By Mike Jopek, 9-19-12
Political figures must set aside differences, come together, and focus on issues that matter to our kids’ future. Montanans deserve leadership that gets along.
Gov. Brian Schweitzer worked well with Republicans during his eight years serving Montana.
During a prime-time slot and at the last night of the Democratic National Convention, Schweitzer said, “We’ve had record budget surpluses every year I’ve been governor, averaging more than $400 million, even during the great recession. We’ve invested more new money in education than ever before, frozen tuition at our colleges for the longest period ever, and get this, we increased the percentage of adults with college degrees faster than any other state.”
Montanans enjoy a long history regarding compromise, with Democrat Schweitzer selecting a Republican lieutenant governor.
Sen. Max Baucus carried the negotiated health insurance reforms through Congress. Baucus worked hard with Republicans, initially garnering one moderate GOP vote in committee. But what Baucus could not foresee was that the GOP had ulterior plans – to hyper politicize President Barack Obama and try to entangle him to prevent another term.
“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” said Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell’s stance is in stark contrast to Baucus, who voted for policies like the Republican-era tax cuts.
Sen. Jon Tester skipped the national convention to travel across Montana where locals are seeing positive economic gains. On stops in the Flathead Valley Tester stated, “I honestly think you’re on the cusp of some pretty good growth.”
Tester is rightly optimistic. The economy is brighter than four years ago when the Bush-era Great Recession grasped the region.
A Kalispell appraiser tracking real estate data recently told a local business journal that real estate sales are up nearly one-third over this time last year.
Millions of tourists have already visited Glacier National Park this year, with tourism up nearly 14 percent.
Unemployment in Flathead County was lower last month than it was four years ago – prior to the national meltdown.
And last week the global Dow Jones industrial average closed at a five-year high.
Montana is on the right track. Now we need a Congress willing to compromise and also lead.
On his recent visits to the Flathead, Tester said that his biggest priorities after re-election would include the passage of a bipartisan balanced budget solution that has languished in Congress.
Thanks to the frugal fiscal management of Schweitzer, Montana has over $500 million of taxpayer money in the bank.
Tester is a product of Montana, retaining his working connection to the land. The Tester family farm recently turned 100 years old. Tester still inherently trusts people. He balanced budgets in Helena, and voted for balanced budget requirements in Washington, D.C.
More and more voters are looking for a Congress that actually gets things done and provides leadership on the things that matter to families. Americans deserve a Congress that actually works, and stops bickering and stonewalling.
There are plenty of centrist, independent and moderate Montanans who will privately vote for people like Tester. They work hard and can compromise. But Tester is also uniquely likable, fiscally conservative, and honors his word.
No matter how much corporate or secret money floods Montana, voting is still a private matter. Ultimately what matters is how many Montanans join together and vote.
Talking about children at the national convention, Schweitzer said, “The election is about their education, their jobs, their health care, their freedom, their dignity, and their futures.”
Election Day is this November. But if voters choose, they can essentially opt out of the next two months of political junk mail and polling phone calls by casting absentee ballots early today.
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