Mark Holston was chosen to succeed Joan Vetter Ehrenberg as chair of the Flathead Democratic Party and said his goal is elevate the party’s profile and “serve in a watchdog role to bring attention to questionable political practices.” He also used a press release to criticize Republican legislators who have opposed fully funding the voter-approved Children’s Health Insurance Program.
“Corporate bailouts are OK, just business as usual,” Holston said of local Republicans. “But health care for Montana kids is apparently taboo. The priorities are odd to say the least.”
The Flathead County Democrats’ annual spring dinner is this Friday at 6 p.m. at Grouse Mountain Lodge.
Here’s the full release:
The Flathead Democratic Party chose new officers at its annual convention this week in Kalispell. Mark Holston was elected to succeed Joan Vetter Ehrenberg as chair. The rest of the executive committee includes Sandra Schott, vice chair, secretary Scott Wurster and treasurer Nancy Fenner.
Holston said that the party will continue its efforts to be an effective advocate for working families and other local residents who are often disenfranchised by the current political structure in the county. Among its priorities in the coming several years will be to elevate the party’s public profile, recruit credible and effective candidates to stand for public office, and serve in a watchdog role to bring attention to questionable political practices.
The new team wasted no time in addressing a local controversy, asking for an ethics probe into the appropriation of $600,000 by a Kalispell state senator for a direct payment to a contracting firm to help pay for remediation efforts on five acres of land that is contaminated. The appropriation has also been criticized by a Republican state legislative leader who called it an example of a “pork-laden earmark.” “I wonder how many of the hundreds of local citizens who participated in the recent tea bag protest against higher takes would support this use of taxpayer funds,” Holston said. “I would suspect few if any.”
The Flathead Democratic Party has also worked to draw attention to the failure of local Republican legislators to approve funding to expand the state’s Healthy Kids Initiative and make health care available for an additional 15,000 Montana children. The initiative was overwhelming approved by state voters in the November election, but Republican lawmakers continue to drag their feet on the issue and deny funding. “Corporate bailouts are Okay, just business as usual,” Holston said of local Republicans. “But health care for Montana kids is apparently taboo. The priorities are odd to say the least.”
Flathead County Democrats will gather for their annual spring dinner this Friday, May 1, from 6 – 9 p.m. at Grouse Mountain in Whitefish. Tickets are available by calling 752-0298.
Other local Democrats elected to posts include Scott Wheeler as State Committeeman and Mona Charles as State Committeewoman.
More information on the Flathead Democratic Party may be obtained at the organization’s website, www.flatheaddemocrats.com.
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