Fiscally Conservative. Socially Responsible. Environmentally Conscious.
All the elected positions in Ravalli County are held by people who have the same opinion and same perspectives; from School Boards to County Commissioners, to our State Legislators. That means there are thousands of people in the Bitterroot Valley who do not have any representation at any level of our government. I strongly believe that problem solving works best with a diversity of viewpoints and experiences. I am running to be the State Representative in District 88 because you deserve a real choice of who represents you in the State Legislature.
I believe my neighbors want someone who listens and digs deep into the consequence of political decisions, not just someone who blindly tows the party line or forces their own personal opinion on everyone else.
I am running as a Democrat because I believe in the ideal that everyone has a chance to get ahead, can live in economic freedom and have the “liberty and justice” to achieve the American Dream. Running as a Democrat, however, doesn’t mean that I am lock step with everything in the Democratic Party Platform. The funding priorities and laws we pass should incorporate the best ideas of all our legislators and should be tailored to the unique needs of the people of Montana and the Bitterroot Valley.
I learned a great deal from my 2016 campaign, especially about what is important to people who live in District 88. We share much in common and our mutual desires will form the foundation of my legislative priorities, which include:
Jobs in the Bitterroot
I will ensure that we continue to maintain a significant agriculture and natural resource economy. However, I will also encourage growth of new small businesses that capitalize on the unique characteristics of the Bitterroot Valley, the Bitterroot River, our scenery, working agriculture lands, and history to help make the valley more economically viable and to maintain an exceptional quality of life for us and our children. Forward thinking entrepreneurs choose Montana knowing the outdoors will attract and retain top notch employees.
Ravalli County should position itself to reap its fair share of the $7.1 billion Outdoor Industry in the state. Recreation and Tourism generate 71,000 jobs, $2.2 billion in wages and salaries, $286 million in local and state taxes. I believe we can grow the Outdoor Industry in Ravalli county to take advantage of this high demand for outdoor recreation services in Montana.
I will support policies that promote workforce development and educational opportunities to grow the workforce of tomorrow.
I will support passing infrastructure legislation with a priority for improving our school infrastructure, fixing our major health and safety problems, and improving facilities to accommodate the latest technological advances in education and health care.
Putting Our Natural Resources to Work
I am serving on the County Commissioner appointed Ravalli Citizens Collaborative (RCC) because I believe we need to work together to ensure the natural resources in our valley are managed to provide jobs, reduce fire risk, protect our water resources, and to support a diverse economy including tourism and recreation.
We are spending far too much on fire fighting and suffering through too many smoky days. I will push hard to work with the Bitterroot National Forest to gain priority funding to reduce the fire risk on the Stevensville Front and throughout the valley while maintaining other critical Forest Service programs.
Right Sized Government
I believe in tax fairness and the need to generate adequate revenue to invest in our citizens and in our communities. We need to stop shifting the responsibility to provide for education, health services to local government and property owners. We need to be fair in raising revenue such as taxing people according to their ability to pay and closing loopholes that benefit large corporations that shift their jobs and profits off shore. I don’t believe in irresponsible government “give aways”, but I do believe in providing safety nets for the poor and disadvantaged. By levelling the playing field for opportunity to succeed, we grow the middle class that is the fuel of our economy.
I believe that education is vital to the future of our democracy and that everyone has a right to a good education. I also believe that public education is the great equalizer. It teaches our children how to get along with others and to cope with the challenges they will face as adults.
I believe we need to focus on all levels of education; pre-Kindergarten; K-12; and post high school College and technical training. These are all important to building the workforce skills needed for the economy of the future. I do believe that education plays an important role also in reducing social and law enforcement problems created by the lack of a good education and a good job. Adequately funding public education, for all stages of life, is a high priority for me.
I will fight to maintain access to affordable health care. I believe in freedom of choice for decisions of health and healthcare. The state has a responsibility to help those in greatest need; those with mental health problems; seniors in need of home and community based services, and those who provide direct care for the elderly.
I have heard polar opposite opinions about whether the government should interfere or not in a woman’s reproductive and family decisions. How a woman manages her reproductive life is personal and private. Those decisions should only involve her family, physician, pastor, and her God; not the government.
Our founding fathers explicitly called for a separation of church and state. Although we are basically a Christian nation, we have citizens of many faiths and some that believe in no religion at all. Unfortunately, many faith driven issues divide our nation instead of unite us. Our democracy demands that we keep a clear distinction between religion and government.
Protecting Family Agriculture
I recognize the role of local agriculture to our economy, open space and for maintaining a quality environment. I will seek policy and funding solutions to help families stay in agriculture and ensure they can pass their family legacy on to their descendants.
I recognize the value of locally produced agriculture products in reducing the costs and carbon foot print of our food and farm products.
I support a continuation and broadening of the Open Lands Program as a means to preserve agricultural lands and I will seek a resolution to the Three-Mile Water Sub-District controversy in order to ensure stability and long term maintenance of a system that benefits all users.
I will push to ensure that we are doing the planning we need to do to prepare for a hotter and drier future to minimize the inevitable future competition for a finite, if not declining, water supply.
I recognize the value of public lands to the economy of this valley and to the quality of our environment. I am a strong advocate of keeping our public lands in public hands. Any legislation that proposes to transfer decision authority to local governments must also define a requirement for citizen collaboration. I am a strong advocate for obtaining reasonable public access to all public lands, be they federal, state, or local.
Protect and Provide Access to the Bitterroot River
I recognize the role of maintaining the integrity of the Bitterroot River to the economy and our way of life. I will oppose legislation that threatens the water quality and flows necessary to maintain aquatic life and recreational fisheries.
I will push for legislative solutions to strengthen the Montana State Parks and Fishing Access Program so that FWP can provide planning leadership to help us prepare for the future to avoid situations similar to that which was recently created by the controversy over the Stevensville Fishing Access Site.
I will continue to work with Montana State Parks to build a more secure future for Fort Owen State Park, an historic site important to Stevensville and the State.
The Governor’s new Office of Outdoor Recreation should be tasked with coordinating all recreation functions in the state governed by DNRC, FWP, Commerce, and Tourism.
Multi-use Bitterroot Trail Expansion and Maintenance
I will continue the work Representative Ed Greef started to solve the problem of no maintenance funding for the 45 mile Bitterroot Trail, which is an important safety and economic asset to the valley. I will seek bi-partisan support for legislation that establishes a framework for a public/private funding strategies to maintain the trails we have and support the construction of additional sections where needed.
Fiscally Conservative. Socially Responsible. Environmentally Conscious.
A CHOICE FOR YOUR VOICE
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