Pro-life issues spice up 1st GOP House debate

2014-03-25T06:00:00Z 2015-08-13T13:36:19Z Pro-life issues spice up 1st GOP House debateBy MIKE DENNISON IR State Bureau Helena Independent Record
March 25, 2014 6:00 am  • 

Abortion and pro-life issues ignited the most sparks at the first debate among four of Montana’s Republican U.S. House candidates Monday night, as the contestants sparred over their anti-abortion records.

Former state Sen. Ryan Zinke of Whitefish said he’s “pro-life,” but that he does not believe the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion will be overturned, so other steps should be taken to reduce abortion, such as education.

His remarks prompted Sen. Elsie Arntzen of Billings to ask why an abortion-rights group had supported him when he was a state senator.

Zinke said he’s been endorsed in the congressional race by an official of Montana Right to Life, and that he supported parental notification for minors seeking an abortion.

“I don’t tell you things because that’s what you want to hear; I tell you things because it’s the truth,” he told the Republican crowd in Bozeman. “I value life.”

State Sen. Matt Rosendale of Glendive then chimed in to say he was the only candidate who “respects the sanctity of life from conception all the way to natural death,” because he opposes abortion and the death penalty.

“To segment out (a pro-life stance), to parcel it out, is to short-change it,” he said.

Rosendale’s statement brought a retort from former state Sen. Corey Stapleton of Billings, who said opposing the death penalty “is not a Montana value,” and rather was “an East Coast value that (Rosendale) brought with (him) from Maryland.”

Rosendale grew up in Maryland and said he started traveling in the state some 20 years ago, and moved here because he shares the “values and principles of the people who are living here.”

“You don’t get to choose where you were born; you only get to choose where you live,” he said.

All four candidates are running for Montana’s open U.S. House seat, which is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., who’s running for the U.S. Senate.

Monday marked the first time the four candidates had squared off in a public debate, which was on the Montana State University campus and sponsored by the MSU College Republicans.

A fifth Republican in the race, Drew Turiano of Helena, was not invited to the event.

Two Democrats also are running for the seat: John Lewis and John Driscoll, both of Helena.

The four Republicans fielded questions from a moderator for most of the evening, but had at least one chance to ask questions of each other.

They agreed on most issues, such as supporting more resource development and decrying the federal debt but tried to stake out some unique ground.

Rosendale said he’s a strong supporter of school choice, such as charter schools, and that he’d consider incremental changes to strengthen Social Security, such as raising its payout age or, eventually, allowing people to invest their own contributions.

He also noted that he’s been endorsed by 50 fellow state legislators, because of his strong record supporting property rights, gun rights and “the sanctity of life.”

Stapleton said he’s been endorsed by former Gov. Judy Martz, whom he called a “great governor and a great lady,” for cutting income taxes and controlling state spending. He pointed to his leadership role in the Senate, saying he “stood up to the liberals in Helena.”

Zinke said he’ll push hard for energy development, because he believes America can become energy-independent within five years, preventing foreign entanglement over oil and gas.

“I don’t want my kids to fight for foreign oil when we have it here,” said the former Navy Seal commander.

Arntzen noted that she sponsored a bill last year that could have allowed the Legislature to block “common core” education standards, but that Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed it.

Copyright 2016 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. Carlson
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    Carlson - March 25, 2014 3:53 pm

    I read all 6 comments. Whew. AntiX your choice of words like "dumb". "idiot', "clowns" give yourself away and reduce any value that your comments might make. The candidates were only answering questions by the moderator and there were others. GreatWhite was best comment. I just hope there are more debates throughout the state to let the voters see all of the candidates.
  2. dietz1963
    Report Abuse
    dietz1963 - March 25, 2014 12:22 pm
    I like that, other issues. Such as making illegal aliens legal (yea, thats on my mind) or making LGBT marriage legal (another hot topic for me). Things like jobs though, na, a non -issue. So what else do we have, republican white guys deciding on a womans body. So does that mean you're ok with democratic black guys? And here I thought we were all equal. You know what, I guess I don't want democratic white women deciding anything that deals with a man either. Not qualified.
  3. AntiXenophobia
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    AntiXenophobia - March 25, 2014 10:18 am
    All these two dumb political parties we have do is to harp on a couple civil liberties issues (abortion, LGBT rights, etc.) and minor differences in money matters (who pays more taxes and who gets money back from the government). The two parties differ very little, despite all the blather that republicans toss around about liberals. Most of the "points" these clowns tried to make are no more than hot air.

    Amtzen doesn't like the common core. I work in education. I have read parts of the federal common core and the Montana common core standards. Does this idiot, Amtzen, want to keep the same education standards that we have today? They are decades old. The new standards up math and science content. These standards are things like "teach mixed fractions in 2nd grade" or "in first grade, a student should be able to explain plot and main characters in a story". I would love to hear what Amtzen has against these standards, I am sure it makes no sense.

    Zinke believes we can become energy independent in 5 years as a nation, all while lowering taxes and cutting government spending, no doubt. Right. It would take more than 5 years to plan it, much less build it. Let's see the blueprint for that fantasy. Next.

    There is nothing of substance about Stapleton in the article, other than he seems to think that poking fun of people for not being from Montana is a viable political stance. Foolish. Next.

    Rosendale believes in charter schools. Dumb. Outside of the 7 large school districts in Montana, there is no chance for a charter school to exist. Say you live in Big Timber. There are maybe 100 kids in public school there. Who is going to start a private school to compete for enrollments from the school? Say you end up with 10 of those kids, you think anyone is going to open up a private/charter school and try to earn a living with 10 kids? Dumb idea. You end up hurting the public schools by reducing funding, and you end up with a weak private/charter school without enough money to do much good. Same with his nonsense about Social Security. You cannot invest your SS money, since the minute you pay into the system, the money goes out to pay someone's benefit today. Social Security was never constructed as a system to hold the money you put in for decades and pay it back to you when you retire. The amount it would cost to change the structure of SS to do what this fool wants to do would be staggering.

    As you can see, nearly every idea bantered about by these clowns is dumb, and only sounds good because they can say junk about being "pro-life" or "fiscally responsible", but close inspection of nearly every idea in there exposes it as nonsense. I just wonder which of these people understands that their ideas are dumb, and which believe in their dumb ideas. I wish the democrats were going to offer something better, but they will not. They will come up with some nonsense about helping small businesses, then jump right in and talk about abortion and LGBT rights.
  4. GreatWhite
    Report Abuse
    GreatWhite - March 25, 2014 9:44 am
    otis mule, you re-invented "Mad Libs"!! The "political pocket in the car on the go at home hours of fun for the whole family" version!
  5. otis mule
    Report Abuse
    otis mule - March 25, 2014 9:24 am
    I see a fun sentence there.
    Americans don't want _____1. deciding what________2.with their _______3.
    For #3, insert
  6. GreatWhite
    Report Abuse
    GreatWhite - March 25, 2014 9:20 am
    I have to wonder how reflective the polls are concerning that issue though skooter, I know more than a few people who will make that dreaded mistake of basing their vote on one of a few main topics, abortion being one of them.

    Granted, not that 'more than a few' will necessarily sway an election, but how many just opt not to express a real opinion until it's at the booths and to late for the candidate to vocalize if opposed/in support of abortion?
  7. skooter
    Report Abuse
    skooter - March 25, 2014 8:59 am
    You know what's really telling? A debate spiced up by an issue that people in your own party, but more importantly the rest of the state and nation don't really care about. Check the polls…abortion doesn't even register after key issues facing our nation that matter to the rest of us: in a Jan Quinnipaic poll it didn't even register but in several polls it's an issue with 2-3% of people polled.

    Do you guys get it? The message is that not only are you focusing on the issues not concerning the rest of the country and but showing that you just don't get American's don't want republican white guys deciding what women do with their bodies.

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