In our interview this week with Senate candidate Wilmot Collins, the Helena mayor offered strong criticism of Montana Senator Daines, suggesting that his unwillingness to meet with Montanans made it impossible for the Senator to understand the concerns of all Montanans, especially those who disagreee with his views.
Collins promised to hold public town halls if elected to the Senate, noting that “representing Montana means representing “Democrats, Republicans, Independents, the Green Party, the whole batch. I will have to engage with the other side in order to fully represent the state.”
Collins also struck a pragmatic and idealistic note on health care, noting that while he would work to fix the Affordable Care Act or the development of Medicare for All to ensure access, he believes that access to healthcare is a fundamental right:
Our poverty stems from that. Our livelihood woes stem from that. Everything goes right back to health care: a sick man is no good to the economy, a sick man is no good to the neighborhood, a sick man has no good to the state, to the country, to anything.
So, yes health care. I believe is a right.
Asked about increasing the federal minimum wage which hasn’t increased since 2009, Collins called for the gradual implementation of a $15 living wage, noting that the dire predictions some made about Seattle’s living wage resolution have not come to pass, that a living wage was essential to being able to afford housing, and that it will improve productivity:
People are better off. People look forward to going to work. They don’t find excuses not to go to work. They don’t find excuses to use time. You know, they they get excited going to work and businesses thrive because of that because they have dedicated employees.
Asked about the challenge of running against Steve Daines, Collins questioned the notion that only the richest should have the chance to govern:
“I’m regular person but why should only the wealthy govern…You see it’s more than just money; it’s real people;it’s not the people in Washington D.C.
You can listen to the whole interview, in which Collins also addresses climate change, the VA system, his promise to be an independent voice in Washington and more.