Graybill: Loved ones matter on the ballot in Attorney General race

Raph Graybill

I’m Raph Graybill, and I’m running to be an independent watchdog as Montana’s next Attorney General. I’m a fifth generation Montanan from Great Falls and the son of a Lutheran minister. I’m a proud product of Great Falls Public Schools and served alongside the NYPD. I now serve as Governor Bullock’s Chief Legal Counsel, where I have the honor of fighting for you in court to protect our rights and values.

I’ve gone to court and won to protect public access. I’ve beaten the federal government in court when they broke the law, and took on dark money groups trying to buy our elections. Recently, I defended our right to vote-by-mail in this election, to keep Montanans healthy and safe. But there’s another legal battle on the horizon.

In the Attorney General’s race, your healthcare is on the ballot. There’s an extremist lawsuit before the Supreme Court that could rip away your healthcare and eliminate protections for Montanans with pre-existing conditions. My opponent, Austin Knudsen, says the whole reason he’s running is to join that lawsuit. I’m running to stop it.

Knudsen’s extremist lawsuit would be catastrophic for families in Montana. I ask you to think about the people you love, the people you’d do anything for. Are they a survivor of cancer? Do they struggle with heart disease, diabetes, or their weight? Does someone you love struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol, or struggle with their mental health?

These are pre-existing conditions.

If Knudsen wins, insurance companies could use the struggles of your loved ones as an excuse to deny them healthcare

It’s profoundly unfair. It’s not how we treat families in Montana. But Knudsen and his corporate backers want to eliminate these protections for pre-existing conditions and give power to insurance companies.

I’ve traveled all across Montana meeting with families, doctors, nurses, and healthcare leaders about what will happen to our communities if Knudsen’s lawsuit succeeds. In Havre, the local hospital would close one-third of its beds, and move crucial services like dialysis to Great Falls. Just up the road in Chinook, the clinic would face certain closure just like every rural hospital in Montana.

Montana’s larger cities would be harmed too. In Billings and Great Falls, healthcare leaders say they will lose investments in mental health and substance abuse treatment. And they’ll lose their life-saving Level II Trauma centers. Let that sink in. When every second counts, Knudsen’s extremist lawsuit would force Montanans to fly to Idaho or Washington because they can’t receive care in Montana.

That’s why I’m fighting to stop this lawsuit: to protect our healthcare and protect the people we love. Montana’s families deserve an Attorney General who will fight for us, not insurance companies.

But we won’t stop there. As Attorney General, I’ll hold pharmaceutical corporations accountable in court for price gouging on prescription drugs—putting money back in your pockets. I’ll work to get at the root causes of crime—like addiction and mental health—to solve these challenges before they become costly public safety problems. And I’ll work with local governments and landowners to expand access to our public lands.

Knudsen doesn’t know how to fight for Montanans. He’s never once been to the U.S. Supreme Court or the Montana Supreme Court. As Bullock’s Chief Legal Counsel, I’ve defended Montanans in both courts, and won. Shockingly, Knudsen’s only plan is to defund law enforcement at the Montana Department of Justice, which law enforcement says will only make Montana less safe.

What’s more shameful, Knudsen is personally blocking a group of veterans from accessing the American Legion Park in Culbertson. He’s even suing these veterans to take away access forever. It’s wrong, and it tells Montanans everything they need to know about the kind of Attorney General he’ll be.

I’m running to be an independent watchdog for our rights. Knudsen is running to be an extremist, partisan lapdog, blindly pursuing an extremist agenda to rip away healthcare from the people we love.

The choice between extremism and independence couldn’t be clearer. The stakes for our families and their healthcare couldn’t be higher. For families like yours and mine, I ask for your vote.