Helena Mayor Jim Smith on Climate Change: “I’m Not Gonna Take the Time to Learn More”

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During the recent City Commission debate about Andres Haladay’s proposal to uphold the Paris climate deal abandoned by President Trump, Helena Mayor Jim Smith expressed concern about the resolution and told the Commission that he didn’t understand much about the climate change proposal and didn’t intend to learn more about it, saying that he’s “not gonna take the time to learn more about the truth of it.”

As President Trump abandons international obligations, city and state leaders across the country are responding by passing resolutions and policies that will keep their communities in line with the rest of the world and the science that tells us we must begin to control emissions if we hope to prevent the most devastating impacts of climate change.

To bury one’s head in the sand and pretend that cities don’t have a role to play is to abrogate the responsibility of leadership. And that’s long been my frustration with Mayor Smith. On issues outside of his experience, from the rights of the LGBTQ community to climate change, he’s demonstrated an unwillingness to learn about issues or how policies might affect people outside his circle and circumstances.

The City Commission could vote on the resolution on June 26. Before then, contact Mayor Smith and ask him to learn about climate or to at least vote with those who are willing to take the time to learn about it.

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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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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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  • This is not difficult. Perhaps he should arrange to visit a Helena High science class and they can explain it to him. Or Central–whichever.

  • Really. A town (not a city) of 55,000 should adopt the Paris accords. Because the amount of pollution being emitted by the vast military industrial complex that operases in the Helena valley is clearly warming the climate, as evidenced by the 120 degrees in Phoenix.

    Truly mind boggling. Mayor Smith’s non support for the Paris treaty will clearly lead to the disappearance of the Smith River, if the Black Butte mine doesn’t destroy it first.

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