Montana Politics

Republican Legislator Jesse O’Hara on GOP Leadership

Great Falls Republican legislator Jesse O’Hara on the extremists running the Republican Party in Montana:

Somewhere along the way extremists have anointed themselves the arbiters of all things Republican. The failed leadership team of Art Wittich and Jason Priest, along with their mouthpieces Jeff Essman and Ed Walker, illustrated their 10-year plan to purge the party in a series of leaked emails. Other extremists have proposed candidate purity tests further limiting the electorate’s choice in elections, often recruiting Libertarians to run as Republicans to further drive their agenda. Extremists engage in this duplicitous behavior because they recognize it’s their best chance for a successful coup.

I have been active in Republican politics for five decades. In the most recent decade, the extremists have begun to pursue a hyper-partisan policy of divisiveness while formally rejecting the benefits of statesmanship and compromise. We now risk becoming a fringe party, misaligned with the needs of the electorate and incapable of sustaining a governing majority.

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  • As a candidate running for the Montana House of Representatives, I’m frustrated by this seeming unwillingness to compromise that seems so prevalent in Montana politics today.

    Running as a Democrat, I know full-well there’s a strong chance that legislature is going to be controlled by the Republicans. That’s why if I’m lucky enough to win my primary in June I’m hoping to send some emails and letters to these Republicans in other areas of the state that have also won their primary.

    I’d like to show a willingness to listen to the issues they care about and see if we can find some common ground to work together. I want to do this on the more “boring” issues that don’t get a lot of ink in the press, but which are the real nuts and bolts of how this state runs.

    I sure hope other Democrats and Republicans have my attitude, and I look forward to working with them in Helena next year to pass meaningful legislation that helps hardworking people in Montana.

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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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