Montana Politics

“Where is Denise Juneau?” asks Logicosity

It’s a fair question. I don’t believe Ms. Juneau can win her congressional race by running a timid campaign.

On the other hand, we don’t hear much about her work in Montana’s Indian Country. By most accounts, there is a huge registration and get-out-the-vote drive on all seven reservations. At 6.5 percent of the Montana population, and many tribal members hitting voting age, it could make the difference.

And she is working the circuit as her Facebook page notes: parades, fairs, fundraisers and the like.

Logicosity’s complaint is issue based. What are the issues that separate her from Ryan Zinke? Well, there’s one but it’s getting a little threadbare, and it’s public lands. It’s the mantra of Montana Democrats this cycle and it plays well, but it isn’t enough. Zinke has a sketchy record on the issue but he doesn’t have nearly the baggage that Gov. Steve Bullock’s opponent, Greg Gianforte, has.

The other avenue the Juneau campaign is taking is the Trump/Zinke connection. Zinke continues to proudly support Trump despite racist, sexist, and anti-veteran comments. It’s a decent campaign strategy but, again, will it be enough?

A local Bernie Sanders activist said the other day that the movement (I prefer that term to revolution — we’re not Che Guevara here) is starting to lose steam. Outreach from the Juneau campaign to Bernie supporters could help rekindle that spirit, to a degree, and contribute enthusiasm, volunteers and voters. She’ll need a strong, progressive message to get them involved.

Democratic Party campaign advisors are playing it safe. They did so during the John Lewis congressional campaign in 2014 and that gave us Zinke.

To paraphrase Logicosity, it’s time to ramp up the campaign. The differences between Juneau and Zinke are stark and need to be on display.



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  • *What are the issues that separate her from Ryan Zinke?*

    I’d start with brains, then commitment to the people of Montana instead of donors in Texas, then understanding the educational needs of children better than anyone else in Montana and giving a damn about the families who need support and guidance from government agencies including medical care, jobs and housing. Then, yes, move on to Zinke’s link to Trump, the racist, xenophobic bad joke of a presidential candidate.
    Dan Lourie Bozeman

  • Pete asks: “What are the issues that separate her from Ryan Zinke? Well, there’s one but it’s getting a little threadbare, and it’s public lands. It’s the mantra of Montana Democrats this cycle and it plays well, but it isn’t enough.”

    I’ve pointed some of these facts out before, but they bare repeating.

    When Denise Juneau unveiled her “Public Lands Priorities” last month I couldn’t help but notice a few things, and how Republican many of Juneau’s “Public Lands Priorities” sounded.

    For example, press release included a lot of Republican rhetoric about ‘cutting red tape’ and ‘streamlined environmental review’ as a top public lands priority. I’m not sure that really plays well with many progressive, environmentally-minded Dems or Independents in Montana.

    Does Juneau realize that so-called ‘red tape’ is actually one thing that helps protect our public lands, wildlife and ecosystems from unwise development and the desires of the anti-public lands, anti-wilderness, anti-environmental crowd?

    It’s also worth noting that Denise Juneau listed one of her “Public Lands Priorities” as “streamlining environmental review” for National Forest timber sales using President George W Bush’s so-called “Healthy Forests ‘Restoration’ Act” as a model.

    Once again, “streamlined environmental review” is code for supporting much less analysis of how a timber sale on National Forests will impact wildlife, clean water, soils, native forests, etc.

    And again, a Montana Democrat celebrating the fact that she’d like to use President Bush’s Orwellian “Healthy Forests” logging scheme to ‘streamline environmental review’ to help increase logging of public lands may not play well with many progressive, environmentally-minded Dems or Independents in Montana.

    Also, clearing missing from Juneua’s “Public Lands Priorities” when she originally unveiled them was any mention of Wilderness, or even a vague reference to the concept of protecting wildlands.

    As I mentioned before, if you are a Montanan who cares deeply about America’s public lands and our Wilderness legacy Denise Juneau’s ‘Public Lands Priorities” are a real disappointment and leaves a lot to be desired. Sure, she wouldn’t be as bad as Zinke on public lands, but that hardly makes Juneau (or Montana Dems) the public lands champion that some want to make her out to be.

  • Matt, the “plays well” quote refers to polling and the general public, not to the Wild West Institute’s or like organizations’ wishes. This is a political campaign, and while I’d like to see more progressive, aggressive issue statements, particularly on the environment, this is Montana and I’m a realist. The language you would craft for her would be a lightening rod for her campaign and a blessing for her opponent.

    • Hello Pete,

      Here’s some information about the WildWest Institute. I’d be curious to know what below, in your opinion, may not “play well” with the general public, or would serve as a “lightening rod.” Thanks.

      What is the WildWest Institute?

      The mission of the WildWest Institute is to protect and restore forests, wildlands, watersheds and wildlife in the Northern Rockies. We monitor and empower citizens to effectively participate in the public land management decision processes on nearly 20 national forests. Our staff and board also work to help craft positive solutions that promote sustainability in our communities through restoring naturally functioning ecosystems.

      Our geographic area of focus is the Northern Rockies Bioregion, which is defined as the U.S. Northern Rocky Mountains proper, plus adjacent and/or ecologically-related wildlands. We also actively participate in larger national policy efforts as they have implications in the Northern Rockies.

      Ecosystem Defense Program

      Our Ecosystem Defense Program is a leader in developing strategies to ensure that the U.S. Government follows the law when managing our public forests and wildlands. In fact, many of the most significant, precedent-setting legal victories protecting old-growth forests, roadless wildlands, clean water and wildlife habitat have been the result of our work. We stay abreast of, and seek out, the latest scientific research relating to land management and we also strive to get on the ground and monitor all project areas to gather site-specific information.

      Watershed and Wildland Fire Restoration Program

      Our Watershed and Wildland Fire Restoration Program gets our organization and volunteers involved with on-the-ground watershed restoration projects and community fuel reduction projects in the Northern Rockies. At WildWest we believe the sooner that we can help move ecologically beneficial restoration and community fuel reduction work on National Forests forward, the better off our forests, wildlife, watersheds and communities will be. Our goal is work together with diverse interests to help be a catalyst for the establishment of a new, sustainable restoration economy in our region.

      Roadless Rockies Program

      Our Roadless Rockies Program is committed to protecting all roadless wildlands in the Northern Rockies. Unlike other parts of the country, the Northern Rockies is blessed with some of the best remaining pristine roadless wildlands and old-growth forests in the nation. Like most Americans, we believe it would be shortsighted and irresponsible to open these ecologically important areas to more logging, roadbuilding, drilling and development.

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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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