Rob McCoy is a Libertarian from Hamilton running for Senate District 45. He has no challengers in June’s primary election. The following are his responses to a questionnaire from the Missoulian and the Ravalli Republic.
1.What role should local and state governments play in economic development?
Montana has unexplored opportunities in economic development. Economic development initiatives should generate from the local level and from there extend, possibility to the regional level within the state. The role of the state is to support local and regional efforts, not drive them. Economic development cannot be installed; it must be grown from within communities.
2.What legislative actions do you favor to improve Montana's economy and create jobs here?
First I would encourage exercising the hemp bill past by 80 percent of our legislature ten years ago. Hemp isn't marijuana. It's an industrial plant that's been used for centuries for textiles, lumber, concrete, fuel, paper, food, and rope. We need to send the message to the federal government to stop keeping an industrial plant with no psychoactive effect classified as a schedule one controlled substance on par with heroin. The agriculture component could be the foundation and lead to other jobs in processing and product development. I would also push to allow for harvest the burns not just for lumber products but also for fuel.
3.Montana now has a projected general fund budget surplus of $427 million as of mid-2013. What, if anything, do you think the 2013 Legislature should do with this money?
I would support investing in education. I would also support assuring that those state employees who have paid into a pension fund do not lose it.
4.What is your opinion of current DUI laws and legislation? Would you change anything? Be specific.
As a libertarian, I feel that DUI laws are a tricky area. That said, I believe if a driver is putting others at risk because of driving under the influence, that penalties should be severe, even losing one's license for life. However, I object to "check points" and law enforcement following people from bars. Drivers should not be pulled over unless they are exhibiting impaired driving. So whereas I do support severe penalties for impaired drivers who endanger others, I object to a predatory approach in enforcing DUI laws.
5. Do you think the Legislature needs to intervene in the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Departments wildlife management activity? If so, what would you propose?
No. I believe these are local level issues and should be decided there. I do believe FWP needs to work more closely with outfitters and the public.
6. When the University of Montana seeks funding for its College of Technology expansion, will you support its request? Why or why not?
Yes. Education builds capacity. Montanans need access to technology programs. Education is not the same thing as economic development, yet without education available for Montanans, we become more vulnerable to having to serve as a resource for outside (the state) interests. I would see this expansion as an investment in Montana.
Of course, the funding strategy would have to be coherent.