2016 Election: House District 10

Republican incumbent Mark Noland faces Independent challenger James Swanson

By Beacon Staff
House District 10 candidates Mark Noland, left, and James Swanson. Courtesy Photos

The Questions:

1. Are infrastructure improvements a major concern for Montana and, if so, what would you do to help pass a comprehensive infrastructure package?

2. Montanans rely on extraction-based industries for jobs, even as demand grows for clean and renewable energy in the region. How would you help employees in the coal, oil and natural gas industries maintain their livelihood, or pursue training in other fields in Montana’s changing economic landscape?

3. Given that the Legislative Fiscal Division has projected an ending fund balance that is considerably less than what was anticipated, what would be your budgetary approach heading into the session?

4. Should the state of Montana push to take more control of some federal land management?

5. What do you think is the most pressing issue facing the 2017 Legislature, and how do you propose dealing with it?


Mark Noland

Residence: Bigfork
Political Party: Republican Family: Married, six children
Occupation: Small business owner
Education: High school graduate
Political Experience: Former chairman of Lake County Republican Central Committee, Precinct Committeeman
Website: marknoland50@gmail.com

1. I was working on some infrastructure ideas last session. This is of most concern to me. As a conservative, it’s important to me to use the people’s money wisely. Getting our schools that are in need of repair would be one way for all to support.

2. We need to promote all energy resources as a way to continue good-paying jobs, which will allow us to receive revenue for the future. There are grants to help people who want to get an education when a job is lost.

3. We all need to have an open mind and be very vigilant in looking at ways that we can reduce spending, while looking at all variables.

4. I’m in favor of allowing the state of Montana to have the ability to manage more of our lands. We the people of Montana, “which includes our state lands management teams,” have shown we can actually make money when given the opportunity, while the federal government loses money when managing our lands.

5. The lack of revenue from our energy sectors is putting a pinch on all issues. We need to promote the wise use of our natural energy resources, and get our loggers, minors and all in the coal, gas, and oil fields back to work.


James Swanson

Residence: Kalispell
Political Party: Independent
Family: Married, one son
Occupation: Owner of Northwest Docks, Decks, and Deliveries
Education: Lincoln County High School graduate
Political Experience: None
Website: None

1. I think our infrastructure is going down the tubes. I would like to see marijuana legalized, and money from that will go to repair our infrastructure, grade schools, high schools, roads and bridges. Any other money leftover should be used to fund health care for our elderly and our poor. That’s part of my platform.

2. I think for the folks working in coal and petroleum industries, we should try to help them with retraining. If we subsidize renewable energy, like we do petroleum and coal, we’d have lots of jobs that would need to be filled. We’re never going to stop using oil or coal — America and Montana being like they are, it’s only going to be a little while until they take coal and figure out how to make diamonds. I think part of the marijuana tax money could help us fund retraining. Any people put out of work due to renewable energy replacing coal power would be the first ones to be offered the training opportunity.

3. One thing I wouldn’t do is defund the Department of Environmental Quality, or defund Planned Parenthood. They’ve helped my family, my wife, and myself through a lot of tough times. So the last thing I want to do is start taking money away from groups that help people or keep our environment safe. I would also consider maybe putting a small fee on vacation home rentals and imposing fines for politicians who aren’t honest. My other thought would be if these dark money groups want to be involved in our politics, maybe they should have to pay a fee. Necessary programs dealing with schools and health care for the elderly or sick or poor shouldn’t be messed around with.

4. I spent a lot of years working in the woods, and I’ll tell you, if Weyerhaeuser wants to pull out of Montana after coming in and taking over Plum Creek land so they can sell it off, I think we the people should take our land back because we gave it to the Burlington-Northern years ago to build a railroad. The feds are going to have to let us get the timber on their property. That’s a part of what’s wrong with our infrastructure right now. In Northwest Montana, a lot of tax money for the schools, and highways comes from the timber industry, and now we don’t have that timber industry, so we don’t have that income. Now we’re going to start cutting back on coal.

5. I think global warming is one of the largest problems that we are going to be faced with in our lives. Turning to renewable energy can really make a difference, so I’m going to be pushing renewable energy. I’d also like to see Montana be one of the first states to be growing hemp again, and I’d like to see the state legalize marijuana and use the revenue to help its own people.

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