Don't Let Republicans Pull the Wool Over Your Eyes
Posted by Mary Catherine Dunphy (+993) 13 days ago
"After watching Republican legislative leaders kill infrastructure job opportunities across Montana, yet again, [for the 3rd time] at the end of a legislative session, yet again, it’s time we stop electing those who stand in the way of job growth and elect those who will put you to work.

There are bound to be conversations in coffee shops and cafes across this state about who is responsible for this irresponsible inaction in the Legislature. I’m here to tell you that blame belongs solely at the feet of Republican legislative leaders — specifically House Speaker Austin Knudsen of Culbertson.

Democratic legislators were clear — crystal clear — coming into this session that the No. 1 priority was passing a jobs bill that would address our crumbling schools and roads, water systems, veterans’ care and more.

Just look at the data. On every bill that addressed major infrastructure projects and bonding, nearly 100 percent of the Democratic caucus supported each and every bill.

The Republican caucus, meanwhile, never fully got behind infrastructure jobs bills like House Bill 645 and Senate Bill 367. Sometimes only 3 percent of their caucus supported these job-creating measures. Speaker Knudsen never once voted in favor of these infrastructure bills.

Democratic legislators, who are in the minority, also came to the negotiating table several times to address Republicans’ concerns about the amount of money in the bonding bill. It went from $157 million to $80.3 million. At the end, though, Knudsen and his fellow Republican leaders in the Legislature — Seth Berglee, Greg Hertz, Ron Ehli, Theresa Manzella, Nancy Ballance, Alan Doane and Brad Tschida — decided to vote against the will of the people of Montana.

At the beginning of the session, Montanans had hope that Republicans were going to work with Gov. Steve Bullock and the Democratic caucus to make infrastructure jobs a priority.

Speaker Knudsen was quoted in the 'Missoula Current' in January saying: “I look forward to working with my colleagues and the governor, as we work to reach results. That’s what the people of Montana sent us here to do.”

He even admitted, before making his final votes to kill infrastructure on April 26, that Bullock had reached out to him repeatedly to try and negotiate a deal. 'Governor Bullock has absolutely called me more times than I’ve called him to have a discussion about bonding. I’m going to give him credit where credit is due,' he said on the House floor.

Apparently the only way the extremist Republican was going to work with Bullock was negotiating a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions while also pushing for private school funding.

There is no amount of backpedaling Republicans and Speaker Knudsen can do to try and hide from their obstructionist record this legislative session. It’s time to call a spade a spade. It’s time to elect Democrats, whose voting records show they are willing to fight for good-paying jobs for all Montanans."

Jim Larson is chairman of the board for the Montana Democratic Party. He lives in Billings and is a member of Teamsters Local 190.

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Posted by Jeri Dalbec (+1812) 9 days ago
Thank you. A very interesting article. I am still puzzled that I live in a community that will not pass a School Bond Mill Levy for ONE (1) year?
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Posted by gunsngold (-2348) 9 days ago
Why do you want everyone to work all the damn time, I work enough already. I'll cut my hours in half, and someone else can do the hard part.
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Posted by Bridgier (+7401) 8 days ago
plus then you'll have plenty of time to hit the klan rally circuit.
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Posted by gunsngold (-2348) 8 days ago
Wouldn't wanna miss that.