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This is an open letter to statewide Republicans. You consistently elect legislators who talk the talk by promising to create good, high-paying jobs and get our economy back on its feet, yet when given the chance to actually walk the walk, they prove to be full of hot air.

The latest example is a Medicaid expansion bill they just killed in Helena. A fellow Republican, an investment banker, testified in front of the committee considering the bill that if passed, in the next six years it would bring $5 billion into our state and create 12,000 jobs.

Here was a golden opportunity to literally put their money where their mouth was. Instead, they killed the bill and sent that money and those jobs packing. They claimed it would have cost the state money to pass the bill and that's true, but the cost would have been nowhere near the billion dollars a year it would have gained. Let's not forget it would have created 12,000 good, high-paying jobs.

And we already pay to create jobs in other industries; we give huge tax breaks (costing us money) to Exxon Mobil and other extremely rich multinational companies doing business here, and our taxes will forever pay to clean up mining waste at abandoned mines like Zortman-Sandusky and many others. These costs will be paid not only by us but by our children, grandchildren and their children.

One person testified against the bill by stating, "It's the only part of Obamacare we as a state can reject." It seems that was more important to Republican leaders than actually helping bring money into our state and creating good jobs, and we are poorer for it.

Remember that the next time you vote.

Jim Thornton,

Arlee

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