June 7 can’t get here soon enough. We need a break from the endless political commercial and mail streaming into our homes. It’s difficult to tell based upon the propaganda on the TV, radio, and in our mailboxes which candidate is a REAL Montanan, which candidates have failed in office, and with the intra-party fighting labeling “conservatives” and “RINOs,” which candidates hold Republican values. Many folks look to their peers for suggestions on who to vote for, and some even hand over their ballots to trusted family members to circle their favored candidates. (In some circles in Montana, that would be considered “voter fraud” even though it has happened in my family for as long as I can remember.) The stakes of this primary are high; we are rolling into a recession and likely “stagflation,” where unemployment will rise with inflation. This economic scenario hasn’t occurred since the mid-1970s, but all signs point to a reoccurrence. And when recessions and stagflation hit, we will need strong leaders with the intellectual heft to navigate us through some very rough water.
Nowadays, campaign promises seem to be forgotten by incumbents, and it’s up to voters to do their research and hold elected officials accountable at the ballot box. The wise voter should look at campaign promises made in the past before the incumbent was elected to office and determine if the incumbent was true to his or her word. Are your state and your county in a better place today than when the incumbent was elected? If the answer is “no,” then the voter has the opportunity to pivot to a new candidate who has the intellectual and leadership acumen to do the job.
Knowing a candidate’s history of selfless work through community involvement and professionalism is a key predictor of how they will behave in office. For me, anyone who needs the job because they either don’t have a regular job or want the job simply for the pay or benefits of elected office should automatically be excluded. A review of the Republican primary ticket reveals a number of candidates seeking a position merely because they can’t live without the paycheck or haven’t had a real job outside of politics in over a decade.
Researching candidates for office isn’t much fun for normal people. But we cannot navigate the impending recession and stagflation without strong fiscal leadership that prioritizes safety and security over virtually everything else. We cannot afford for state and local politicians to spend time and taxpayer dollars debating social issues while babies run out of formula and grocery shelves are empty. Good government requires citizen research. Do your research and vote June 7.
Tammi Fisher is an attorney, former mayor of Kalispell and host of Montana Values Podcast.
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