A Young Woman Senator

The only way Amanda Curtis ever becomes a U.S. senator is if young voters, if women voters, and if middle-class voters say that this is their time.

By Mike Jopek

Montana Democrats should help U.S. Senate candidate and state Rep. Amanda Curtis with voter turnout. Not that Curtis needs much help building enthusiasm among young voters. When was the last time that a 34-year-old woman was the candidate for U.S. Senate?

Curtis, a high school math teacher from Butte, has been called many things in her rapid accent into state leadership. East Coast news pundits were quick to paint Curtis as anything from a socialist to Montana’s version of Elizabeth Warren.

The one current member of the U.S. Senate to ever talk socialism is Bernie Sanders, who recently ushered through the law that builds 27 new clinics for veterans, allows veterans in-state college tuition in any state, and lets many Montana veterans visit private healthcare clinics.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren recently told the Rolling Stone magazine that “rising student-loan debt is an economic emergency.” Warren says that the $1.2 billion student debt is “stopping young people from buying homes, from buying cars, from starting small businesses.”

Curtis herself has $24,000 in student loans. Curtis says that she relied on the similar Pell Grants and federal loans to get through college to become a high school math teacher. Curtis told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that “Daines wants to slash the Pell Grants and isn’t worried about the rates going up.”

Curtis presents a new math challenge for Rep. Steve Daines in midterm elections. It’s not as though early polls indicate that Curtis beats Daines. But what‘s harder to anticipate is how Curtis is electrifying the young, women, and the middle-class voter base in Montana.

Plenty of voters have likely figured out that Curtis represents their one, and only, chance to elect a 34-year-old woman to be a U.S. senator.

If national Democrats were smart, they’d help Curtis promote her online ActBlue fundraising account. Several thousand people made political contributions to Curtis on her first week on the campaign.

In a New York Times column, Gain Collins wrote that a math teacher in Congress would help. Collins wrote the campaign ad for Curtis should be, “Elect somebody who knows how to count.”

Daines recently proposed a healthcare fix with Rep. Todd Young that redefines full-time work. The Congressional Budget Office said the bill would increase, yes increase, budget deficits by $74 billion and would “reduce the number of people receiving employment-based coverage by about 1 million people.”

My own experiences in carrying the property tax reappraisal bill during the 2009 Montana Legislature reminded me that plenty of legislators don’t much like math.

The political directness of Amanda Curtis is her ability to say it like it is. The GOP was quick to mock her legislative video recordings of the last session. But what the GOP is slowly figuring out is that plenty of young, women and middle-class voters who see Curtis on video only serve to confirm that they are voting for her.

Almost every voter in Montana, heck across the nation, says that Congress is messed up. But polls say that we are likely to elect the same people that shut down the government, slash funding for Pell Grants and cut funding to public research at places like the National Institutes of Health.

The only way that an Amanda Curtis, a 34-year-old high school math teacher from Butte, ever becomes a U.S. senator is if young voters, if women voters, and if middle-class voters say that this is their time.

If you’re tired of business as usual D.C. politics and want Curtis to represent Montana in the U.S. Senate, you’d better fund her campaign today, tell your friends to fund her campaign, and you must volunteer to help Curtis become a voter turnout machine. Voting by mail begins next month.

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