Energy Montana Politics

Some weekend reading

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What, Gianforte pandering?

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte is hopping on the Trump bandwagon. Unlike that “week-kneed” Governor Bullock, Gianforte says, he’s not going to let any of those radical Muslims into Montana. Actually, his campaign letter makes little sense, as he’s calling for a halt to “un-vetted Syrian refugees,” which, of course, was never the relocation plan. I’m also not aware of any “unvetted Syrian refugees” involved in terrorist activities in the Western World. Here’s the link, courtesy of Dick Barrett, SD-45.

More Gianforte news

It looks like he’s backing off on his requirement to teach computer science in high schools. At one point, Gianforte suggested computer coding was a language, similar to French and Spanish, and could replace foreign language requirements. Problem is, there are no foreign language requirements in public schools. They have always been an elective.

I’m not against teaching computer science to kids but not at the expense of foreign languages. And Gianforte has apparently changed his mind, saying he wants to be more of “a cheerleader” for computer sciences rather than mandating them in public schools. The Missoulian has the story.

PSC sides with NWE over solar

From the Billings Gazette:

Montana’s Public Service Commission pulled the plug on guaranteed rates for small solar projects Thursday at the request of NorthWestern Energy, which said the rates were too pricey for ratepayers.

It’s complicated, as stories concerning the PSC, utility regulation and rate structures often are. Small scale solar, which isn’t really that small — three megawatts or enough to power up to 540 homes — was granted a rate of $66 an megawatt hour from the PSC four years ago. It’s about the same rate as NWE gets for its hydroelectric power. The PSC is now saying that solar rate is too high as a surge of companies want in on the action.

It was a 3-2 vote and the Montana Consumer Council, often NWE’s foil, weighed in on NWE’s side. It isn’t easy to figure out who did the right thing in this situation but I’m guessing NWE was protecting its interests. Please read the story and judge for yourself, and keep in mind why it’s so important to have knowledgable, forward-thinking people on the commission.

Wittich heads to Cleveland

State Sen. Art Wittich was found guilty in district court in April of taking more than $19,000 in illegal and unreported in-kind contributions. On Friday he was fined $68,000 but allowed to keep his seat for the next six months. Wittich lost his bid for a second term in the June 7 Republican primary to Bruce Grubbs.

He will be heading to Cleveland in July as a delegate to the Republican National Convention, though. State Republicans held their convention in May but I was reticent in checking on who they’re sending to national. There are many from the far-right, including Jennifer Fielder, Ed Butcher, Peggy and Ken Miller … and Wittich. I sent a query via Facebook asking Wittich if he was supporting Donald Trump as the nominee. I haven’t heard back yet.

I’ve listed both the Democratic and Republican Party delegates to the national conventions below the fold.

This sums it up

I’ll leave you with this, from HuffPo writer Bob Garfield. He makes a strong case for the decline of political discourse in America, but it least he sprinkles it with some humor. Here’s a snippet:

Fifty million — pulling the lever for a pathological liar, peddler of vile racist, misogynist, xenophobic ravings and sneering trampler of our most fundamental American values. Not to mention the Constitution, with which he seems unfamiliar. Not to mention a personality I’d call infantile, if I weren’t afraid of insulting infants. And tiles.

Republican National Delegates

Berglee, Seth
Brown, Dee
Brown, James
Butcher, Edward
Fagg, Harrison
Fielder, Jennifer
Happel, Dan
Hopkins, Mike
Lamm, Debra
Landsgaard, Paul
Lotton, Bradley
Mandeville, Forrest
Manzella, Theresa
Milanovich, Anita
Milanovich, John
Miller, Ken
Miller, Peggy
Noland, Mark
Nordwick, Suzzann
Olsen, Eric
Pfaehler, Karen Marie
Tuck, Thomas
Wittich, Art
Zinke, Ryan

Democratic National Delegates

Hilary Clinton Delegates:

  • Wanda Grinde – Billings
  • Carl Donovan – Great Falls
  • Monica Robinson – Bozeman
  • George Kipp III – Heart Butte
  • Nick Lockridge – Helena
  • Carol Williams -Missoula
  • Caryn Kallay – CSKT
  • Barnett G. Sporkin-Morrison – Choteau
  • Stacie Anderson – Missoula
  • Christine Kaufmann – Helena

Bernie Sanders Delegates:

  • Jennifer Merecki – Billings
  • Sue Frazier – Manhattan
  • Alex Lei – Bozeman
  • Andy Boyd – Bozeman
  • Donovan Hawk – Butte
  • Teresa Jacobs – Missoula
  • Bill Geer – Lolo
  • Debbie Orozco – Arlee
  • Sharon Peregoy – Crow Agency
  • Anita Green – Missoula
  • Steve Wells – Missoula
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About the author

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

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