2016 Election: House District 13

Incumbent Republican Bob Brown faces Democrat Debra Achatz

By Beacon Staff
House District 13 candidate Debra Achatz. Courtesy Photo

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?


Incumbent Republican Bob Brown of Thompson Falls did not provide responses.

Debra Achatz

Residence: Trout Creek
Political Party: Democrat
Family: Married to same person for 46 years, 3 children, 6 grandchildren
Occupation: Certified Montana Mediator, Substitute Justice Court Judge
Education: N/A
Political Experience: N/A
Website: None

1. School buildings, roads, bridges, water delivery, and wastewater management are all areas that need a lot of repair and maintenance.
It is unfortunate that the last Legislature denied nearly $2 million to Sanders County, which would have generated jobs, improved schools, and maintained and/or repaired water and wastewater disposal systems. If a bill came up regarding infrastructure improvements, I would work with other members to see that the contents of the bill were negotiated and the bill passed.

2. The world is moving toward clean and renewable energy sources. Montanans who currently work in the oil, gas and coal industries will clearly have to move forward, through training, into the future of energy.

3. My approach would be to study the budget before making any statement regarding an approach to management of same.

4. The state taking control of management of federal lands is preposterous. I would not want to waste any of the taxpayers’ time or resources exploring this notion.

5. I do not think there is only one pressing issue. Education (children and adult), infrastructure, health care, just to name a few, are pressing issues facing all Montanans.

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