The 66th legislative session is completed. I was humbled by the opportunity to serve the citizens of Flathead County in my first session. Now that the session is over, it is right and proper that I detail for my constituents my observations.
Montana, like America throughout its history, has a two-party political system. Since the battle over the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, there have been two parties battling over the right to exercise the peoples’ sovereignty in the government. The Republican Party is the younger of the two current parties and was founded in 1854 to oppose the institution of slavery.
Since its inception, the Republican Party has stood for human freedom, private property rights and a favorable environment for business, commerce, trade and industry so that everyone can prosper in pursuing their personal "American dream." As the 66th legislative session began, I optimistically hoped that all my fellow Republicans were of like mind. I was wrong.
A political party without an ideology is just a party of political expediency and intellectual knavery. When politicians succumb to the temptations of those that create "rights" in the name of equality or fairness, offer benefits that must be forcibly extracted from others, and abandon the principles outlined in the constitutions of the U.S. and the State of Montana; social discord, economic sluggishness and alienation will result.
There were 58 declared Republicans when the session began. It soon became apparent that 20 of them were willing to abandon some core Republican principles. That, combined with the governor’s veto pen, meant that a Republican agenda was not going to be successful. Much of what the 66th Legislature enacted into statute had little to do with the principles upon which the Republican Party was founded.
There were accomplishments of which to be proud, however. And in three areas — defense of life, pro-Second Amendment and support for veterans — all Republicans stood united and strong. Since people don’t work to pay taxes but work to keep what is left over after taxes, over 40 taxes that did nothing to improve life for Montanans were defeated in the House Tax Committee, of which I was a member. Some tax reductions were passed, but the governor has yet to accept the fact that before a government can do good for some people it must first do harm to others.
Scores of proposed bills that would have adversely affected the freedom of Montanans were defeated in other committees. Montana’s energy production was defended and remains stable. And many other bills that “seemed like a good idea at the time” were given serious scrutiny and debate before being voted on.
Sitting in the chamber of the House every day was an experience that I will always treasure. I am grateful and honored to be one of Kalispell’s representatives. Being entrusted with the exalted responsibility of sitting in judgment of the proposed laws that govern us all was not to be taken lightly. I look forward to conversing with anyone who desires to evaluate my performance. Since I used to teach high-school seniors at 8 o’clock in the morning, I am used to blunt comments.
God bless the great state of Montana.