Democratic Senate District 9 candidate Kurt Dyer has been out knocking on doors this campaign season, but not necessarily to promote himself.
Dyer said he has learned what’s important to people in his district while campaigning for Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon. Tester.
What did he conclude from that experience?
For one, he said, many people in his area are worried about raising taxes to fund Medicaid expansion. While Dyer has concerns about Initiative 185, which would re-authorize Medicaid expansion and raise Montana’s tobacco tax to help fund that program and others, he said he “still doesn’t have enough information” to know whether he would support Medicaid expansion if the initiative fails.
Senate District 9 stretches from northern Lewis and Clark County to the Canadian border. Dyer said many people in the area are also concerned that a proposal to remove grizzly bears from the endangered species list does not do enough to protect human safety.
“There’s more concern in managing the grizzly bear in this area up here rather than human safety,” he said. “It hasn’t been brought up as a management issue, and I think it needs to be.”
Dyer holds a bachelor’s degree in botany, a bachelor’s degree in fish and wildlife management and a teaching certificate for secondary sciences. He went to work for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Great Falls shortly after graduating from Montana State University in 1975, and moved back to the Brady area to take over the family farm in 1980.
Dyer was a Brady school board member for 29 years and served on the Montana School Board Association for eight years, including two as the association’s president.
He also served for eight years on the Pondera County Conservation District Board and has been a member of the East Slope Back Country Horsemen since 1982.
Though he is a Democrat in an area that favored Republican Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, Dyer said he and the voters in his district share many of the same concerns.
“I am applying for this position in part to use the knowledge I have gained over the years about working with government agencies and legislative groups to do what is needed to make our lives in rural Montana the best we can,” he wrote in a recent op-ed. “To solve problems, I believe you have to have an open mind and listen to both sides of an issue very closely.”