardly be considered neutral in rendering a decision he should recuse himself. If Van Dyke loses the court battle then Wheat will run unopposed this November. Hmmm.

Ruth Maatta


Last Updated on Thursday, 15 May 2014 09:31

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Defend Beartooths from fracking

 The Red Lodge area has been described as the Gateway to Yellowstone National Park, nestled in the beautiful Beartooth Mountains. Come experience hiking, fishing and exploring among Montana’s highest mountain peaks. See the astonishing wildlife. This area offers extraordinary beauty and Western hospitality. Not only is this one of Montana’s shining stars as far as tourism goes, but here, farmers and ranchers can produce healthy crops and livestock by utilizing our pristine water system and rich soil. 

But how long will this last? Will another generation of Montanans and travelers be able to enjoy our treasure?

Thanks to the Board of Oil and Gas, this area could soon be changed forever. They have already given Energy Corp. of America the license to start drilling and fracking. This company proudly claims, “This will be the next Bakken.”  Is this what you want for Montana?

It is not too late to stop this massive destruction. But talking to the Board of Oil and Gas will do no good. They’ve shown they have their minds made up to drill. Our only hope is to work with our legislators to reform the Board: its makeup, lack of transparency, lack of enforcement of existing rules and oversight of active wells, and the barriers to public participation.

This is not just an environmental issue. This is about our land, water, recreational opportunities, tourism economy, and the strength of our rural communities. It’s time for us to stand up and demand change.

Nancy McManus


Last Updated on Thursday, 15 May 2014 09:31

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Cherry-picker misleads

The extremist wing of the Republican Party is using Roger Koopman’s Taxpayers’ Advisory Bulletin report in meetings fallaciously labeled the “truth tour.” These fanatics have twisted the truth to say that “Responsible Republicans,” like me, voted with the Democrats against the Republican majority some ludicrous percentage of the time.

In 2005, when I served with Roger Koopman, he had a little tree on his chamber desk he named the “liberty tree.” He would use his extremist views to “cherry-pick” bills on the House floor, address them with very inflammatory rhetoric, and ceremoniously clip a leaf off “liberty.” At the end of the session, in a righteous rage, he bellowed one final rant about lost liberty, clipped off one the tree’s last branches, and tossed it in the trash to die. 

About a year later, Koopman and a couple of his extreme cronies started the Taxpayers’ Advisory Bulletin (TAB). Applying the same methodology, he again cherry-picked a very small subset of bills to serve as the foundation of a “voter poll” that portrayed most Republican legislators as liberal. Over the years Koopman’s fraudulent TAB Report has been spit-shined to better mislead voters into supporting ever more extreme candidates.

The verifiable truth is that when voting data is not cherry-picked and the basis for analysis becomes the 494 bills that reached the floor of both Houses in the 2013 Legislative Session. Responsible Republicans voted with the Republican Caucus majority approximately 90 percent of the time. Conversely, the leadership of the extreme movement only voted with the Republican Caucus majority about 75 percent of the time.

Further, responsible Republicans scored very well on statewide business polls produced by reputable organizations like the Montana Chamber of Commerce, the real Taxpayers Association, the Montana Contractors and others. Koopman and other extremists obnoxiously justify their attacks against those they label “Undocumented Democrats” by arrogantly self-proclaiming that they alone are the gold standard of conservatism.

As president of the Senate in 2011, I facilitated a Republican caucus retreat where we defined a plan that had caucus support. We then followed this plan to achieve the first real reduction in the state budget in over 20 years. In 2013 there was no plan from leadership and chaos ensued. The TAB report is simply another example of the finger pointing designed to distract voters away from the extremists’ unprecedented failure to define solutions and lead.

Extremists will rely on tactics like the hijacking of the Teton County Shrimp Peel and the TAB Report to shift the spotlight away from their legal troubles and their failed leadership. Do not accept their excuses and beware the TAB report. It is cherry-picked garbage. Question the validity of other cherry-picked polls and anonymous negative messaging.

Sen. Jim Peterson


Last Updated on Thursday, 15 May 2014 09:30

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