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Letters to the Editor:


April 29, 2020 | View PDF

The Rest Of The Story

Dear Editor:

 I am saddened when an elected leader of the majority party in the Montana State Legislature becomes involved in a personal attack on an incumbent Legislator, of their party, in a district 500+ miles away, for putting his constituents ahead of partisanship. This also appears to apply, in the opinion of some, in the local central committee. Sort of like a "purity" requirement based on their views. President Ronald Reagan said, in effect, "do not speak ill of a fellow Republican."

HB 658, the Medicaid reform bill did not change anything on the issue of abortion. This issue wasn't a part of the bill so it was unchanged. The bill contained a number of changes which will prevent fraud and address work and income standards. It also contains a sunset portion under certain conditions. One might say it made a bad bill better from a conservative viewpoint.

HB 661, the aviation fuel tax increase was very much needed. Currently, the Federal Government pays 90% of the cost of airport improvements. Local Governments are responsible for 10% of that cost and many cannot make the 10% match. However there is an absolute need for these rural communities to provide adequate landing facilities for Air Ambulance service when the lives of your loved ones and friends depend on emergency care at a major trauma facility. This bill was supported by Montana Aviation Groups and many local governments. Only those who purchase aviation fuel pay this tax.

Perhaps before criticizing, look at both sides of the issue. Wouldn't it be more beneficial to discuss ideas and issues than resort to something which has the odor of character assassination?

Doctors for a Healthy Montana has one Doctor member. At least at the time of filing.

Moderation in all things including excesses.

I know former Senator, Former Representative Ed Butcher. Legistats is his creation to rate Legislative votes by his own rules. Enough said.

Representative Joel Krautter went to Helena in order to help the folks in Richland County as their Representative. All the folks in Richland County, not a select few. As a State Representative he also had to consider the concerns of all Montanans. Joel did an excellent job representing Agriculture, the #1 Business in Montana. He worked with the Chamber of Commerce whose members are business folks across the State providing jobs, products and support for the local communities. Is this bad? Heck no! He was highly rated by the Montana Contractors Association who provide many high paying jobs across our state. They build and upgrade our roads and bridges across our State. Is this bad ? Heck no. He supported the aviation fuel tax increase which is very important for maintaining and improving our rural airports. Air Ambulances save lives. Good airports make it possible.

I had numerous occasions to visit with Rep. Krautter during the 2019 Session in Helena. He asked questions and offered opinions on various bills and issues, as did I. He was pleasant and easy to converse with. On issues my clients were involved with I gave him our goals and rational. I also was able to provide institutional knowledge on a number of issues. He was appreciative. I am now four months into my 36th year of dealing with the Montana Legislature and State Government. I have seen a lot of so-called game players during this time. Rep. Krautter is not one of them. He researches a bill and votes how he believes it will best benefit his constituents. What more can we ask for?

I respectfully ask you to support him for a second term in the Montana House of Representatives.

– Bob Gilbert, Sidney, MT.

Dear Editor:

In late summer, when the hills are brown and the valley is still green, I like to drive from Savage to Sidney and then on to Fairview. I see prosperity and civic pride. Richland County is aptly named. You can see the skill of the farmers, the value of irrigation, and the support of a thriving community. You can see the value in high-value crops. As I added irrigation to my farm on the Missouri, sugar beets paid the bills and I’ve been proud to be part of the sugar industry for 30 years. Montana needs more opportunities to add value to our crops and livestock. It is the key to growing our rural economy and towns. The COVID-19 virus has shown the weak links in the food chain. Now is the time for big bold ideas and new leadership to move Montana agriculture forward.

I’ve been an advocate for agriculture and Eastern Montana my whole life. When Whitney Williams asked me to join her ticket as Lieutenant Governor, I said yes because agriculture and Eastern Montana need a strong voice in the Governor’s office and because she has the energy and new ideas our state needs to tackle the challenges our state faces. We’ll be a team that is willing to work with both sides of the aisle to strengthen our public schools, make health care and prescription drugs accessible and affordable, and protect our clean air and water. We will stand up for our state and prevent it from becoming the dumping grounds of another state’s radioactive oil field waste.

I am asking you to honor Whitney and me with your vote, we will work hard for agriculture and Montana and I promise you, I will not forget that I’m from Eastern Montana.

– Buzz Mattelin, Culbertson, MT

Public Plays A Role In Reopening Safely

Dear Richland County Residents:

After what seems like a decade of quarantine, Governor Bullock has given the green light (or really, the yellow light) to reopen our local businesses and #ReopenRichlandCounty.

While we’re all excited to sit down at our favorite restaurant of finally get a haircut, there are a few important things to keep in mind to reopen safely, reduce the possibility of having to reintroduce restrictions, and allow a sustained economic recovery.

First, COVID-19 hasn’t changed. It is still a serious, dangerous pandemic, and we are still living with the threat of it in our community. Reopening safely isn’t like flipping a switch! We’re seeking a “new normal” that leads to a sustained recovery and avoids the needs to re-implement control measures later.

Second, our community members play an enormous role in the sustained recovery of Richland County. This means you are responsible continuing to maintain social distancing-if a business is open but too crowded, come back later. Tighten your circle-continue to limit your close contacts. Keep track of where you have been and who you’ve been in contact with in case you’re part of the COVID-19 case investigation later. Most importantly, stay home when you are sick, monitor yourself for the development of a fever or cough, and seek medical attention when necessary.

Finally, protect those around you, including our business owners and staff, healthcare staff, children, the elderly, and others with compromised immune systems. Wash your hands, wear a mask, and stay home when you are sick. Continue to follow directives from the Governor, public health, and healthcare providers.

When in doubt, stay home. The better we are at protecting each other and ourselves, the less likely we are to continue the spread of COVID-19, and the more likely we are to sustain our recovery.

Stay Safe!

– Jacquelyn Free, FNP-C

Richland County Health Officer

Dear Montanans,

I start this letter with a question. Can you tell me what Montana’s largest industry is? Not sure? Take a look around your home. What are you wearing? What are you sleeping in and on? What is your furniture made from? What is in your medicine cabinet? What is on your dinner table, in the refrigerator, and in pantry? Have your guessed it? The majority of your everyday needs are from agricultural products. Agriculture is the leading industry in Montana. The vitality of Montana depends on agriculture.

The value of agricultural production in Montana is over 4 billion dollars! If agriculture is our leading industry and agricultural products are vital for living for every Montanan, why does Montana not have a Congressional Representative that can truly represent agricultural production? Montana gets one representative and one vote. The one vote is imperative for protecting the vitality of Montana. Montana communities are dying. They are dying because Montana’s heartbeat and lifeline have not been protected. Protecting agriculture protects our communities.

John F Kennedy explained it best, “The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays freight both ways.”

In the Montana U.S. Congressional Race, only one candidate can be a guardian of the heartbeat and lifeline of Montana. That candidate is Joe Dooling. As a life-long agriculture producer, Joe, his wife Julie and their family have experienced first-hand the impacts of mismanagement of Montana agricultural interests. Volatile/monopolized markets, water rights, land access, limitations in Ag lending, as well as crop loss and lack of financial support. Joe hasn’t played victim to these challenges and has been proactive at the local, state and even national level to protect the interests of Montana and fight to make changes in policies that were set by outside parties that didn’t have the experience, knowledge or education to make these decisions. Like Montanans do, Joe has diversified and adapted to the challenges in order to contribute to the lifeline of Montana. As I write this, Joe is either in the field on his tractor, feeding hay to his cattle or bottle feeding their bum calf. He not only is a steward of the land, but shepherd of his animals, and a provider to his family and community.

That one vote, the right vote in Washington, will bring life back to Montana.

Marti Laknar Shields, Dillon, MT


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