MTPR

Montana politics

In a debate that seemed as late as Friday not likely to happen, Republican Ryan Zinke met Democrat John Lewis in a statewide debate that focused on experience and education Monday night in Billings.

Montana PBS had already cancelled broadcast coverage after Zinke cited a scheduling conflict, but the Monday evening debate was available across the state on radio. You can listen to the debate from Yellowstone Public Radio.

Neither candidate has widespread name recognition – Zinke having served in the state legislature and Lewis as state director for former U.S. Sen. Max Baucus – so the debates are a vital piece of both men’s campaigns, according to University of Montana political science professor Christopher Muste.

I think Zinke will attack Lewis for being inexperienced and Lewis will attack Zinke for being out of touch and having extreme views on a number of issues,” Muste said in the pre-debate analysis with Montana Public Radio.

The debate, in the end, was largely a civil and substantive affair. Zinke stuck hard to the issues of education and energy independence, claiming that Montana “had enough coal to support the nation at peak consumption for the next 100 years.”

Lewis countered that Zinke would pursue oil and gas exploration at all times and criticized him for not support limits on energy exploration near Glacier National Park, a position supported by current U.S. Rep. Steve Daines.

On education, Zinke stated he rejected the increasingly controversial learning standards known as Common Core and wanted to boost more training for skilled labor.

Lewis focused his efforts in staking out support for higher education and reducing student loans. He said by financing student loans “much like you would a house” and ensuring continued access to Pell Grants, he could cut the amount of debt many Montana students have. He added that Zinke would cut support for higher education, making it more expensive for students.

The two meet again on Saturday for a debate in Bozeman.

Trial Will Proceed For Former U.S. Senate Candidate

13 hours ago

A judge has rejected a motion to throw out several charges alleging former U.S. Senate candidate Troy Downing bought less-costly in-state hunting and fishing licenses when he was not a Montana resident.

Downing argued the case was based on mistakes made by accountants who prepared his taxes listing him as a California resident.

A stream gauge on Willow Creek
USGS

A state legislative committee is asking Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to work with Montana’s Congressional delegation to finalize a handful of water rights agreements.

Montana’s Water Policy Interim Committee says federal help in two key areas will lead Montana to having one of the most legally complete set of water rights agreements in the West.

Kootenai National Forest sign.
Josh Burnham

The Kootenai National Forest is slated to start five salvage timber sales in areas that burned last year, and one more is pending.

Kathleen Williams.
Olga Kreimer

The Democrat challenging Greg Gianforte for Montana’s seat in the U.S. House criticized President Trump Tuesday for his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin the day before.

Kathleen Williams joined all three members of Montana’s congressional delegation in rebuking the President.

Screenshot from website publicized by Matt Rosendale on Monday, July 16, 2018.
https://www.jon99obamatester.com/tester-opposes-trump/

Montana U.S. Senate candidates Matt Rosendale and Jon Tester are trading barbs over congressional confirmations.

Monday morning Rosendale, the Republican challenger, publicized a new website he created hammering Democrat Tester for opposing judicial nominees put forward by President Trump.

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