The Billings Outpost

No on LR-126

At the very heart of our identity as Americans is that we have a democratically elected government. Voting is an essential right to us as citizens, and we are very proud of that right. We are a nation that values opportunity and basic fairness.

Why does anyone want to limit our access to democracy? Legislative Referendum 126 would eliminate election day registration, erecting a barrier to democracy. Who dares to deny Montanans the right to vote?

I’ve read the flimsiest reasons for wanting to eliminate election day registration. No, it doesn’t affect those who are already registered to vote — that’s a different line at the polls. And so what if there is a long line to register to vote — clearly citizens have been motivated to wait in line so they can participate in our democracy!

Obviously there is a need for election day registration; over the past decade, more than 28,000 Montanans have registered to vote on election day. Who would claim that those 28,000 shouldn’t be able to vote? I would urge all Montanans to vote with the highest ideals of our nation and vote “no” on LR-126.

Ed Gulick


Last Updated on Sunday, 02 November 2014 10:53

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Van Dyke the best choice

From a qualifications standpoint, there are many great reasons to support Lawrence Van Dyke for Supreme Court justice. Lawrence isn’t a slicked-down trial lawyer in a three-piece suit. He’s an everyday Montanan, steeped in the culture of our state. He also happens to be one of the finest judicial minds this state has ever produced, graduating at the top of his class from Harvard Law School.

But here’s a reason that hits everyone’s pocketbook. Insurance agents tell me their companies see Montana as a very risky, high liability state, which they directly attribute to our precedent-ignoring, anti-business, liberal, activist state Supreme Court.

Some companies have left the state rather than write policies in our crazy and unstable judicial environment - thus reducing competition and consumer choice. The others are forced to raise their rates, creating a heavy burden borne by all Montana families, businesses, schools and tax-supported institutions. 

Bottom line: The bizarre and often extreme political activism of Supreme Court justices like Mike Wheat lowers the quality of our lives. We pay dearly for electing politicians and activist trial lawyers to our high court. According to the insurance industry, Montana auto rates are the fourth worst in the nation, as compared to states where supreme court decisions are rational and made judicially rather than politically driven. 

People are finally paying attention to how their daily lives are impacted by having one of the nation’s worst, most frequently overturned supreme courts. They are voting for change, and Lawrence Van Dyke is just what the doctor ordered.

Roger Koopman

Public Service Commission

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 October 2014 10:50

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Vote for Curtis

Amanda Curtis is the person that the people should send to the U.S. Senate. She will represent us fairly, equally, excellently and with distinction. There are several reasons for my choice:

Curtis will ensure that federal public lands stay in federal hands for multiple use, including hunting, angling, recreation and timber harvests.

She will move to fund the all-important Pell grants to assist the poorest among us to get a college education, thereby gaining a better opportunity to move into the middle class.

Developing private-sector jobs through economic development will be as important to her as they were to Sen. Max Baucus, whose long, productive tenure she will be replacing.

Curtis will never vote to shut down the federal government as her opponent, Congressman Steve Daines, did! This action by Daines personally impacted me in the loss of several thousands of dollars because Yellowstone National Park closed, and vacation tourists canceled their intended stays at my cabins in Luther.

Vote Amanda Curtis

Vern Bass


Last Updated on Thursday, 30 October 2014 10:46

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Daines too far to right

Everybody says Steve Daines has it easy. He’s going to win this election, no sweat. Really? Maybe “Everybody” should think again. 

According to David Parker, a political scientist at Montana State University who has crunched the numbers, Steve Daines is unequivocally the most conservative politician Montana has ever sent to the House of Representatives, far to the right of Denny Rehberg, Ricky Hill and Ron Marlenee.

Daines is so far to the right, he comes close to poking a hole in the borders of Parker’s charts. He truly is a Tea Party crazy, a nut case on the loose.

Daines is one of the reasons why Congress is such a dysfunctional mess, with a historically low approval rating, just ahead of Ebola fever, but below bankers, lawyers and used car salesmen.

Republicans like him are why Congress has done nothing, absolutely nothing, on all the issues we desperately need addressed — immigration reform, job creation, infrastructure decay, improving education, and global warming. You name it; Republicans aren’t going to do it.

Why would we send Steve Daines back to Washington, to do more of what he isn’t doing now, when we could send Amanda Curtis, a truly exceptional woman, who could do so much for Montana and the nation if we just gave her a chance?

Amanda Curtis is one of the most competent, charismatic and caring politicians I have ever met. Vote for her, and she will do everything Steve Daines isn’t doing now.

Wade Sikorski


Last Updated on Thursday, 30 October 2014 10:46

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Voting for Speare

I appreciate all candidates’ willingness to run for public office. As such, I try to give them the courtesy of making an informed decision when I vote – not just voting for who has the flashiest campaign.

In some races, I find the process almost overwhelming. However, in the recent district judge race, I will vote for William Speare with complete confidence that I am doing the right thing.

Montana’s “judicial nominating commission” has already pre-screened the two candidates for voters. That commission (made up of lawyers, judges and lay people) found only William Speare to be certified as “qualified” to be a judge. Out of curiosity of why that may be, I did just a bit of research and found that (according to the interesting new column by Judge Russell Fagg) over 80 percent of the cases for a district judge are civil, family law and other non-criminal matters. William Speare is the only candidate that has that experience.

William Speare was also endorsed by past presidents of both the plaintiff and defense lawyers of Montana. I’m glad that in at least one race, my homework is complete, and I am ready to vote for William Speare.

Kim Sorenson


Last Updated on Thursday, 30 October 2014 10:44

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Vote for Ronquillo

It’s time to support bike trails and running paths! Part of being a great city includes having a great trail system. For the last 10 years, I have been following both city and county support for multi-use trails in our community. Commissioner John Ostlund has time and again been opposed to providing funding for trails. Instead of trying to find ways to finance an amenity we can all benefit from, He just plain votes “No.” He certainly has not represented me.

My ballot is cast for Jim Ronquillo for county commissioner. He is always willing to listen to concerns from constituents. I have seen him roll up his sleeves and happily pitch in for more community events than I have room to list here.

Jim Ronquillo has been open to funding safe routes to schools, bike paths and the future planning of trails in Yellowstone County! This election is a vote for future trails and for the safety our children.

Vote for a change on the county commission. Vote for Jim Ronquillo.

Merry Ann Peters



Last Updated on Thursday, 30 October 2014 10:43

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