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Why I’m voting for Rob Quist to represent Montana in Congress

Special election is set for May 25 across state

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I rarely use this space to talk about politics. When you’re engulfed by political content everywhere else, the last thing you want is another site that used to be politics free suddenly jump into the fray, is my thinking.

That being said, though, this election coming up on Thursday, May 25 here in Montana is too important for me to not help spread the word on how crucial this decision will be.

While it should come to no surprise to any of my longtime readers, I am voting for Rob Quist to be Montana’s next representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Montana needs a change in Washington, and Mr. Quist can best accomplish that feat. We need someone who’s honest, a true representation of what our state is about, and someone who has empathy for people of all types. I know Rob is that kind of person. I know because I’ve met him on multiple occasions. I’ve spoken with his children many times over the years, also. They’re regular people with regular problems, dreams, and visions.

Guthrie, Rob, Halladay and Bonnie Quist.
Guthrie, Rob, Halladay and Bonnie Quist.

But what, you might be asking yourself, is so different from Quist and his challenger, Greg Gianforte? You might think, “I’ve seen Greg’s commercials and he seems like a real Montanan who wants to use his money for good and plus, he has an A rating from the NRA, so that means he’s the better candidate, right?”

There’s several problems with Gianforte, and I’ll list them a little later. They go beyond his being a conservative and my being a liberal on many things.

If it were that simple I wouldn’t be writing this column. But first, let’s get into what impresses me about Quist, and why my life depends on his being elected.

For the past 18 years or so I have been a Type 1 Diabetic. Being a Type 1, my pancreas does not produce insulin, which takes the glucose in my blood and transports it to my body’s cells. Therefore, I must inject insulin in my body on a daily basis.
This being the United States, pharmaceutical companies are not required to negotiate with the government to control the price of medicines, where as other countries do negotiate with the medicine manufacturers.

At any rate, if Gianforte is elected, it means we will have a man in office who supports the American Health Care Act. If you’re not aware, the AHCA has provisions, at least in the House bill, that would give states the right to place folks with pre-existing conditions into a high-risk pool, thereby raising their premiums to possibly unaffordable levels.

Letting Gianforte have a vote in Congress means that Montana would be on board with telling me, and thousands of people like me, that if I want to keep my health insurance, I will need to pay much more for it where I might not be able to afford it at all.

That’s not what Montana needs. That’s not what regular people should have to suffer through, and yet, that’s what Gianforte wants. That’s what Trump wants. But, do you think they care about me? They may say they do when it comes election time, but there’s no proof otherwise that they do.

The New York Times last week ran a story which tells how Gianforte was caught on tape saying, regarding the AHCA, “The votes in the House are going to determine whether we get tax reform done, sounds like we just passed a health care thing, which I’m thankful for, sounds like we’re starting to repeal and replace.”

Quist, on the other hand, has stated from the start of his campaign that he wants to expand the Affordable Care Act, which keeps health care affordable for people with pre-existing conditions. It isn’t a perfect system and there are people who feel that they shouldn’t have to pay to help insure other people when they can’t afford to insure themselves. That’s a reasonable concern, but the answer isn’t to blow it up and make life worse for people who are already suffering.

Another reason I support Quist over Gianforte is that he is a strong supporter of the arts. Montana might not seem like a creative hotbed, or a place where writers, actors, musicians, artists and filmmakers live, but as someone who’s followed the arts scene in the state, I’ve seen how many creative people do live here and have made a living here doing what they do best.

Gianforte hasn’t indicated that he supports creative industries. He does, however, support our president and his decision to drop funding for the arts from the federal government. Why would he have Trump’s son, and Vice President Mike Pence coming to campaign for him here if he did not? It wouldn’t make sense.

Again, if you’re thinking “Well, I don’t care about art, why should we be paying to fund things that people can do without any government support?” let me explain briefly why it’s important.

The National Endowment for the Humanities, firstly, would lose all funding under Trump’s proposed budget. A budget Gianforte would support with a vote in the House. The National Endowment for the Arts would also lose all funding. This cannot happen.

According to its website, the NEH awards grants that, “typically go to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations, and to individual scholars. The grants:

  • strengthen teaching and learning in schools and colleges
  • facilitate research and original scholarship
  • provide opportunities for lifelong learning
  • preserve and provide access to cultural and educational resources
  • strengthen the institutional base of the humanities.

The NEA, similarly, “is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.”

In Montana, seeing as we are such a rural state, without any government funding, many communities will not have any cultural experiences available because the money is not there to support them. Our state will become less educated, less cultured, less special because these opportunities will not be granted to our residents.

Rob Quist believes in the arts and keeping funding alive for the arts in our communities. Gianforte might say he supports the arts, but how do we know? Are you willing to believe a man that supports the president that wants to remove funding for these things in our state?

Finally, let’s talk about some of the charges that Gianforte’s campaign is throwing out there about Quist. Firstly, there’s the “Rob Quist is Nancy Pelosi in a cowboy hat.”

This charge is based on fuzzy logic. As a man who grew up in Montana, has worked in Montana, raised his family in Montana and believes in making Montana stronger, Rob Quist is much more representative of what Montana is about than Gianforte. The attempt to paint him as a super liberal Californian who wants to sell out our state and take all our guns is laughable. I’ve talked with Rob before he ever made the decision to run for office. Not once when speaking with him did I ever think, “Wow, this guy reminds me of Nancy Pelosi!”

Next, there’s “Rob Quist believes in more of the same dead-end Democrat policies that Montana voters stood up against just a few months ago.”

Did they, though? Gianforte himself lost to Democrat Steve Bullock in the race for governor last November. Why would Bullock have won if Montana voters stood up to “dead-end Democrat policies?”

Why would Jon Tester have been serving in the U.S. Senate for Montana since 2007 if Montanans thought Democrat policies were dead-ends?

We’re a purple state, so any attempt to tell us we’re not flies in the face of logic. We’ve voted for both Democrats and Republicans and we will continue to vote for both of them. Perhaps Gianforte saw this first-hand last week when he visited Butte with Donald Trump Jr., and was met by more protesters than supporters?

There’s many more reasons why Quist is the better choice than Gianforte, but in an attempt to keep this article from rambling on and on, I’ll wrap it up here and say that if you’re tired of what Donald Trump is doing to our country, you’ll vote for Rob Quist. If you think that electing a man who wants to cut funding for Planned Parenthood is wrong, you’ll vote for Rob Quist. If you think that our state deserves affordable health care and funding for the arts, you’ll support Mr. Quist.

Just  be sure to get out and vote. Sharing posts on Facebook won’t matter if you don’t vote. Fulfill your duty as a U.S. citizen and a Montana resident and vote. It’s the least we can do to help this state prosper.


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