Jesse Laslovich, Democrat
Age and Birthdate: 35, Oct. 3, 1980
Place of birth: Anaconda
Education: Anaconda High School, 1999; received a bachelor’s in political science with high honors and a minor in economics from the University of Montana, 2003; a law degree from the University of Montana Law School, 2006
Past Employment: Part-owner, laborer, and operator for Laslovich Construction, 1997-present; legal intern and attorney, Datsopoulos, MacDonald & Lind PC of Missoula, 2004-2007; adjunct professor at UM School of Law, 2006, 2008; assistant attorney general, 2007-2008; special assistant attorney general, 2009-present; special assistant U.S. attorney, 2010-2011; State legislator for Anaconda in the House, 2001-03, and the Senate 2005-10, including as Minority Whip his final session; chief legal counsel for securities and insurance in state auditor’s office, 2010-present
Immediate family: Wife, Jill, and two children, Cooper and Summer.
If elected, what are your top priorities?
Laslovich listed several nuts-and-bolts reforms to health care, worker’s compensation and homeowner’s insurance regulations that he would seek to push through the state Legislature.
The first is working with the state’s largest hospitals to make common health care costs more transparent to patients upfront, which he said will help consumers make smarter choices and increase market competition in a way that drives down premiums. He said health care is unusual in that patients buy a service without knowing the underlying costs.
“That is different from how we deal with pretty much every other aspect of our economy,” he said. “This is flat unsustainable what we’re doing in our state and our nation with our health care.”
His second priority is to end balance bills received by patients who are transported by an out-of-network air ambulance, instead suggesting a law that would require the companies to negotiate prices with the insurer.
Third, he said he supports legislation to grant presumptive disease declarations to emergency responders for worker’s compensation claims, removing the need for firefighters and others to prove that their cancer or other illness was the result of the job.
His final proposal is to put a cap on how long a homeowner’s insurance company can underwrite a policy, driving up the premium, because of a claim. Unlike auto policies which can only underwrite for three years after a ticket, there is no similar limit in home insurance and companies can increase premiums even when a claim was denied.
“We need a cap like we have on the personal auto side,” he said.
What experience best qualifies you for the job?
Laslovich said his years in state government and particularly his work as the current auditor’s legal counsel has given him detailed insight into the workings of the office and what is at stake for consumers.
“This is an office that oversees too highly complicated industries,” he said. “This is not an office someone can just walk into.”
Laslovich said that there will be little time wasted on learning the office’s operations or getting oriented and that, if elected, he could immediately begin work. He highlighted that he already has strong working relationships with the relevant government officials and industry stakeholders.
“I’ve done the work. I’ve done it for seven years,” he said. “That in-the-trenches experience, like I’ve had, just flat cannot be substituted.”
Do you support your party’s nominee for president?
Laslovich said he will vote for Hillary Clinton because of her public service experience.
“As we campaign, people have been so frustrated with their presidential choices,” he said. “I understand it. I share it in many ways, the frustration that this is our choice.”
-- Compiled by Jayme Fraser, Independent Record