Our Interview with Daniel Carlino, PSC District 4: Running to Reform the Most Corrupt Body in Montana Politics

Daniel Carlino, candidate for Public Service Commission District 4, doesn’t shy away from the activist message at the center of his campaign. In his interview with the Montana PostCast, he called for public ownership of utilities, an end to the corrupting influence of money in our politics, and an assertive approach designed to hold politicians accountable.

Carlino believes that the PSC can take the lead on climate justice and ensuring that public policy matches what the science tells us:

We’re [working on changing] our politics on what’s politically acceptable to match up with what science is demanding that we do to stop the climate crisis and what justice is demanding that we do to uplift our fellow neighbors and really have some better equality in this country. So just being passionate about protecting our natural world and really just seeing the injustices in our political system has brought me to want to get involved and organize people and make sure that we come out the other side better after this election.

Asked about the experience he’d bring to the PSC, Carlino highlighted his education, climate advocacy, and his willingness to take on what he calls the “most corrupt political body in Montana”:

My main experience has been studying into climate change studies into how our natural world works and our ecosystems and experience with organizing people and taking on corruption when we’re looking at the PSC. This is the most corrupt political body in Montana right now. They have been subservient to allowing these monopolies, especially Northwestern Energy, to run all over Montanans for their profit motives. And my experience with organizing campaigns to take the fossil fuel money out of our politics, organizing campaigns to help push for a green new deal and leave town halls to educate our community about what a green new deal would look like is the kind of experience that I’m bringing to the table. 

A centerpiece of his campaign is a call for public ownership of utilities:

The main reason I’m calling for [public ownership] is because we would do two things.  One, people would save money by not having to give that 200 million dollars a year to Northwestern Energy and profits. The profit the profit margin will not be added on to people’s energy bills with public ownership. And the second one is that the majority of people don’t want dirty energy, if we have an option. Yes, everyone wants heat in their home and everybody needs reliable energy, But with public ownership, the public will have more of a say in the direction that we had rather than a for-profit company.

Asked about his prospects in a general election if he wins the primary, Carlino cited his ability to bring new voters and his experience canvassing:

I think a lot of people, a lot of youth especially, well, they’ll vote in the general election, especially for this year, but they may not vote for PSC. They don’t understand what the PSC is. So I think trying to get out the youth vote is going to be one way that helps me. And if you also if you look at the kind of campaign I’ve been able to pull off already without very much money, you know, I’ve gotten over ten thousand dollars in in-kind donations. I have my team is all volunteer-based. So I think building that people power is also how we’re going to beat the Republicans with the backing of the Democratic Party and the Democratic voters along with using volunteer power.

For more from the interview, including discussions about clean energy proposals Carlino supports, his view on the Internet as a public utility, and more, please be sure to listen to the entire episode and subscribe to the Montana PostCast below. And for more information about Daniel’s campaign, be sure to visit his website, Facebook, and podcast page.

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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