Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vote for me, Brad Johnson

Posted on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Serving four years as Montana secretary of state was the greatest honor of my life. In that first term in office, I was successful in securing passage of legislation that prohibits electronic voting machines and requires that paper ballots be used in all Montana elections. I also led Montana to become one of the first states in the country to fully comply with the 2002 Help America Vote Act.

I will build upon these achievements in my second term. I offer a four-point plan to strengthen the safeguards of our elections: (1) require voters to show government-issued photo identification at the polls when they vote; (2) eliminate election-day voter registration; (3) modernize and expedite the signature verification process for mail-in ballots; (4) create authority for the secretary of state, in concert with the attorney general, to investigate and prosecute election law violations.

We don’t have a rampant voter fraud problem in Montana, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make every reasonable effort to ensure the continued integrity of the process. My home has never been burglarized, but I still lock the door when I leave the house. While cases of voter fraud are sprouting up across the country, the current secretary has failed to implement any of these basic precautions to deter voter fraud. It’s time to take this issue more seriously.

I ask you for your vote on June 5 and look forward to the privilege of serving four more years as your secretary of state.

Brad Johnson

East Helena

Vote Laslovich

Posted on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Jesse Laslovich is the leader we need to be our next attorney general. I am proud to be endorsing Jesse because he has the experience and drive that we need from our chief law enforcement official.

He is no rookie to this work, with years of experience already under his belt protecting children from sexual predators and cracking down on DUIs. In the state auditor’s office, he has already returned millions of dollars to scammed Montanans. Jesse is the candidate who will look out for us.

Jesse is also the only candidate that brings years of legislative service to this office. As a member of the legislature, I know it takes persistence and skill to ensure important reforms make it through the process. I’m voting for Jesse Laslovich because he has the experience, values and dedication that we need in an attorney general, and I hope you will join me.

Rep. Bryce Bennett

Missoula

Send Ellie back to Helena

Posted on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 4:00 AM

As the former executive director of Blue Mountain Clinic in Missoula and someone who routinely testified in front of the infamous House Judiciary committee during the “War on Women” this last legislative session, I am writing in fervent support of the re-election of Rep. Ellie Hill in House District 94. As an attorney with a sharp mind and often much-needed quick wit, Hill was a champion in the House of Representatives and she proved herself an absolutely critical voice in assisting the overall effort to stop anti-choice legislation.

I have worked with Hill for years to mobilize activists, engage young people and work on policy solutions year-round, locally and nationally. For Hill’s longtime dedication to progressive causes and due to her stellar work in the last legislative session, it must be noted that organizations from around the state have endorsed her over her once-again opponent and former mayoral candidate, Lou Ann Crowley. Organizations that rely on champions to fight for them in the legislature—like NARAL-Pro Choice Montana, Montana Conservation Voters, United Transportation Workers and MEA/MFT (our teachers and public employees union representing 19,000 Montanans)—have rallied behind the re-election of Hill. As a veteran on choice issues in this state, Hill has never stopped fighting for what’s right for Montana women and families. It’s critical we send her back, and I encourage voters to support her in the June 5th primary.

Anita Vatshell

Missoula

Decline to sign CI-108

Posted on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 4:00 AM

There are petition signature gatherers across the state of Montana trying to get a measure on the ballot to amend the state constitution to say that personhood begins at conception. This measure, known as CI-108, has no exemption for pregnancies from incest or rape, would put women who experience miscarriage under scrutiny and could outlaw birth control and stem cell research. I don’t need or want government policy determining my values and making personal choices for me, especially in matters that are very personal and can often have complex circumstances surrounding them. We are all entitled to our feelings, beliefs and values. We deserve the opportunity to make our own choices that are in our best interest.

CI-108 is an assault on personal freedom and choice. I do not subscribe to the strategy to have religious views dictate policy in the form of law to take away my rights nor those of any other woman in this state. There are more important issues to focus on than meddling in the private affairs of individuals. Montanans, don’t take measures to change our state constitution lightly. Decline to sign CI-108!

Christine Ross

Missoula

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sign the petition

Posted on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 4:00 AM

What a wonderful country we live in. There is no better time to revel in the positive attributes of our country than during an election cycle. Thanks to the actions of five members of the U.S. Supreme Court, we get to see the results of millions of dollars being spent to influence our elections by spreading every sort of misleading, negative information you can imagine. The enjoyment of dispensing this barrage of trumped-up attack ads is not reserved for the anonymous purveyors of Super PACs, but has become the modus operandi of choice for most of the present day candidates. It is extremely rare to discover a candidate who simply extols positive aspects and offers solutions for the challenges which face constituents.

One of the wonderful things about our system is the freedom we have to be able to say most anything in a political race without providing any references whatsoever. The thing about this is, if something is repeated often enough, many people will accept it as fact.

One other great luxury we enjoy is the option to actually agree with a candidate’s views, but then go into the voting booth and vote for his opponent, who is a member of the political party our parents always supported, even though such a choice is not in our best interest.

All facetiousness aside, we really are fortunate to be able to join together with others who are being oppressed by the super rich and to work through the initiative process to bring about an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will effectively make it illegal once again for corporations to spend unlimited funds to influence elections. Enjoy this freedom, and find a Stand With Montanans Petition to sign. Let’s not let super-rich out-of-state entities tell us Montanans how to vote.

Edd Blackler

Bigfork

Franke Wilmer for Congress

Posted on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 4:00 AM

The Democratic Party has fielded an impressive group of candidates vying for Montana’s lone seat in the House of Representatives. But the one who stands out as the exceptional candidate is Franke Wilmer.

While her legislative experience and life story are compelling, what sets Wilmer apart are her unwavering commitment to human rights and her expertise in international affairs. She has published books on both subjects.

Since most of us, by definition, are not part of the one percent who control the wealth and power of the nation, we would be well served to have a representative who truly cares about our human rights and not just our economic status. And as we are obviously part of a global economy and world order, it would certainly benefit us to have our member of Congress be someone who understands the issues.

Franke Wilmer is that person. She is prepared to go to Washington, D.C., and represent all the people of Montana. And she is prepared to help lead this nation. She has the heart and mind to be one of our great Montana leaders.

We encourage you to vote for Franke Wilmer. Google her and learn more about her life, her character and her accomplishments. She is a special Montana woman and someone we are privileged to call a friend. We also want her to be our congressperson.

Robert and Linda Harris

Whitefish

Don’t vote for Republicans

Posted on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 4:00 AM

If you disagree with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which claimed that corporations are people, be aware of some facts concerning the case. The decision reversed over 100 years of constitutional law based on principles established by this nation’s founders. After all, we fought the Revolutionary War in part to achieve independence from English crown corporations that dominated colonial commerce and governed some of the original 13 colonies. It wasn’t until the Civil War that private corporations gained importance and began exerting increasing influence over government at all levels. After two Montana senators bought their way into office with the support of the Anaconda Copper Company, Congress passed the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1913, changing the rules so that U.S. senators were elected by popular vote rather than by state legislatures.

As a result of the Citizens United decision, unlimited and unaccountable corporate money is flooding the campaigns. The court’s decision overruled two precedents of the Supreme Court that upheld restrictions on corporate and union spending to support or oppose political candidates. Annoyance with obtrusive negative ads will be the least of our problems if our elected officials are once again totally owned by corporations and wealthy individuals.

Republicans like to complain about “judicial activism” when a court decision doesn’t go their way, but they remain silent when the court overrules precedent and commits this most grievous case of judicial activism.

Consider that all five Supreme Court justices who voted for the Citizens United decision were appointed by Republican presidents and that the four who voted against it were appointed by Democratic presidents. If you don’t want our government in complete control of international corporate interests, support Jon Tester and other Democrats in their efforts to pass a constitutional amendment repealing the Citizens United decision. Electing a Republican president will perpetuate corporate dominance of our economy, society and politics. If a Republican president appoints another Supreme Court justice, it will ensure more decisions that transfer power from “we the people” to the corporations. Think about this when you vote in November.

Jerry Elwood

Kalispell

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Feature pitch

Posted on Thu, May 17, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Why not run a story about all the rapists in Missoula? You could do a billboard on the cover welcoming them to Missoula, just like you did for the Flathead Valley. Then you could feature each rapist that lives in your community.

Gilbert Bissell

Kalispell

Crowley!

Posted on Thu, May 17, 2012 at 4:00 AM

I don’t vote much anymore. I confess I have become disillusioned with the political process. Some time ago, I gave up believing our “voice” through elected officials really made a difference. Last week I noticed Lou Ann Crowley was running for office and I thought to myself, “Now there’s someone worth voting for.”

I may have given up the courage of my convictions, but she has continued to pursue service to our local community and the broader state community through elected office for many years now. I have served with Lou Ann on a committee in support of education, and I have admired her common-sense approach and ability to find ways to reach agreement without rancor and harsh judgments.

So, I’m dusting off the card that tells me which precinct I’m in and going to go to the polls for the first time in several years. I encourage you to vote for Lou Ann as well. You won’t find a more dedicated or hard-working public official.

Catherine Goodman

Missoula

Send Wilmer to Washington

Posted on Thu, May 17, 2012 at 4:00 AM

This year Montanans have an opportunity to elect someone to Congress who will put our interests first. At a time when we see laws and policies instituted that benefit the few at the expense of the majority, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to elect a candidate, Franke Wilmer, to Congress who will work to represent the majority of Montanans.

Coming from a modest background, Franke often worked two jobs simultaneously while finishing college. Today, she’s a professor of Political Science and International Relations at Montana State University as well as the representative for District 64 in the Montana House. Franke served as Speaker Pro Tem during her second term and was appointed by Gov. Brian Schweitzer as chair of the Montana Human Rights Commission.

Franke understands the need for good, sustainable jobs and affordable healthcare and that the protection of the rights and benefits of retirees are of critical importance to Montanans.

She believes that a strong economy should provide people with economic security and that framing the issue as a choice between economic growth that provides good sustainable jobs or environmental protection is a false choice.

She is a strong supporter of public education and believes that education is both an investment in our economic future and is fundamental to a functioning democracy.

With the numerous challenges we presently face as both Americans and Montanans, Franke Wilmer stands out as the candidate who has the background, the demonstrated record and the position on issues to best represent us in the U.S. Congress in order that we can meet these challenges for ourselves, our state and our country.

Wes Miles

Hamilton

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