Letter to the Editor
April 15, 2020 | View PDF
In the 2020 primary season for HD35 there seems to be much misinformation circulating. Joel Krautter has claimed in his various letters, Facebook posts, and mailings that his vote for Medicaid Expansion Renewal didn’t provide funding for abortion and that those reporting his voting record are “extremists.” Let me address these two accusations.
First, contrary to Rep. Krautter and a few other woefully misinformed (but probably well-intentioned) supporters, Medicaid absolutely does pay for abortions in Montana. Rep. Krautter is quick to tout his Montana Family Foundation score card, but I called the foundation’s director personally, Jeff Laszloffy, and explained that Krautter was defending his Medicaid vote by use of their score card. Laszloffy promised me personally he would issue a memo in response to Krautter and clarify – again – that Medicaid does indeed pay for abortions, and he iterated that he greatly lamented the score cards do not reflect the Medicaid vote but that it was too late to change the scorecards. Laszloffy followed through on his word to me and issued another memo last week, rebuffing Krautter’s claim that Medicaid doesn’t pay for abortions. That memo is available online.
I might add that in research of Krautter’s 2019 campaign donations, he received money from 12 Democrats (at least), 16 health insurance lobbyists and other special interest donors, nine attorneys, and four Helena bureaucrats while only receiving money from one full-time rancher by my count. A whopping 94% of his donors came from outside HD35 last year and he has the audacity to say in his mailings that he represents us. Richland County voted against Medicaid Expansion overwhelmingly in 2018 and in 2019 Krautter helped the Democrats push it through anyway. I suggest he’s working for those from whom he’s taking money. And worst of all, he took money from Blair Fjeseth, the former communications director for Democrat Linda McCulloch. Fjeseth’s organization, Powerhouse Montana, is a partner with Montana Planned Parenthood according to their website.
Krautter claims that those opposing him are “extremists.” However, opposing Rep. Krautter is Doctors for a Healthy Montana, run by the director of the Montana Pro-Life Coalition Annie Bukacek. Also opposing Krautter is the former director of the Montana Family Coalition (now the Montana Family Foundation) Julie Millam. Opposing Joel Krautter is his own senator, Steve Hinebaugh, Glendive. Opposing Joel Krautter are virtually all legislators from neighboring districts. Opposing Joel Krautter is the Montana House Majority Leader Brad Tschida and incoming Montana Speaker of the House Derek Skees. Opposing Joel Krautter is party loyalty scoring organization, Legistats, and Sen. Ed Butcher.
None of these individuals are opposing Krautter because they knew who Brandon Ler was a year ago. They are opposing Krautter because he is the one of the most infamously liberal Republican legislators in Montana. They are opposing him for no reason other than his voting record, which is more Democrat than Republican.
Like the Solutions Caucus (formerly the Log Cabin Republicans) with whom Krautter coalesces instead of Republicans, Krautter uses the term “extremist” to mean “conservative.” And when he uses the term “conservative” he means “moderate.” But most importantly, when Joel Krautter uses the term “extremist” he’s referring to the vast majority of the Republican voters in Richland County who will decide whether or not we send him back to Helena. Most of us share the values he calls extreme.
- Jordan Hall, Sidney, MT