Letter To The Editor
April 8, 2020 | View PDF
I am the current Republican Majority Leader in the Montana House. Early in the 2019 Legislative Session, I noticed Freshman Rep. Joel Krautter voting for bills that were contrary to established Republican Platform positions. I visited with him to ask about the basis of his votes, having knowledge of the values of voters in Richland County through my relationship with his predecessors, Reps. David Halvorson and Scott Staffanson, and his current Senator, Steve Hinebauch. As the Republican Majority Leader, elected by the majority of the Republican caucus, I wanted to ensure his clear understanding of the conservative principles guiding our caucus, and his votes.
After I initiated the discussion by asking him to help me understand his decision-making process, he stated that he fully knew what he was doing and was comfortable with his choices. When I attempted to discuss the tenets of the Montana Republican Platform that he was disregarding, he said his choices were proper, in his eyes, and essentially dismissed me. The conversation ended there.
Rep. Krautter continued to make votes during the balance of the session that, simply, didn’t follow fundamental principles of the Republican platform written by Montana citizens. Here’s a list of some of the government expansion bills for which he voted: SB 338, increasing the hotel “bed tax” by 33%, about $4 million of which is paid by Montanans; HB 661, needlessly increased aviation fuel taxes; HB 694, increasing fees/taxes on investment advisors by $7.5 million annually, passed onto Montana citizens; HB 658, Medicaid Expansion and; SB 24, raising fees on vehicle registrations. Krautter inconceivably ignored the principles of the Republican Platform, and the will of his constituents, by unnecessarily raising taxes and fees on conservatives who elected him.
For Rep. Krautter to claim in any fashion that he “worked with” Republican leadership, of which I am a part, is a lie. Rep. Krautter ignored numerous attempts I offered to help him represent true conservative Republican ideals, the ideals of his constituents, choosing to vote in lockstep with Democrats nearly as often as any disingenuous “Republican”.
Attempts are underway to show his high rating with groups like the Montana Chamber of Commerce, the Montana Contractor’s Association. The Chamber and Contractors based their ranking on bills that either increased taxes on working Montanans or added to our debt through unnecessary bonding. Since a good number of their “champion” legislators were Democrats, neither of these groups can claim to have the best interests of most small businesses, and working families, in Montana.
Joel Krautter ignored the requests of his caucus leadership, and the voters of Richland County, by helping Gov. Bullock pass “nearly everything he wanted” in the 2019 Session. He clearly does not represent Republicans or Republican ideals.
I urge residents of HD 35 to vote for Brandon Ler. Brandon is a native of Richland County, well known by his fellow residents and is a trustworthy, true conservative who will champion the interests of those he will represent in HD 35.
- Brad Tschida