2018 General Election Q & A: House District 6

Incumbent Republican Carl Glimm vs. Democrat Mary Custer

1.  How do you intend to balance the state budget?

2. What taxes are you willing to increase, if any?

3. Are there any services you are willing to cut?

4. How do you plan to foster economic growth in the Flathead Valley?

5. What role should state government play in managing federal public lands, and how should those management activities be funded?

6. What are the most urgent issues facing your district?

Name: Carl Glimm

Age: 43

Occupation: Home Builder

Political Experience: Currently serving third term as the state representative for House District 6; served on Appropriations Committee for all three terms; Chairman of Natural Resources and Transportation Subcommittee 2015 and 2017 Sessions; Served on Water Policy Interim Committee 2015 and 2017 Sessions

Political Affiliation: Republican

Place of Residence: Kila

1. As a Subcommittee Chairman last session, for the first time in recent memory, my committee zero based the budget for an entire State Agency. If the voters of District 6 send me back, I will strive to create more of the state budget with this process. Rather than just inflating the budget each year, with zero base budgeting we look at what they actually need and ask them to justify the individual amounts in their budget. This process naturally invites more questions and makes the process more transparent. It allows us to locate areas of the “waste and abuse” everyone always talks about, but never finds. If each subcommittee could zero base budget an agency or a few departments, we could zero base the entire state budget over the next few sessions. This is how we can be more responsible to the citizens of Montana and provide better services, without raising more taxes.

2. I am not willing to increase taxes. I believe we don’t have a funding problem, we have a priority and spending problem.

3. Please reference the above question about the budget.

4. I believe we need to make our state government more responsive to people that want to do business. Instead of holding up a stop sign, they should be helping to get people through the tangled web of bureaucracy. For instance, if you want to start a business building widgets, there should be one place you can go to find out all the specifics of how to get started. As it is, you have to bounce around from one agency to the next and there is no clear path. Montana needs to hang an “Open for Business” sign. This is how we can keep our kids here, rather than send them out of state after graduation.

5. There have been some small examples of the State working with the Feds to manage federal lands, and those projects have went well. The real problem is we aren’t making a big enough impact. Let me make it clear NO ONE IS TRYING TO SELL FEDERAL PUBLIC LANDS. What we are after, is to get us out of the perpetual circular path of: 1. Plan a timber harvest (lots of work) 2. Get sued by environmentalists 3. Judge Molloy sides with them and shuts down the project 4. We (taxpayers) pay the environmentalists’ lawyer bills. This is a failed process, all the while we watch it go up in smoke. So, what’s the problem? The problem is the Equal Access to Justice Act, it allows environmentalists to sue us and we pay them to do it.  This is one reason why the State lands are managed better than federal lands. Montana does not have an Equal Access for Justice law. We don’t pay them to sue the State. So, they don’t think the timber sales on state lands are worth the time.

6. I will once again point to the most pressing issue facing our nation as a whole.  I believe the number one crisis, is the lack of presence of fathers, children need a mother and a father. The statistics are shocking — fatherless boys and girls are: twice as likely to drop out of high school; twice as likely to end up in jail; four times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems. Speaking to those men out there who are not involved, you need to be involved in your child’s life, they need you. God bless the single mothers, I have the utmost respect for them. Honestly, I don’t know how they do it all. And from our government end of things we need to quit promoting the destruction of the family.

Name: Mary Custer

Age: 50

Occupation: Legal Assistant

Political Experience: This is my first time running for political office. I have volunteered with several political campaigns in the past.

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Place of Residence: Whitefish

1. Our state needs to live within its means and balance our budget each year, without exception. But we must ensure that vital rural healthcare services are available to Flathead residents who need them. Under no circumstances should we be forced balance the budget on the backs of Montana’s working families. I will work with legislators from any political background to achieve these goals.

2. I support common sense solutions that will balance our budget, including protecting working families from tax increases while asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share. We have to find revenue sources that will fund critical programs that keep Montanans healthy and safe. We have a potentially large source of untapped revenue in the Montana tourism industry and we need to find creative ways to utilize that resource without negatively impacting Montana’s working families.

3. The previous legislative session made cuts to services that are vital to our community, including mental health services, health care and education. We should be focusing on cutting bureaucratic red tape in Helena and eliminating government inefficiency, not cutting essential services and patting ourselves on the back.

4. The Flathead Valley is the greatest place to live in Montana, which is why so many folks choose to raise their families, retire and vacation here. Our quality of life is unparalleled and what makes our community unique. Keeping our lakes and streams clean for recreation and sports, our public lands open for hiking, camping, hunting and fishing, and our air free of pollution are all critical to maintaining our way of life.  As a legislator, I will advocate for quality education and job training so that local businesses are encouraged to employ experienced and qualified people from the community.

5. Our public lands need to stay in public hands, period. We need to make sure that federal lands receive local input to ensure economic growth for our communities. The State of Montana cannot afford to absorb the cost of managing federal public lands. If the state took over the management of federal public lands, those public lands would be for sale to the highest bidder and no longer available for public access. As a legislator, I will work to ensure the responsible management of our public   lands by utilizing our natural resources without leaving the land destroyed or polluted.

6. My biggest concern is healthcare access and affordability in the Flathead Valley. We need to make sure that everyone in our community has access to quality healthcare, regardless of their ability to pay. We need a representative in Helena who will fight to make sure our rural clinics and hospitals stay open. I am also committed to keeping our public lands public, increasing funding for mental health services, and ensuring our children have access to the best public education in the state.