Dear President Sales, Majority Leader Thomas, President Pro Tempore Keenan and Minority Leader Sesso,
On behalf of the membership and the people of Montana, we write asking for your clarification about the conditions under Sen. Jennifer Fielder’s absence this week from the Montana legislature.
It was brought to our attention that Sen. Fielder has been in Washington D.C. this week during the confirmation hearing for Sen. Zinke to Secretary of Interior and the inauguration of President Elect Donald Trump.
On Wednesday January 18th, just 13 days into the Montana legislative session, Sen. Fielder, in her position as CEO of the American Lands Council, released a statement about the selloff of public lands, calling for implementing drastic reforms and supporting the costly and ecologically risky transfer of public lands to state governments. Her extreme cause to shift this financial burden is especially troublesome given the efforts to cut essential services for our elder, youth, and low income Montana’s due to the narrative that the state budget is short as a result of our regressive tax structure.
We hope you can clarify if the people of Montana subsidized Sen. Fielder’s political trip to the beltway. Specifically regarding if she the state paid for her flights, legislative pay and per-diem for the lobbying trip.
Since, Montana’s legislative session meets for just 90 days every other year, we are also requesting an explanation as to if the members of the Fish and Game committee, of which Sen. Fielder is chair, were simply left to twiddle their thumbs while she failed to convene the committee to hear about issues near and dear to Montana’s outdoor enthusiasts.
We look forward to your response and will welcome Sen. Fielder back from the beltway upon her return so that she participate in doing the business of Montanan’s at the legislature.
Rachel Carroll Rivas
Co-Director, Montana Human Rights Network