Evan Barrett

Living Up to the Legacy

Apr 10, 2014

Twenty years ago, Billings, Montana set a national standard for community rejection of hatred and bigotry.  Almost as one, the community shouted a loud “NO” to ultra-right-wing extremist behavior that was racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic.

The Northwest United Skinheads and, police believed, elements of the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nation, were equal opportunity bigots, targeting for abuse and intimidation anything that wasn’t “white, American and Christian.”  Whether you were black, Latino, Indian, Jewish or gay, you were not welcome in their America, or their Billings.

A True Montana Melodrama

Mar 17, 2014

A True Montana Melodrama

A Montana Public Radio Commentary by Evan Barrett

March 13, 2014

Much has been said about the appointment of John Walsh to the US Senate including comparisons to Montana’s earlier Senate appointments.

It’s interesting to look at the actual historical facts of the earlier situations.

Educators as Leaders

Feb 14, 2014

What do Mike Mansfield, Pat Williams, Jon Tester, Bob Brown and Angela McLean have in common?

Mike Mansfield, Senate Majority Leader longer than anyone in US history, led a US Senate that was arguably the most productive in US history.

Pat Williams, elected Montana Congressman for nine straight terms, more than anyone in our history, had a record of legislative accomplishment in fields as varied as labor, education, the arts, wilderness and public lands access.

Giants Among the People

Jan 16, 2014

When I was young, there were three pictures in my parents’ hallway -- Jesus Christ,   Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and John L. Lewis, President of the United Mine Workers Union.  These men informed my family’s political and life perspective.

Three Lumps of Coal for the Working Poor

Dec 19, 2013

Three Lumps of Coal for the Working Poor

A Commentary from Evan Barrett

I ended my commentary last month this way:  “Here’s hoping that the onset of Christmas will result in some Christian values rising up in that ‘millionaire class’ that we call Congress so that we might, by year’s end, see the minimum wage go up.  But I wouldn’t bet on it.”

Well here it is, almost Christmas, and so far Zippo from Congress.

Raise the Minimum Wage

Nov 21, 2013

Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Next Thursday is Thanksgiving.

Events surrounding these two separate dates coincide to make a strong point about the challenges facing America's working poor.

The Stink Coming Through the Revolving Door

Oct 24, 2013

When one reflects on the recent federal government shutdown and Congress’ near “default” on the “full faith & credit” of the US Government, a whole lot stinks.

Buried in that stinking pile of refuse is a small item that reminds us of a big problem -- the pervasive power that special interests have through their lobbyists and the benefits they gain from the revolving door between Congressional members and staff and those same special interests.

Let’s Require Civics Education at All Levels

Sep 26, 2013

After many years away from the formal classroom, I am teaching again.

When I left graduate school in 1968, I was hired on to teach civics to high school seniors.  I ended up with a different teaching position, and after one year of teaching, I took a 44 year fork in the road.  Instead of teaching civics, I entered the real world of civics – the world of government and politics.  Over that period I was heavily engaged in government at local, state and federal levels – working for and with governors, senators, congressmen, legislators, local government officials. 

As we approach Labor Day, Montana and American workers are plugging away at their jobs, producing products and profits for their employers while Congress goes out of session for 5 weeks, leaving Washington having produced little or nothing.

There is a great disconnect between Washington, DC and the rest of the nation.  Is it no wonder that less than 10% of folks give Congress a positive rating?

Let’s take a minute to compare the jobs, job quality and productivity of workers in Montana and the nation with the wages, working conditions and productivity in Congress.

Detroit: Conquering Challenges

Aug 1, 2013

The challenge in Detroit is two-fold: financial and economic.

There are sensible and proven solutions to both challenges.  This country and its leadership need to move beyond dogma and politics to do the right thing for both Detroit and the nation.

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