1. Should the state of Montana expand Medicaid to Montanans earning less than 138 percent of poverty, as allowed under the Affordable Care Act? Why or why not?
2. Should the state encourage or discourage the production of coal, oil and gas? How?
3. The state of Montana has had budget surpluses in recent years. Should this money be invested in public services, returned to taxpayers in some form, or both? Please be specific.
4. Do you support freezing tuition for in-state students attending state colleges and universities for two more years, as the 2013 Legislature did? Why or why not?
5. Montana schools are implementing new math and English standards and testing known as the Common Core standards. Do you support these? Why or why not?
Name: Ruby M. Dynneson
Occupation: Small Farmer; Retired Special Education Teacher
Political Experience: Member Flathead Democratic Party: Informed voter for 50 years
Political Affiliation: Democrat
Place of Residence: Kalispell
1. Every Montanan should have access to health care. Healthy individuals are: better students; more productive employees; and independent seniors.
2. The state should neither encourage nor discourage coal, oil and gas production. How? The state should make sure the air and water quality in production areas is protected. Additional refineries need to be built near drilling areas in order to process Montana’s oil in Montana. Infrastructure to transport fossil fuels needs to be updated for safety and prevention of pollution. Services need to be improved and increased according to the needs of drilling and mining communities. Alternative energy sources should be developed with part of the state’s income from fossil fuels mined and drilled in Montana.
3. The money should be invested in public services including: updating of infrastructure; college and university tuition relief; building of classrooms and/or updating of outdated classrooms especially science and computer labs; provide health care and housing for working poor and homeless; and developing programs to put the unemployed back to work and provide jobs for the underemployed.
4. Freezing tuition is only a temporary fix and does not address the problem. Why or why not? Programs need to be developed to provide additional funding for colleges and universities to provide: needed personnel packages; building classrooms and labs; and upgrading classrooms and labs. Tuition needs to be decreased and additional scholarships, grants, internships and apprenticeships need to be provided in employment areas where there is a shortage of qualified applicants. Funding does not need to come only from the state budget; but may be a partnership between state and federal governments, individuals, and the business and manufacturing sectors of Montana communities. Students should not be in debt nor denied an education because of high tuition.
5. I do support the Common Core standards. Why or why not? Most have not studied the Common Core standards and misinformation is abundant. Students need to become independent and critical thinkers; not memorizing information but understanding the processes required to study and understand concepts. New teaching methods have evolved throughout the years as our knowledge base has increased and become more complex. Job skills required for our youth to qualify for the ever changing job market will rely more and more on students being able to deal with complex concepts not just facts. Providing more consistent standards nationwide will help mobile student populations and those who attend colleges and universities out of state to be more successful in their studies. If students have the same basic skills as their peers, less remediation will be required and success more assured.
Name: Mark Noland
Occupation: Small business owner for 30 years
Political experience: Precinct 1 committeeman for three years and now serving as chairman of the Lake County Republican Central Committee
Political Affiliation: Republican
Place of Residence: Bigfork
1. No we should not expand Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act is neither affordable nor caring for most Montanans. People I talk with (including myself) have had their insurance rates increase 35 percent or more. Allowing the federal government to go further in debt is not wise, when we are already $17 trillion in debt. People I know who fall in this category still are attended to by the medical field at the County Health Department and no one is turned away. If it is an emergency they are taken to the emergency room at the hospital. While we are working on improving the health care needs of Americans, we cannot add more to the debt of our children or grandchildren. Most Americans realize if we don’t have the money to attend to our needs, we do without. But not the federal government. They just go deeper in debt and this must stop.
2. We should encourage the production of all our resources: coal, oil and gas. We need to make the process more friendly to these companies wanting to take the risk to explore for these natural resources. This will help our state to thrive like North Dakota is. We can take the added revenues from the oil, coal and gas companies to help reduce our dependence on foreign energy. Plus, this has the potential of creating many, many jobs for Montanans and even lowers our taxes. We all want to protect our environment. We have the knowledge to explore responsibly. The companies I’ve talked with are well aware of the need to advance responsible drilling.
3. Our surpluses could be handled by helping provide adequate ammunition to our guardsmen or reservists. It could be given back to those individuals who have paid in. It could help out with our under funded Montana Public Employee Retirement System. Perhaps we could allocate money to all areas.
4. I feel a hold on tuition for students may help families budget for the upcoming college years. They would know what to expect and what to plan for. Looking ahead, an idea of helping out to promote competition from colleges providing a voucher program could be something to consider.
5. No, I do not at the present time support the Common Core program. While it’s a good idea to see how our children compare with other states and nations, a one-size-fits-all system may just leave poor Johnny out in the cold. He may excel in other areas and be a late bloomer. I think a personalized program that a county, city, school board, principal and teacher at the local level would be best to promote what our children need, in order to be responsible citizens, coming out of a school system. Yes, instructional materials and a good curriculum need to have good oversight, and involved parents, who vote and who sit on the school board, would be the proper venue.
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