Viewpoint: The importance of Montana legislative races
This is not a Presidential election year, it’s what’s called an off-year election. An election when some people don’t pay attention, and might not even vote. I write this to ask that you all pay attention and vote because the future of our right to privacy and our right to a clean and healthful environment depends on you voting to save our state constitution.
I recently attended an informational meeting by Missoula House District 90 Representative Marilyn Marler. The presentation was so well received earlier in July at Imagination Brewery, that she was encouraged to do another. And now, other state representatives around Montana are using her presentation to spread the news.
If the Republicans gain two more seats in the 2023 session, they will have a super majority and will be able to do whatever they damn well please; including changing our state constitution, which former Kalispell representative Derek Skees called, “a socialist rag.” Republicans have said repeatedly that they want to change the constitution, that should concern everyone, including Republicans.
I’ve always thought Republicans believed in personal privacy rights. I guess that does not include a woman’s right to abortion, upheld by the Montana Supreme Court in Armstrong v State in 1999. Republicans always talk about FREEDOM! Except when it comes to women and their reproductive freedom.
When the Constitutional Convention convened in 1972, the delegates sat in alphabetical order. They got to know one another and they didn’t relate to each other by party, but they got to know the person. They argued over language and had deep discussions and in the end, they all came together and agreed on this document that took tyranny away from the Copper Kings of old and the Anaconda company, who ran the state, and gave the state back to the people. Democracy is messy, but it works, or it has.
Democrats and Republicans worked together to bring about Medicaid expansion, which has helped thousands of Montanan’s receive the care they need. They battled it out and the vote was close, but the benefits have been positive for the state's rural areas as well those not able to have employee paid health insurance.
I’m not willing to hand over the state to a super majority of Republicans who want to let the Governor appoint Supreme Court members, allow our public lands to become the playground of wealthy big game hunters, to the exclusion of Montanan’s just trying to fill their freezers for the winter.
Access to public lands are not the only rights that could be taken away; stream access, voting rights, clean water, Medicaid expansion.
I read an OPED back during the primary that stated it’s not hard to run for the legislature, a $15 filing fee is paid and you’re done. Not so! Running for the legislature is hard work. There’s knocking on doors that candidates must do if they want to win, and people want to talk to the candidate, not their volunteers.
There is money to raise and volunteers to help get the word out and it’s not easy. Oh, and yard signs to deliver. Running for office is hard, but the payoff of getting good work done for your constituents is worth it.
There are some races that could change the landscape. Willis Curdy, Devin Jackson, Gary Stein, Jonathan Karlin,Tom France and Jesse Mullen need your help. Google them and donate to their campaigns. We are past marches and rallies. We have to protect the State Constitution and we have to prevent a supermajority of the GOP.
Sue Reber Orr is the Democratic precinct committee woman for Hawthorne 98N