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Democrats working for Montana families

2013-01-23T00:00:00Z Democrats working for Montana familiesBy Jon Sesso and Chuck Hunter Helena Independent Record
January 23, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Last week a group of small business owners, ranchers and teachers from across the state started their second job for the next four months. We are Democratic legislators – your neighbors, your co-workers, fellow Montanans – and excited to be working for you at the 2013 legislative session.

Last year, Montana Democratic legislative leaders traveled over 6,000 miles to meet with small busi-ness owners and Montanans across the state. We listened to what you had to say, and now we have set a legislative agenda that directly matches what we heard.

The priority: Jobs and growing the economy. To Montanans, that means investments in education and a well-trained workforce; improving infrastructure like schools, water systems, roads and bridges that are essential to a healthy economy; providing certainty and predictability in regulations; and keep-ing the state budget balanced and making fair, targeted tax cuts.

Business owners told us their greatest need is trained workers, and without exception, urged greater state investment in education. By freezing tuition for higher education, increasing access to job training programs, and strengthening ties between public education and employers, we can make sure Montan-ans fill Montana jobs.

We must also expand employment opportunities for veterans in return for their brave service, and in-centivize small businesses to take advantage of their work ethic and expertise. We must build on the successes of the “Helmets to Hard Hats” initiative and the VOW to Hire Heroes Act to find made-in-Montana solutions to address the disgraceful number of unemployed veterans.

Equally important to businesses and communities is continued investment in public infrastructure. To us, this means proposing an oil and gas tax impact fund to address the rapid growth in Eastern Mon-tana and maximizing grants from the Treasure State Endowment Program and other trust funds to ensure our local communities have the resources they need. It includes passing a jobs bill that puts Mon-tanans to work constructing 21st century buildings at our two year colleges and universities. Alongside these investments we must work to reduce the cost of health care so businesses can provide affordable coverage to their employees.

We’ve led the effort to balance the state budget for nearly a decade, and just like every Montana fam-ily, we will continue to spend less than we take in. Likewise, we will support affordable tax breaks that are fair for working families and middle-class Montanans. Through sound fiscal management, we can help create opportunities for small businesses and working families, and make sure Montana remains a great place to do business and raise a family.

As leaders of the House and Senate Democrats we urge you to work with us by speaking out on the is-sues you care about at the state legislature. Share your passion and energy. You deserve a government that is listening to and working for you.

Jon Sesso is Montana Senate Minority Leader and Chuck Hunter is House Minority Leader.

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(4) Comments

  1. FlamingLiberal1
    Report Abuse
    FlamingLiberal1 - February 05, 2013 12:56 pm
    Like the Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility. Give me a break. Obama has REDUCED the deficit. Clinton had eliminated it altogether and baby Bush got us into two wars on the national credit card.
  2. steeline
    Report Abuse
    steeline - January 28, 2013 10:02 am
    The Democratic Party has "morphed" from a party of the People to a party for the Government. You send your money to Helena and they will spend it.
  3. MichaelS
    Report Abuse
    MichaelS - January 26, 2013 9:07 am
    the democrats have done for Monana what Jesse Jackson has done for the black community, absolutely nothing.
  4. ralphy
    Report Abuse
    ralphy - January 25, 2013 8:22 am
    Sesso and Hunter want to re-invent the past when it comes to a balanced budget. Montana has had a budget surplus because of Republican conservatism coupled with a fiscally conservative governor's budget director in Dave Ewer. The democrats would have spent the state into a huge deficit even though Montana had more than a billion dollar surplus to work with when Schweitzer took office. Democrats talk about jobs but under Schweitzer's reign, Montana lost more than a thousand high paying jobs in western Montana (Bonner Mill, Frenchtown Plant, logging jobs, Kaiser plant in Columbia Falls, large plant near Polson as examples.) I am not interested in what the Republicans or the Democrats can do because from where I sit, both parties have been abysmal failures to build coalitions to get things done. The party political approach has proven to be a divisive failure that continues to make the mistakes of the past (like the tone of this editorial). Sesso and Hunter are first of all Montanans and I expect them to get the job done because they have our collective best interests in mind, not because they are part of a party that forgot the working man along the way.

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