Election mail bag Oct. 28

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Many reasons to oppose government-run health care

Health-care policy is at the top of many Montanans concerns as we enter the upcoming elections, and rightfully so.

Democrats’ first opportunity at addressing our health-care system has obviously failed with the Affordable Care Act. Premiums have spiked, and there is no certainty for consumers in the individual marketplace. Many Montanans are choosing to remain uninsured, instead of struggling to pay the ridiculous price tag associated with healthcare coverage.

Without the Trump Administration’s clear “repeal and replace” plan, those on both side of the political spectrum are searching for answers. Unfortunately, in a wave of what you might call Democratic socialism, a number of legislators are adding government-run health care to their platforms.

Over half of all Americans under 65, or more than 150 million people, get their health-care coverage through their employers. Eliminating the option for job-based coverage and putting this system in the sole control of our government would undoubtedly have a number of harmful implications. Taxes would have to increase for all Americans. Doctors would be overburdened. Consumers would be left with little to no personal choice.

We only need to look at other countries to see how universal health care will fail. Wait times that are months long and care which is rationed are two aspects that are seen in all universal health-care adoptions. A single-payer system would not do any good for those most in need of care.

Any program that is controlled by the government has an efficiency and efficacy deficiency. We already give our government a lot of leverage, yet we fail to see much control over the healthcare industry that results in large savings for Americans. There is no guarantee that putting our entire health-care system in control of the government would result in any obvious beneficial changes for consumers.

We absolutely need to make our health-care system better. However, completely disrupting and eliminating the employer market that serves almost 200 million people today is not the solution. No matter what you call it, single-payer or universal healthcare or “Medicare for All,” there are many reasons to oppose a government-run system, and I encourage everyone to remember this as we approach the election season.

— Ronalee Skees, Kalispell

Brodehl represents the people

Randy Brodehl is a true representative of the people.

When my family recently had some challenges with a department of the state of Montana, I called Randy and explained our situation. My wife and I had spent several days trying to reach several state employees to help us navigate a difficult system. The day after I spoke with Randy, several members of this same department called me personally and asked what they could do to assist us.

Randy’s help didn’t end there. For several weeks afterward, he called me to check on the progress we had made and to be sure that the state was meeting our needs. He continues to follow-up with us — that is the kind of representation I want in government.

We are indebted to Mr. Brodehl and are grateful that he has chosen to bring his leadership home to the Flathead. Randy will listen, lead, and facilitate in a manner that will best serve Flathead County and the great people who live here. Please join us in voting for Randy Brodehl for Flathead County Commissioner.

— Zach and Mindy Weber, Kalispell

Tester is accessible to constituents

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Senator Jon Tester for remaining accessible to his constituents.

Only about a million people live in Montana, but we’re an enormous state. In fact, from the border of Idaho to the border of North Dakota, it’s a 12-hour drive across Montana. This hasn’t stopped Jon from doing everything he can to travel across the state to meet with the Montanans he represents. If you haven’t met Jon yourself, you almost certainly know someone who has, whether they asked Jon questions at a town hall, talked with him at an agriculture roundtable, or even just ran into him at the hardware store.

Did you know Senator Tester always publishes his schedule online so Montanans know exactly what he’s doing and where they might have a chance to speak with him?

This kind of transparency is par for the course when it comes to Jon Tester. Since the day Jon was first elected, he has fought to make government better and fiscally more responsible. . He has passed multiple bills cutting down on government waste and Congressional perks, and has returned $3 million of taxpayer dollars from his office budget.

Jon holds government accountable. It comes from his farmer’s work ethic. He knows, like many other Montana ranchers and farmers, how to cut down on waste and use only what you need. He has taken those lessons with him to Washington—and our government is better for it.

I’ll be supporting Jon this November, and if Montanans want more transparency and ethical leadership in government, they will support Jon too.

— Dawn Brennan, Columbia Falls

Fern works with both sides

I want to encourage voters to return Dave Fern to the Montana House of Representatives. Dave is a local businessman; with his wife, Heather, raised their family, while Dave served on the local school board and the state organizations. Dave supports public education – both at the local school board and as a legislator.

Dave willingly works with both sides of the political aisle and looks seriously at opposition concerns and works to bridge differences. Dave supported public lands and tax relief in the previous legislature. He is well studied on issues and educates himself on the details of the many issues he will face at the legislature.

Please return Dave fern to the House District 5 seat of the Montana Legislature. He has served Whitefish well.

— Tom Harding, Whitefish

Flathead can’t afford another Democrat

Please join me in voting for, Republican, Randy Brodehl for Flathead County Commissioner on Nov. 6. Flathead County taxpayers can’t afford another Democrat commissioner. In recent history, Flathead County taxpayers have already been stuck with the bill for millions of dollars of liability left over from the legal costs and settlements that resulted from the dubious actions headed by a previous Democrat commissioner.

The Whitefish “Donut” zoning and the denial of the North Shore Ranch Subdivision are two examples of an elected Democrat official’s pushing aside the concepts of the rule of law and of due process in order to further their personal agenda. We have seen democrats taking this approach to politics to unprecedented levels on a national scale since the inauguration of our current president, and local taxpayers simply cannot afford to pay for the consequences of these blunders.

Flathead County needs level headed commissioners who understand their role in creating and enforcing county policy within the limits of their authority. Randy Brodehl has the political experience and the proven track record to do just this. Vote for Randy this November!

— Holly Breckenridge, Kalispell

Continue the 6-mill tradition

For 70 years, generations of Montanans have supported the state’s Land Grant colleges and universities through passage of the 6-mill levy.

I am a native Montanan who was fortunate to attend and graduate from Montana State University. That experience changed my life. My contemporaries and I from middle class families, who graduated from Montana’s universities, benefited immensely from the support of generations of voters who have supported Montana’s Land Grant colleges and universities. It is important to continue that support through passage of the 6-mill levy in November so that current and future generations may benefit from affordable higher education.

The funds generated by the 6-mill levy ARE NOT used for the construction of buildings, like dorms or stadiums, or for any other operations that aren’t directly related to the educational mission of the eight campuses it supports. The funds go directly toward academic programs for 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

The 6-mill levy is not a new tax, nor is it a tax increase. Passage of the November ballot measure will renew key financial support for Montana’s colleges and universities established in 1948 and approved by voters every decade since.

Vote YES on the 6-Mill Levy in November for a strong Montana!

— Bill Sanderson, Somers

Not buying what the GOP is selling

It doesn’t sound very fiscally conservative to me when we give America’s biggest, wealthiest corporations a handout and saddle the next generation with $1.9 trillion of debt to pay for it. I don’t know who the GOP thinks they’re fooling with their tax scam, but I’m not buying it.

When I think of fiscal responsibility, I think of responsible tax reform that helps working-class families and doesn’t explode our national debt. The tax bill that passed last December is the exact opposite. Not only are any breaks for working families minimal and temporary, but the breaks for multi-billion dollar companies are enormous. This is not what Americans wanted and needed from our politicians.

It doesn’t matter who folks are, if you ask just about anyone what they want changed about their taxes, none of them will answer: “Bigger tax breaks for billionaires and corporations.”

So if Matt Rosendale and the Republican party want to be stewards of fiscal responsibility, they can start by coming to terms with the fact that they condemned our children and grandchildren to picking up a $1.9 trillion check so that Wall Street investors can line their own deep pockets. That money has to come from somewhere, and it’ll be the next generation’s responsibility to figure out what gets cut to pay for this.

I hope for our children’s sake that it’s not their Social Security that’s first on the chopping block.

— Emma Knight, Whitefish

Pro-life endorsements

As president of Montana ProLife Coalition, I endorse prolife Republican David Dunn for House District 9. Exuberantly outspoken about being a born-again Christian, he is loyal and honest, a dedicated constitutionalist, determined to lower taxes, very pleasant and easy going yet unwilling to compromise his core principles, David Dunn is as good as it gets. He will do a stellar job in Helena. I urge you to join me in voting for David Dunn for House District 9.

I also endorse Jerry O’Neil, candidate for House District 3 in Columbia Falls. I have known Jerry for over 10 years during which time we have had many conversations about various topics. He served in the Montana State Senate 2000 through 2008 and in the House 2010-2014. His voting record was consistently one of the best. Jerry O’Neil is a highly principled, kind, intelligent, and witty man. He is steadfast, unabashed in his stand for life, liberty and justice. His support for the protection of innocent life is 100 percent. That includes protection of the right to self-defense, the right to keep and bear arms. He and his wife Jeanne have worked hard to protect the lives of our youngest children, the unborn. His Democrat opponent, on the other hand, consistently votes against the right to life of the unborn and the right to keep and bear arms. Please join me in support of Jerry O’Neil for re-election to House District 3 this November election.

— Annie Bukacek, Kalispell

Taxing someone else’s sin

I-185 is being touted as a health measure. Raising the price of a pack of cigarettes by $2 will encourage more people to quit smoking and pay for Medicaid expansion they say.

Hospitals are promoting I-185 for more than a health reason. It is guaranteed income for them and bypasses the discussion in the Legislature to put some side boards on Medicaid expansion.

It was projected that 40,000 people would be eligible for expansion four years ago. There are now over two times that number on the program. Did you know that millionaires on paper i.e. large landowners showing little income and religious colony members who pay no taxes are part of the expansion? Is this sustainable?

If you don’t smoke, vape or chew this initiative won’t affect you, they say. This “sin” tax is only one, however. When there isn’t enough sin tax from smoking there will be other sins to visit.

Should there be a $2 tax on that flight of brewskis at your favorite brewery? How about $2 a cocktail at the local distillery? Then again, let’s hit the sin of gambling. Are you willing to pay the state 2 percent of that lucky ticket?

Be careful at the ballot box when increasing the tax on someone else’s sin. The government will figure out a way to add yours when they don’t have the money to fund it!

I believe we should all contribute to help our neediest population with health care issues. Don’t vote for I-185 to be the beginning of a sin tax by initiative! Big Brother will be coming after you next.

— Sen. Dee Brown, R-Hungry Horse

Working across the aisle

Kathleen Williams and Jon Tester both have records which demonstrate their work across the aisle. Both will safeguard Medicare and Social Security, not just in debates as Gianforte. Both Gianforte and Rosendale would like to diminish our public lands and public access for private enrichment without public comment. Kathleen Williams is on record, a moderate who hunts and wants common sense border and immigration laws upheld. Williams will fight for opportunities for all Montanans in education, jobs, wages, and health care. Gianforte did not even cancel his appearance at Salish Kootenai College; only Williams showed up.

Tester and Williams will represent Montana well and get real work done for us in Washington! Vote!

Please also vote for I-186 for accountability in mining and keeping our water resources clean. I-185 supports health care for many Montanans without raising taxes. Big tobacco and big mining companies are fighting with big money. Your vote is crucial to Montana and moving our country toward working for we the people.

— Margaret Strainer, Kalispell

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