Thanks to a small group of Republican legislators who refused to be bullied and bribed by their own Republican leadership, Americans for Prosperity, ALEC and other out-of-state interests three major pieces of legislation sponsored by responsible Republicans have now been signed into law. The Disclose Act, Medicaid Expansion and the Tribal Water Compact will mean more transparent elections, more accessible health care including help for rural hospitals, and a more certain future for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, ranchers and developers in the Flathead. Montanans won big.
However, it could have been much bigger. Thirty-seven legislators, including 34 House members and three senators, refused to work with the other 113 Montana legislators and prevented Republican Sen. John Brenden’s infrastructure (and jobs) nill, SB 416, from passing. Unfortunately, they voted for their individual interests and not for the good of their constituents or fellow Montanans. They all have their excuses why they did not support SB 416, but they pale in comparison to all the jobs and needed projects throughout Montana that will not occur now due to their radical positions.
On our local level, Republican Rep. Dan Salomon has been a solid statesman during this past legislative session. He has not taken the easy road, but has worked hard to balance his convictions, the needs of his constituents and Montanans in general. Whereas Republican Majority Whip Representative Greg Hertz, who was one of 34 out of 100 House members that killed the infrastructure bill, seems to have forgotten why he was sent to Helena. It was not to represent his party bosses or the extreme factions in the Republican Party, but the everyday citizens of Lake County and Montana. And then there is Sen. Janna Taylor … what can I say?
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