Fiscal Responsibility and Good Government
Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.
–Jose Ortega y Gasset, 1883-1955
We pay a quality of life tax to live in Montana and how we spend our money defines our values.
It’s time we really pay attention to how our money is being spent.
That said, Montana has nearly 1 million residents. They don’t agree on everything, so it’s no surprise that their elected representatives don’t either.
The Montana legislature is paralyzed by partisanship and special interests. Montanans are tired of politicians who see everything through a partisan filter. No person, group, or political party has a monopoly on the truth. Montanans have a right to expect their elected officials to work together, even when they disagree, to achieve meaningful results.
By far, one of the most frequent issues I heard from neighbors is how fed up they are with career politicians and bureaucrats who can’t get along and can’t get things done.
I will work with both Democrats and Republicans to get the job done in Helena, and as your State Representative, I will respect opposing views and actively seek out common ground wherever I can find it.
- Sally Mauk: Disparate views of government’s role at Montana Legislature, April 15,2011
- Dennison column: State lawmakers at odds over manners, semantics, March 13, 2011
Accountability and Accessibility
We can make Montana better together.
Through canvassing and correspondence, I am building an unparalleled level of connection with my neighbors in HD94. I will be accountable to voters, not special interests.
The daily happenings of the legislature should be available to all Missoulians. I plan to create a collect email addresses while canvassing and update constituents who want to keep track of the bills and lobbying activities I encounter in Helena.
Corporations are Not People
“A politics that is not sensitive to the concerns and circumstances of people’s lives, a politics that does not speak to and include people, is an intellectually arrogant politics that deserves to fail.” –Senator Paul Wellstone
On January 21st, 2010 the Supreme Court made a landmark decision by allowing corporations to engage in freedom of speech by spending an unlimited amount of money in political campaigns.
“With a single, disastrous 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has thrust politics back to the robber-baron era of the 19th century. Disingenuously waving the flag of the First Amendment, the court’s conservative majority has paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials into doing their bidding.”
This means that corporate interests, foreign or domestic, will now have an unlimited power to bully and silence individual thought. You want to run a campaign to end a war? Haliburton would run unlimited ads against your candidacy. You want to run a campaign to ensure all Americans have access to health care? Massive insurance companies will surely crush you.
“If a member of Congress tries to stand up to a wealthy special interest, its lobbyists can credibly threaten: We’ll spend whatever it takes to defeat you.”
Americans have had to reverse destructive Supreme Court decisions with constitutional amendments in the past. I support such action here: a constitutional amendment clarifying once and for all that corporations are not people, money is not speech, and the Bill of Rights is a bill of human right.
Since the days of the Copper Kings in Butte, Montanans have stood unified in their unequivocal opposition to the idea of allowing fat cats and out-of-state interests from buying political power.
I will propose that a unified Montana legislature send a message to Montana’s Congressional delegation, that Congress must act immediately to limit the damage of this radical decision, which strikes at the heart of democracy.
New York Times:
- Missoula City Council puts corporate rights measure on ballot, August 23, 2011
An education that enriches children’s lives and equips them for the future.
Belief in Public Education
There is nothing more important to the future of this State than the power of quality public education.
An educated community ensures reduced poverty, more opportunity, and a better society. I will tirelessly advocate for a first-class education system.
School Funding and Teachers
I know that funding in education matters. I will fight to make sure that our teachers are competitively compensated, that our students are offered quality programs and rigorous coursework, and that higher education remains accessible and affordable.
The gift of education is the greatest gift I have ever received. I will champion the work that teachers do in the classroom and make certain that teachers’ work is valued, respected, and rewarded.
I have a passion towards our rural areas and deep concerns that Montana’s ten “lowest performing schools” are located in tribal areas. This is abhorrent. I am steadfast in my support of Superintendent Denise Juneau and will support her efforts to “endorse changes to the law that provide flexibility for rural states like Montana so schools can get back to their job of educating the “whole student” – including Montana’s long tradition of arts and humanities. We need to vitalize our schools, ensuring that learning remain joyful, balanced, and work toward a sense of good citizenship, not just high math and reading achievement.”
Civil Liberties, Equality, and Social Justice
Montanans are rugged individualists.
I will represent a Montana that respects every person’s private decisions about forming intimate relationships and building secure and healthy families.
I will fight to ensure that every Montanan has the resources to make these basic health care decisions responsibly: from sex education to birth control to prenatal care to the option of abortion.
This is a priority issue to many in House District 94, specifically because equality for all families in Montana is no longer a partisan issue in the State.
The protections currently denied to same sex couples in Montana include: hospital visitation, Social Security benefits, immigration, health insurance, estate taxes, family leave, nursing homes, home protection and pensions. This is abominable.
History bends not only toward fairness and equality, but also toward common sense.
Marriage strengthens couples and families, who in turn help strengthen their communities, one at a time— leading ultimately to a stronger, more robust nation. We will reach a time in this country when we value and protect all families equally and I will fight tirelessly, across the aisle to assure that all Montanans share the equal rights and justice they are entitled.
Women have made great strides in the fight for equality, but gender bias continues to create great barriers for many, especially poor women, women of color, and immigrant women.
Ongoing struggles include ensuring equal economic and educational opportunities, ending gender-based violence, and addressing the harms to women and girls in the criminal justice system. I will work to systematically end sex discrimination and ensure that all women and girls in Montana are able to lead lives of dignity.
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
— Franklin Delanor Roosevelt, 1937
All Montanans, of any age and income level and in every part of the State, should have the opportunity to live in safe, decent and affordable housing.
Negative stereotypes surrounding affordable housing have persisted for years and have never been countered forcefully or consistently. Polls show a majority of Americans support affordable housing programs, but they have not made their voices heard. In recent decades, home prices and rental rates have increased faster than income in Missoula, increasing the need for affordable housing.
I am committed to providing safe, healthy affordable housing using sustainable methods to those in need. Affordable housing is a high priority concern for me and its time we take action at the legislative level.
I am a proud supporter of HomeWORD, the North Missoula Community Development Corporation, and Mayor John Engen’s Affordable Housing Committee.
Health Care for All.
A moral society cares about the health care of its people and an astounding 20% of Montanans are without health care insurance. Health care is a basic human need, just like housing and food. We’ve made significant strides in helping to cover employees of small businesses and children living at or near the poverty level, but we can’t stop until all Montanans have access to affordable health care.
Montana’s part-time legislators have access to the state’s health insurance plan and they are only in session every two years.
I am proud supporter and/or member of Montana Women Vote, Montana Human Rights Network, ACLU of Montana, United Way of Missoula County, YWCA of Missoula County, Blue Mountain Clinic, Planned Parenthood of Montana, and Forward Montana.
- Marbut’s ‘tinkerbell’ label angers Montana Human Rights Network organizer, February 22, 2012
- Montana House passes bill to repeal, reform medical marijuana, April 11, 2011
Conservation and the Environment
Stewardship of Montana’s constitutional guarantee of a clean and healthful environment
One of the reasons I have lived in the Rocky Mountain West all my life is the access to rivers, lakes and mountains that define our region.
I will unequivocally fight for healthy communities, stewardship of our lands, and clean, renewable energy for future generations.
I pledge to be an advocate who works towards a renewable energy economy to ensure clean energy jobs and an independent energy future for Montana.
“To waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified. . . “
Leading scientists around the world agree that man-made greenhouse gases from fossil fuels are causing global warming. Effects are already being seen worldwide and even here in Montana. Long-term consequences will be devastating. I will work to reduce global warming pollution as the future of the last best place is critically at stake.
Solving global warming means investing in clean renewable energy.
Rivers and Streams
I will invest energy at the legislature in conserving, protecting and restoring Montana’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.
I will also work towards the further promotion of a fishery management that preserves and improves populations of wild fish, prioritizing the conservation of populations of native species, such as cutthroat and bull trout.
“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”
~Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
Energy Efficiency for Utilities
Last session, the Energy Efficiency Standard for Utilities died in the House Energy committee on a party-line vote with all Montana Democrats supporting it.
Eighteen other states in the U.S. have adopted energy efficiency standards, and the federal government is considering enacting a national standard.
This is important and worthwhile legislation.
Big Sky Rivers Act
Last session HB 455, the Big Sky Rivers Act, sponsored by Rep. Michele Reinhart (D-Missoula), would have empowered local governments to create a 250-foot streamside management area to buffer Montana’s “Big 10” rivers from new commercial and residential development. Streamside management zones give our rivers and streams room to breathe, protecting public health and safety as well as world-class fish and wildlife. Despite widespread support, HB 455 failed in the House Local Government Committee on a tie, party-line vote, with Democrats supporting the measure and Republicans opposing it. I will work to further see that this smart and practical policy passes in 2011.
I am proud to be a paid member and supporter of Montana Conservation Voters, Clark Fork Coalition, Montana Trout Unlimited, and Montana Audubon.