The Billings Outpost

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Doty challenges Essmann for state Senate position

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here is the campaign statement of Russ Doty, who is running for the Montana Senate.

Russ Doty, a former Democratic legislator who is challenging Republican State Sen. Jeff Essmann in State Senate District 28, is focusing on jobs, energy and taxes.

“When I give a tip, I want it to benefit waitresses, bartenders, hairdressers, and other workers who’ve earned our generosity. However, Sens. Essmann, Roy Brown and 19 other Republican senators attempted to assist big-money interests in 2009 by voting for Senate Bill 253. It would have allowed the hospitality/gambling industry, who account for a substantial part of Sen. Essmann’s 2010 campaign donations, to use tips to fatten their profits. Senate Bill 253 would have credited tips earned by the servers toward calculation of the minimum wage.”

“I won’t nickel and dime your tips,” Doty promised.

“I oppose the sales tax; my opponent would use it to replace an existing tax,” Doty said. “For decades, Montanans have roundly opposed the sales tax – and with good reason,” he said. “We don’t need a tax that falls mostly on lower income people and places the collection burden on small business.”

As lead substitute petitioner in the Qwest case that reduced residential phone rates by $24 a year and small business rates by twice that, Doty said, “I’ve always been on the side of the utility consumer.” “We can shift approximately $720,000 a year in NorthWestern Energy overcharges that Billings citizens are now paying for street lights to defray the cost of installing energy efficient LED street lights.

So this race is a classic matchup between myself, a lifetime renewable energy/consumer advocate, and Sen. Essmann, who has raised more than $7,600 (i.e., 25 percent) of his campaign donations from contributors linked to utility monopoly, oil, gas and coal interests.”

“While candidates may seek election from any district in the county they live in, some voters prefer candidates who live in their home district,” Doty pointed out. “I’ve lived and maintained an office for six years with the SD 28 people I would represent.”

A second generation Montanan, Russ was born in Great Falls. He earned his master’s degree in political science from the University of Montana. He has practiced law in Montana, Colorado and Minnesota, where he adjudicated 60 cases for 13 different state agencies as a contract administrative law judge.

Russ’s daughter, Holly, is an actor, educator and small business owner. He has been in a committed relationship with Joann, a teacher, for 12 years.

Doty retired from his Denver U.S. Postal Service job as a human resources specialist in 2004 to run for the Public Service Commission. Since then he has volunteered as chair of the Billings Energy and Conservation Commission.


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