Lyn Hellegaard is a Republican running for the House District 96 seat in the Montana Legislature. She faces Republican Andrew Person in November’s general election. Neither has a primary election opponent.
1. Montana schools are implementing new math and English standards and testing known as the Common Core standards. Do you support these? Why or why not?
We can all agree education needs an overhaul. No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top and now Common Core have not delivered the promised results. We have increased spending per student while outcomes remain flat. We need to focus our attention on getting the resources to the classroom, not the bureaucracies. Moreover, parents should determine the education of their children and they deserve choices. Those choices should be decided at the local level, not the federal. This is the only way to put accountability into our education system and reward our good teachers for a job well done.
2. Should the state of Montana expand Medicaid to Montanans earning less than 138 percent of poverty, as allowed under the Affordable Care Act? Why or why not?
Medicaid expansion is a key part of Obamacare. I believe a bad solution is not a solution at all. Worse, it prevents a good solution.
We’ve become entangled in a web of broken health care promises by our federal government. We can’t afford to throw thousands of people into a system that will likely collapse, as it has in Massachusetts. We can’t let Obamacare destroy any more lives. This is no solution.
- Reject big government mandates and enable all families to secure lifelong portable insurance plans of their choice.
- Stop frivolous lawsuits that cause all of our health care costs to go up and divert valuable resources. We should work to keep our doctors in the operating room not the courtroom.
- Montana has a long history of monopolies trying to run this state. Interstate competition and choice would drive prices down, raise quality up and create new options for all of us. These are good solutions Obamacare rejects.
These are all good solutions Obamacare rejects.
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3. Should the state encourage or discourage the production of coal, oil and gas? How?
Montana has a long history of responsible oil and gas exploration and production. We all know energy costs have a major impact on our family budgets and business opportunities. I believe we should be encouraging all energy sources. Energy has been one area that has kept our economy moving and provided good-paying jobs for Montanans. The Keystone pipeline would be a good solution which would provide construction jobs and a safe transportation method for oil and gas while freeing up rail cars to transport our agricultural products.
4. The state of Montana has had budget surpluses in recent years. Should this money be invested in public services, returned to taxpayers in some form, or both? Please be specific on the “how.”
National economists are predicting Montana will be one of eight states that will overspend this year on Medicaid and K-12 programs. We also have an estimated $3.8 billion in unfunded liabilities that should be addressed. If we do decided to return it to the taxpayers we should either be kept in reserve in anticipation of a decrease in federal funds or be used to reduce taxes in outlying years. Spending tens of thousands to process checks is a waste of funds.
5. Do you favor or oppose changing state law to decriminalize or legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, as Colorado and Washington have done? Why?
I believe it would be prudent to monitor and analyze the outcomes in Colorado and Washington before changing our existing laws, as they do allow for the medicinal use of marijuana.
6. Do you support freezing tuition for in-state students attending state colleges and universities for two more years, as the 2013 Legislature did? Why or why not?
I would oppose another tuition freeze. Ultimately, it’s the Montana taxpayers who are required to make up the difference. I believe the person benefiting from the education should pay for it. Due to the poor job market in Montana it could be argued that our taxpayers do not benefit, as the vast majority of our college graduates seek jobs outside of the state.