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Scott Sales Wants Rural Montana Hospitals to Shutter But Wants to Spend $8 Million on Trump’s Vanity Wall Project

Barring a resurrection of the atlatl bill, Montana Senate President Scott Sales has already won this year’s contest for the most absurd bill at the Montana Legislature. A year after a disastrous special session led to massive, destabilizing cuts to vital services across rural Montana and ever-present concerns about adequate budget reserves to battle wildfires, Sales is proposing that the people of Montana pony up $8 million to fund President Trump’s impractical vanity wall on the border with Mexico.

Mike Dennison has the story:

Montana Senate President Scott Sales said Wednesday he’ll ask the Legislature to express its formal support for President Trump’s southern border wall – and, put some taxpayer money where its mouth is.

The Bozeman Republican said he’ll also be sponsoring a bill to appropriate $8 million of state money toward building the wall.

While this stunt is clearly little more than an attempt by Sales to get some attention from the reality-deprived members of the GOP electorate before he launches a bid for a 2020 statewide run, it’s also a clear indication of the priorities that drive the leadership of the Montana GOP.

While they’re fine with the idea of Montanans needlessly dying and rural hospitals closing, they’re perfectly willing to use their offices and our dollars for political stunts for their own gratification.

While they’re wont to claim ad nauseam that only they truly understand the constitution, they’re perfectly willing to endorse proposals like having the states assume responsibility for clear federal obligations like border security.

And while they’re entirely satisfied with draconian cuts to social services across the state, they, led by Scott Sales, are perfectly content to demand that taxpayers increase legislative pay by 69% to develop, promote and debate ideas as idiotic as this one.

Stay in your lane, Senator Sales. And please don’t use this legislative session–one that is critical for thousands of Montanans–to further your ambition.


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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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  • If this is the type of leadership we are going to get from the current MT State Senate President, I think it is time for a new election among the members! He appears to be lacking in common sense, and does not care one whit for the problems we are facing in our own state. He wants to end the very successful Medicaid Expansion program because it costs too much, but is then willing to hand over huge amounts of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars to satisfy a temper tantrum by the occupant of the White House. How impressive you are, Mr. No-Sales!

  • I think it would be poetic justice if Mr. Sales were to be in need of medical care somewhere in the Absaroka Mountains and have to wait for someone from Billings or Bozeman to find and rescue him and take him to the largest hospital in the area. We have great search and rescue in our community and the local hospital serves the community at a high level. Let Mr. Sales travel hundreds of miles for a Dr. appointment or for a medical procedure and feel the impact on his life as well as his family.

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