Two For Thought
By Tim Baldwin
We’re a long way away from June 3, the 2014 primary election date here in Montana, but many political types are already hard at work recruiting candidates and jockeying for leadership roles.
The positions and alliances now being forged may well determine much of our state’s future. It’s worth getting involved.
In the primaries, both Republicans and Democrats tend to play to the more extreme views of their respective parties.
That’s inevitable because it’s not the moderates but rather the activists and the extremists who disproportionately turn out. To win, candidates often embrace positions and alliances that limit their flexibility once in office.
Because the fate of much legislation hinges on when and to which committees leadership decides to steer a bill, it’s important to know, and hopefully to influence, who those leaders might be.
It is quite possible that a vote for a friend or acquaintance of character with whom you might on some issues knowingly and acceptably disagree, turns into a disappointment because they got tied into a group with which you could not possibly agree – moderation be damned.
This is the time for hard questions. “Who can, and will, you work with?” How do you stand, for instance, on Medicaid expansion and voting rights? And importantly, are you willing to compromise?
By Joe Carbonari
Rep. Mark Blasdel (R-Somers) is no stranger to Montana politics, having served four sessions since his election in 2006.
Blasdel then had the distinguished honor of being elected House Speaker in 2013.
Blasdel is termed out of the House and is now seeking election in Senate District 4, but Blasdel has primary competition: Tammi Fisher (R-Kalispell), former Kalispell mayor and local attorney.
In the Republican-government model, the Senate is designed to add stability and experience to the legislative process; so senators should have requisite political experience, knowledge and intuition.
This is truer with Senate leaders – a likely position for Blasdel if elected – because they can determine which bills get hearings or go to committee, a life or death situation for the bills.
Will a damaged Republican Party do better with Blasdel or Fisher in the Senate (especially in leadership)?
To help answer the question, conservatives should study the Republican Party Platform (www.mtgop.org/index.php/about/party-platform.html) to judge the candidates and their political history because it contains Tea Party, Moderate and “RINO” input from the latest Republican State Convention.
Blasdel: a proven conservative. Fisher: a newcomer to state politics.
Senate District 4 will decide on June 3, 2014.