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Representative Rodney Garcia Attacks Child Protective Services, Calling them Kidnappers, on a Militia News Outlet

When I started writing this blog, it would have been hard to imagine a headline like the one on this post. While I certainly disagreed with Republicans on many issues, it wasn’t a common occurrence for an elected Republican official in Montana to sit down with a militia news outlet; nor was it common for such a legislator to accuse government agencies entrusted with protecting children of “kidnapping” them.

That’s just what Billings representative Rodney Garcia did last week, though. In an interview with militia news outlet Northwest Liberty News, Garcia attacked Child Protective Services in Montana, accusing its social workers of “stealing kids” before proposing jailing them for doing so.

Garcia agreed enthusiastically with the interviewer, James White, when he claimed that “CPS was a ruse…they violate the law. I think that they harm children,” before claiming that “Child Protective Services do not protect the children. They kidnap them.”

Apparently not understanding either how child protective services operate or what a court order is, Garcia went on to assert that children are “taken” from their homes with a mere accusation.

How does Garcia propose to solve the imaginary crisis he’s created? By “putting a $1,000 day fine when they steal kids” and putting the CPS caseworkers in jail. Later, he argued for cutting the budget of Child Protective Services in half.

In a bizarre admission, Garcia also said that CPS came to his house forty-five years ago to investigate an allegation without taking his kids.

And then the interview went completely off the rails. Mr. White claimed that the places where children who are removed from their homes are taken are “littered with pedophiles,” and that Planned Parenthood is “chopping up babies and selling their body parts,” and once again, Representative Garcia agreed, calling it a sad day in our nation’s history.

Later, Garcia criticized a legislative proposal to better train CPS workers, calling it an effort to “train you guys to steal kids better.” At the 10:25 mark of the interview, Garcia really gets into the militia spirit, calling on people to “defend their property and their family” from CPS workers.

It would be tempting to dismiss Representative Garcia’s ravings, but they represent the view of many Republicans, who brought three bills to the House designed to undermine Child Protective Services. HB 408, HB 409, and HB 410, two of which have failed in the House, all of which were endorsed by Republicans like Al Olszewski, would have made it more difficult to remove children from situations where they were subject to abuse and neglect.

It’s horrifying that many Montana Republicans want to spread misinformation about vaccination and it’s dangerous that they tacitly and directly endorse the views of dangerous anti-government groups, but it’s reprehensible that they want to make it more difficult to remove children from homes where they are abused. It’s reprehensible that they want to roll back the protections society has put in place to protect kids from horrific abuse and dangerous neglect, and that they’re willing to demonize people who do some of the most challenging jobs in our state to do it.

I’d like to think that the Republican Party isn’t filled with legislators like Mr. Garcia, people who will cast the most unfair and dangerous aspersions about social service workers, but at least 40 Republicans voted for each of these bills, all of which will make it more difficult to protect kids from monsters who would harm them.

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.

6 Comments

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  • While not quite as abhorrent as his attack on CPS or the bizarre interview he gave to the militia “news” site, Garcia should also be remembered for his bill that would have Montana buying the aged CO2 spewing Colstrip power plants, thereby saddling the state with the clean up costs and a mountain of debt. Where does the GOP find these people?

    • Dora, they have been conditioned to vote “R” no matter what by Voices of Montana, FOX “news”, Rush, Hannity, Brietbart, etc, etc, etc. They are not really in their “right mind” because they have been brainwashed by years of extreme right-wing propaganda and Corporate sponsored lies.

  • I have seen with my own eyes and known families that were torn apart unnecessarily based on an accusation. I have seen kids torn from one parent only to be placed in an even worse situation with the other parent. Child Protective Services needs better staff, better training, better funding, and better policy procedures. Hiring former probation officers is not a good idea. I know one of the offices did just that. Corrections is worlds apart from social programs and legit protection for kids. Let’s not forget there is an ombudsman that only exists on paper because CPS doesn’t want their mistakes widely known. I get mocking Republicans, but I have to part with you on this one topic.

    • I think we can all agree, Chad, that CPS needs “…better training, better funding and better policy procedures.” That’s not what Rep. Garcia’s bill was about.

    • Seems easy enough to prove that these things happen, Chad, and it’s hardly going to improve CPS and its protection of children to cut funding for the program.

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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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