Another collection of the most interesting reads from around the Big Sky this week. I’d like to draw particular attention to a new source, Plains Speaking, a blog written by members of Northern Plains Resource Council.
A Billionaire-Backed Super PAC Attacks a Homegrown Congressional Candidate–Earlier this month, for instance, the Great Falls Tribune published a series of letters from Montana voters supporting Quist over his opponent, the wealthy technology entrepreneur Greg Gianforte. One of the voters, a Dulcy Zoellner of Whitefish, summed up the race in a concise and cutting fashion: “Any state can elect a Gianforte. Only Montana can elect a Rob Quist. He’s the real deal.” psmag.com
SENATE BILL 235: A THREAT TO LANDOWNERS–The legislature and Gov. Bullock need to reject Senate Bill 235. It’s bad public policy and encourages economic speculation at the expense of Montana landowners.
The bill could indefinitely extend leases for taxpayer-owned minerals to coal companies who haven’t broken ground for a decade. If you aren’t mining, you shouldn’t be tying up resources on speculation. www.northernplains.org
Kansas: Does a Close Second in a Two-way Race Really Count?–The closeness of the Kansas race should serve as a wake-up call for The Donald and D’s alike.Regarding the impact of the Georgia contest on the The Donald and his bunch, Chris Cillizza write: “Lose that one and what is a low murmur of concern right now will turn into something more like a stampeding panic.” www.logicosity.com
Billionaire Gianforte Can’t Be Bought? More Like: He Buys People–Gianforte’s comment about not being “bought” harkened me back to some research about the 2015 session, specifically regarding the major funders for those Republicans intended to form the barrier against progress. Gianforte and his wife, though obviously really the man-of-the-house, spent $12,410 that session for their (his) favored candidates. Also giving money to most of the exact same candidates were the Wilks family from Texas. They gave $16,320 to the same people (and a few more). It is immeasurably interesting they all gave to the same people because the Wilks family, who made tens of billions selling their fracking enterprise, have an interest in owning massive amounts of prime Montana property for private use. Hm. Sound familiar? Know anyone else who made money selling a company that wanted to cut-off access to their property? mtcowgirl.com
Prairie Lights: A big loss for independent news in Montana | Last Best News–But if the history of Lee Enterprises over the past 20 years is any guide, last week’s announcement was the first note of the Indy’s death knell. Whether it survives six more months, a year, or even longer, I am convinced its days as an independent newspaper are numbered. lastbestnews.com
Anti-Bike Crusade isn’t Funny – Flathead Beacon–Bike & Build, a nonprofit that leads bike tours across the country during which cyclists build low-income housing, told Bicycling Magazine it might skip Montana in coming years.According to the University of Montana Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research, bicycle tourism has an annual economic impact of $377 million. Apparently that doesn’t matter to a Legislature that thinks alienating cyclists is funny. Flathead Beacon
THERE’S ALWAYS ANOTHER ELECTION … WHY THE HOUSE COULD SHIFT TO THE DEMOCRATS–Indian Country’s first judgement of the Trump administration comes in Montana on May 25. Montana voters will pick a replacement for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Zinke defeated Denise Juneau to win re-election. Now the race is between a singing cowboy, Rob Quist, and a wealthy entrepreneur, Greg Gianforte, who lost the November race for governor. trahantreports.com