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Opinion: Why I’m running for Congress

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Monica Tranel is running for Montana's new U.S. House seat.

I’m Monica Tranel. I’m running to represent Montana in Congress.

I grew up on a ranch in eastern Montana with my nine brothers and sisters. Growing up in a big family involves community, fairness, and hard work every day. We always had a job to do — feed the pigs, stack hay, fix fence. When my family ate supper, my dad would say, “Make sure there’s enough to go around.”

I took these Montana values — community and fairness — with me as I worked my way through college and law school. I didn’t learn my work ethic in the Olympics, where I competed twice on the United States Rowing team, I took it there, from Montana.

But the Montana I love is slipping away. Montanans don’t know who to trust anymore. Montana is becoming a playground of the rich. It doesn’t matter how hard people work, folks in the middle can’t afford to live here. Out-of-state corporations are profiting as Montanans struggle.

Montana is at a crossroads. We must hold those responsible for our division and our struggle accountable.

I know how to hold powerful interests’ accountable. As an attorney, I’ve gone toe to toe with some of the largest corporations in the world, and won. I’ve spent my career fighting for Montana consumers, ranchers, and landowners.

Montanans are facing three major threats, and our voice must be heard as we find answers to these threats.

First, our economy has left too many Montanans behind. People cannot afford a decent place to live; our tax system takes from paychecks but allows the wealthy to amass fortunes; families have to choose between rent or childcare; and our laws undermine worker protections while shareholders rake in fortunes. We must rebuild economic fairness. Everyone must pay their fair share.

Our second greatest challenge is to provide our kids, and their kids, a sustainable future. Our children cannot afford delay or denial. Montanans are experiencing intense wildfires, smoke, and drought that impact our health and our economy. We need other states and other nations to act, and they need us. The middle of America — Montana — is the engine room of our country. We have tremendous resources but the U.S. must invest in infrastructure to maximize these resources and bring good paying jobs to Montana.

Our final challenge is to secure and strengthen our democracy. Efforts to make our democracy ever more inclusive is an integral part of Montana’s story. Thomas Walsh and Burton Wheeler investigated the Teapot Dome Scandal, which led to the power to subpoena tax records and compel testimony — which supported the investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection. Jeannette Rankin, the first woman in Congress, led the debate on the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Mike Mansfield and Lee Metcalf built a coalition of bipartisan support to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Montana’s Constitution has some of the strongest environmental and privacy protections in the country. And Sen. Jon Tester led the bipartisan agreement on the infrastructure bill. Montana has a long, proud tradition of electing representatives who believe in increasing the promise of our democracy.

What I learned as an Olympic rower is that anyone can make a boat go slow. Real champions make a boat go fast. Montanans are the champions who pull together when we need to get a job done. Montanans have faced down the Copper Kings before. We will do it again. Our planet, and our democracy, are relying on us.

Monica Tranel is running for Montana's new U.S. House seat.

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