Viewpoint: With out-of-state candidate, public lands again on ballot
Now that the local Missoula elections have come and gone, it is time to start looking at next year’s (2024) federal elections. What I will be looking for when prioritizing who to vote for is how each candidate stands in regards to our public lands.
We need representatives in office who will vote to protect our public lands, now and for the future. This is why when I look at Tim Sheehy’s public lands rap sheet, I become deeply worried.
Sheehy is in favor of transferring federal public lands to the state, which would leave Montana with an annual deficit of at least $400 million due to a loss of the money the state receives from the federal government to compensate for the taxes that would otherwise have been collected, along with higher administrative costs.
The result is that the state would have no other choice but to sell off our prized public lands to the highest bidder. Currently, Montana ranks 12th in the nation for the amount of public lands (37.5%) and lands privately owned (62.5%). This is not a trend we want to continue.
The result for you and I is losing access to our public lands and instead losing them to wealthy individuals (many out of state) and corporations. Polls show that an overwhelming number of Montanans support protecting and increasing access to public lands, not the other way around.
So, remember, when you get your ballot, please vote with your public lands in mind and choose the candidate you know will protect them!