2017 Special Election Greg Gianforte Montana Politics The Media

The Montana press should ask Gianforte the tough questions

There hasn’t been much news about congressional candidate Greg Gianforte since he secured the Republican nomination.

I noticed he was in a St. Patrick’s Day parade — in Billings! Beer drinking Democrats in Butte, America, may not have presented as warm a welcome. Other than that, besides hundreds of thousands of dollars in out-of-state purchased TV ads, he’s been off the radar.

In earlier Facebook posts Gianforte pledged his allegiance to Donald Trump. He looked at Montana’s 2016 election results and figured since Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 20 points in Montana, that was a safe bet.

His website also referenced Trump’s policies as akin to his own. Now that Trump’s poll numbers are in the dumpster (Gallup has his approval rating at 39%) Gianforte’s backing off. His new mantra is “fighting back against Washington, D.C.’s War On The West.”

It looks to me the biggest “War on the West” is contained in Trump’s recently released budget proposal. It’s time for the press to start asking where Gianforte stands on many of the proposed cuts. Let’s start with just seven questions that need to be asked:

  1. Do you support the Republican Health Care Plan, also known as Trumpcare?
  2. Followup question #1. You’re okay with 24 million Americans losing health insurance over the next decade? The numbers aren’t in for Montana but tens of thousands losing their insurance is a safe estimate. You good with that, Greg?
  3. Followup question #2. You’re supporting a 750% increase in premiums for 64-year-olds making $26,500-a-year? In other words, they’ll pay $14,600 a year, or more than half their income. Is that acceptable to you?
  4. Followup question #3. Montana’s rural hospitals are already hurting. If Medicaid expansion folds, Health Care Marketplace subsidies are abandoned, and only the rich, and the young (many who won’t buy insurance) are the only ones left in the insurance pool, how many rural hospitals will close?
  5. Trump wants to end the Essential Air Service program. How many of Montana’s smaller airports will lose commercial service? Sidney, Glasgow, Wolf Point, Havre, Glendive?
  6. How would a 31% proposed cut to the Environmental Protection Agency affect the 18-plus Superfund sites in Montana?
  7. The Forest Service and National Park Service are facing massive cuts. What does that mean for Glacier and Yellowstone Parks, and Montana’s 19 million acres of national forests?

I’m sure the Montana media can come up with dozens of other questions, like Gianforte’s disdain for the LGBTQ community, women’s rights, public education and people with disabilities, for example.

But, Montana press, feel free to start with any of the seven questions above.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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  • How about asking how the healthcare action will affect nursing home personnel and hospital aids, thus affecting the quality of care for those who can afford their own care. We all rise and fall together.

    And how about the family farmer/rancher?

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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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