State Auditor's Office Letter to the Editor
Election to the State Auditor’s Office means the individual will serve as Insurance Commissioner for Montana. This person will play a critical role in setting policy which will effect nearly every man, woman, and child in our state. Whether through health, life, homeowners, automobile, workers’ compensation insurance, or the myriad investment products available, everyone in our state is impacted by this office. The Auditor’s Office provides for the licensing and oversight of the firms selling insurance and investment products and determines which products can be offered in our state as well as the prosecution of those found violating laws governing those products.
While the Auditor’s Office does not set insurance rates, they do set the policy that dramatically impacts those rates. Many Montanans have watched as the Auditor’s Office, assisted by my opponent, has put policies in place which have hurt Montana families and businesses. Our automobile insurance rates are the nation’s second-highest, workers’ compensation insurance rates are tenth-highest. The health insurance rates recently released have left many families facing premium increases anywhere from 30% to nearly 60%, and this is beyond last year’s double-digit increases and does not even account for the increases in our deductibles.
My opponent has embraced Obamacare and with it he has broken our health care system. Now that we know you cannot keep your doctor or your insurance, or save $2,500 a year on insurance, his solution is to turn the entire health care system over to the government under a “single payer” system.
I believe we have an obligation to focus on affordable access to health care for everyone. I have brought forth solutions—and will continue to if elected—such as Health Care Sharing Ministries, Primary Care Provider Agreements, and access to insurance products across state lines. These common sense policies will decrease costs and remove the government from between you and your health care provider. I have proposed and passed many of these concepts in the Montana Legislature while serving as the Senate Majority Leader. Alternatively, under my opponent’s watch health insurance rates have skyrocketed, and the Governor vetoed legislation which would have lowered health care costs and helped our families and businesses.
The other important role that the Insurance Commissioner performs is sitting on the State Land Board. The Land Board is responsible for the management of roughly 5.2 million acres of state “school trust” lands and about 6 million acres of mineral rights. These lands are not to be confused with the U.S. Forest Service lands or any land owned by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks as some would lead you to believe. The Land Board is made up of the Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Auditor’s Office, and the Superintendent of Schools. This group is constitutionally charged to manage those lands in perpetuity for the financial benefit of the Montana public schools. Any timber sale, agricultural lease, commercial lease, or pipeline easement on those lands needs to be approved by the Land Board. These lands are physically managed, however, by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.
I think it is critical we have people on the Land Board with background in land management to ensure these lands generate the revenue as mandated by the constitution without degrading them, thereby reducing the recreational use and access which is so important to the people of Montana. I have that expertise and will always protect these lands for our schools’ and citizens’ use.
I am asking for your support, your vote, and your assistance if elected, as our system only works with your participation.
Senator Majority Leader Matt Rosendale
Matt Rosendale is a State Senator representing Senate District 18 (Dawson, Richland, and Wibaux Counties). Matt and his wife Jean have been married for 31 years and have three grown sons, Matthew Jr, Brien, and Adam. Matt is a rancher, businessman, and real estate developer.