Republican Attorney General Tim Fox released his public safety plan as part of his 2020 gubernatorial run on Feb. 20 in Kalispell.
Joining Fox for his announcement at the Flathead County Courthouse was former Gov. Marc Racicot and Kalispell Rep. Frank Garner, who have both endorsed the attorney general in the Republican primary against Congressman Greg Gianforte and Kalispell Sen. Albert Olszewski. During brief remarks, Garner and Racicot said Fox and his running mate, businessman and former legislator Jon Knokey, formed the most serious team in the race for governor.
“They’re not interested in titles,” Garner said. “They’re actually interested in the work.”
In late 2019, Fox’s campaign established a public safety coalition to draft the plan that was released in Kalispell. In it, Fox calls for a wide-scale effort to end human trafficking, protect indigenous women who are disproportionally targeted with violence and increase spending on mental health.
Much of the plan also focuses on reducing drug use within Montana. During his public comments, Fox pinned part of the blame for the state’s drug problem on the federal government’s apparent inability to control the movement of drugs over the southern border.
“There is no denying that substance abuse is driving Montana’s public safety problems,” he said. “The biggest threat to Montana’s values is the poison flowing across our southern border … There is only so much we can do at the state level about this because it’s a national and international problem.”
According to the Montana State Crime Lab, from 2011 to 2017, there was a 375% increase in methamphetamine in death investigations; a 324% increase of meth in DUI cases and a 415% increase of meth found in controlled substance cases. Fox touted his record as attorney general in trying to get drugs off the street but conceded more needed to be done. The attorney general said, if elected, he would put a big emphasis on supporting local law enforcement in combating drug use and trafficking.
Fox also touted the need to support the state’s drug treatment courts. Earlier this month, the Flathead Family Treatment Court had its first graduate. The treatment court takes a more holistic approach to treating people struggling with drug addiction by connecting them with therapists and other providers. Fox said that during the last legislative session he pushed for permanent funding of the alternative court system but was rebuffed and only received partial funding. If elected, he plans on pushing for funds again.
The release of his public safety plan also allowed Fox to tout the endorsement of Racicot, a Thompson Falls native who served as governor from 1993 until 2001. He also served as chairman of the Republican National Committee during George W. Bush’s administration. Racicot said he was supporting Fox, who has served as attorney general since 2012, because of his work ethic.
“This plan is a perfect illustration of why I’m supporting Tim Fox for governor,” Racicot said. “I believe that Tim is the strongest candidate in this race.”