We are only a couple years from retiring, when we’ll have to shop for insurance on the open market. With our limited retirement income, we’ll likely be looking at short-term, limited coverage plans offered by private brokers through the Affordable Care Act. The current administration is encouraging these plans, but the so-called “junk plans” are just that -- junk.
They are often cheaper than other insurance options, but you get what you pay for. They don’t cover pre-existing conditions (one of the hallmarks of the ACA) or other basic medical needs, including prescription drugs. Hidden behind the fallacy of providing us with “options,” junk plans will leave many to declare bankruptcy or become sicker when they can’t acquire needed care.
But many Washington politicians -- including our Sen. Steve Daines -- have repeatedly voted against limiting junk plans. In fact, Daines’ votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act would have made junk insurance even more prevalent in Montana.
We are behind Gov. Steve Bullock in November because he understands that Montanans need quality, affordable health care options. Let’s get rid of these junk plans once and for all and move toward a health care system that leaves no one behind.
There is a TV ad regarding the gubernatorial campaign pointing out that Mike Cooney has been a public employee for much of his life and goes on to say, “he has never had a real job!" On behalf of public employees throughout Montana I object! I worked for state and local government as well as several private sector jobs since the 70’s and I saw government employees who provided worthwhile service to our citizens. Public employees work hard and they should be applauded for their service rather than be publicly ridiculed as bureaucrats. Vote for whomever you feel will be the best for all Montanans but let’s stop the besmirching of good Montana public employees.
I was present for June 13th's BLM protest at the Capitol. I left prior to the altercations which occurred with counter-protesters. What I experienced was peaceful, heart-felt, and powerful. I am glad I was there. I carried a sign that read, "This Pastor Believes That Black Lives Matter."
As I was leaving one of the organizers, a young woman in her early 20s, approached me with tears in her eyes. She thanked me for being there with my sign. She had grown up in a small Midwestern town, in a church where she did not experience acceptance or compassion. My presence had a positive impact in someone's life, and all I had to do was show up. What we choose to do with our lives matters.
I wanted to say thank you to everybody who took part in the Patriot Day parade June 13. Comprised of over 130 vehicles a wonderful group of over 300 people were able to spend the afternoon celebrating Flag Day, the Army's birthday, and freedom in general. Thank you also to those who lines streets all over the valley to take part in the celebration. We look forward to an even bigger event next year.
Reform law enforcement in Helena? OK, I get the debate about no choke-holds and no-knock warrants. There are other other ways to accomplish the same result. What I don’t get is why is it a good idea to conduct a high-speed chase when a license number and description would suffice? Why shoot an unarmed suspect rather than just let him go? What good are police unions that work tirelessly trying to keep bad cops on the force? I spent 18 years working for a law enforcement agency (Montana, Fish Wildlife & Parks.) Go to a police officer meeting at a convention center venue. Take five minutes and browse the vendors there. Study the militaristic weapons sold by militaristic vendors. Five minutes of that would soon convince even the most skeptical that there is definitely a militaristic bent to police work and if you try to change that you will soon be drummed out.
Donald Trump's oath of office: “I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Article I of the Constitution guarantees the right of United States citizens to peacefully gather and protest.
On June 2, Donald Trump broke his oath of office by not protecting the right of United States' citizens to peaceably assemble and participated in the use of police force to violently disperse a peaceful demonstration. This only happens in third world dictatorships; China, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Venezuela for example. When the president of the United States of America behaves as does a third world dictator -- how do you justify supporting him?
When I read views like "On the road to red" by Mr. Kaltschmidt in the IR on June 9, I feel like I've missed something in my 70-plus years as a Montanan. The adjectives used by Mr. Kaltschmidt to define us as Montanans are straight out of the Republican political playbook. I possess these qualities but since I vote "blue" then I must be a liberal, radical socialist.
It's funny that in all the flowery endorsement for the candidates that there is no mention of qualities like truth, compassion, bipartisanship or progress. The omission of these qualities is the essence of Trumpism. Mr. Kaltschmidt makes the point that we must defend our treasured values and way of life and that this begins with the reelection of Donald J. Trump. I hate to think of what will happen if that comes true.
I have sent several emails to Gov. Bullock regarding the group know as Antifa, which is an armed terrorist group that has ties to a few cities right here in Montana, and I still await a reply. Consider that the turmoil spreads throughout the United States, and far leaning left decide that they would also like to have an autonomous zone, say right here in Helena. What would Bullock do. Then they call for defunding of the police departments, remove any monuments or statues that offend them, you know, like the one Helena removed more than a year ago, placed there by the Daughters of the Confederacy. It wasn't to promote bigotry, but to show how much our country has grown since the days of slavery. It's history, plain and simple. Shall we tear out the pages of history books that depict anything that these groups despise. Wake up governor, or are you too busy working on your run for a Senate seat.
My jaw dropped this morning when I read the IR headline “Call for defunding HPD.”
Police in Helena work hard to keep our city safe and pleasant. Officers I encounter around town are courteous and helpful.
Working as a police officer must be a very difficult — probably fairly thankless — job. Rarely are they called in to handle a pleasant situation. They’re faced with constant conflict. If we don’t treat law enforcement with a little respect and appreciation, no one will want to take on that challenge.
If our police aren’t performing their jobs with respect and compassion toward the people of Helena, we would do well to increase their resources, rather than defund them. We should do what it takes to educate officers and uphold strict behavioral guidelines.
Yes, let’s review policing policies and behavior. Let’s teach our officers how to treat citizens with dignity and compassion. Let’s not condone inappropriate actions or attitudes. But at the same time, let’s also treat our police with the respect and appreciation they deserve for performing a job most of us would be unwilling to take on.
Helena will not improve by defunding our police department.
Screaming, swearing, intimidation of a peaceful protest, impersonating a police officer, dressing up like a Mad Max fully armed and resembling third world terrorist, displaying racist flags is a strong indication of one segment of our society's desire to stop our freedom of speech and freedom to assemble.
Each group has a right to express their thoughts, but obviously because of the lack of respect for others or our constitutional right to peacefully gather, the segment of our society who believes violence is the answer will eventually cause both sides to lose the ability to public express concerns.
Glad the police were able to squelch those anti-BLM folks and allow for constitutional freedoms. Showing up in opposition to or in favor of a protest intimating protesters fully armed will eventually lead to an innocent life being harmed or ending. Our right to bear arms does not give us the right to use those arms to intimidate or threaten others. Peaceful assembly is the strongest means to promote an idea or show protest for an event or issue within our American system. We can find comprise and solutions without violence and hate.
How many parents enjoyed home schooling your children the last few months? How many feel the education they received this year was the best ever? Not many I bet. This pandemic has demonstrated what an awesome and difficult job our public schools perform.
Putting it all back together once this is all over will be difficult. Luckily we have someone up to the task in Melissa Romano. She is an award winning educator, who believes in public education. She has a positive vision for public education in Montana. Her opponent does not even believe in public schools. She believes in home schooling and publicly supported religious schools. We need someone who believes in public education as secretary of education.
Frankly, I have to weigh in on this knee-jerking response to defunding our police departments. Reducing law enforcement funding is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Now we hearing police don’t have the correct training, are ethnically profiling people by there color of there skin, and don't have social skills for diverse communities like ours in Helena. I say they are wrong, but I would be open to additional training for reinforcement of the core values of our community.
This will require resources to accomplish initial training and further ongoing annual training for our law enforcement departments. Defunding them doesn't help anyone in our community.
Reducing or eliminating law enforcement frankly, is just plain wrong. I appreciate our law enforcement officers in our city, county and state. With all this negative talk of our fine law enforcement officers makes it all that more difficult to recruit and retain our officers for service in our community.
I do believe that the officer that place his knee on George Floyd's neck was wrong, and he will be punished accordingly for his actions. We all need to let this settle down and make reasonable decisions moving forward.
A dear friend of mine, from out of state, called to say he is beginning to think he is a racist and wants to come to Montana. This opened my eyes to what he and others around the United States have been sensing. I have known the reality that we are no longer a white America for sometime. A few years back I was in a southern pavilion to get out of the rain. I was the only white person there. I text my daughter to tell her and she text back: "Lucky you!" The camaraderie was delightful. We are a grand nation of great diversity, talents, strengths, ethnicity and will. I embrace this America and look forward to the wonders it will bring! I am an elderly lady but I, too, join the voices for equality for all!
Those of you who have sent emails to the Helena City Commissioners to defund the police, what planet are you from? Your mental state is in question.
Just because one disgusting cop murdered an innocent man you think it’s OK to get rid of the 99.99% of good cops. You are just going along with the other kooks that are pushing for that in our country.
You should be ashamed of yourself. They are the ones who provide a civil society for us all.
President Trump just announced his decision to abandon over a century of protection of wild birds from human structures. Actually, Trump began ignoring the statute three years ago; companies guilty of harming birds in this way have not been prosecuted since 2017. Conservationists warn that this action could lead to the death of billions of wild birds, some of which are already endangered. Industrial structures are already responsible for the death of 450 million to 1.1 billion birds annually.
If you enjoy sharing our planet with our feathered friends, please contact Rep. Greg Gianforte and Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester to express your concerns. This action by the president is indefensible.
I noticed that Capital High School changed the H on Mount Helena to a C in honor of the graduates this year.
In Anaconda, they have an A hill for Anaconda High School and a C hill for Central High School. Why can't Capital High use Mount Ascension to have a permanent C displayed since Helena High School's H has been on Mount Helena for so long it should remain there? Both schools should be recognized.
The voting record for Daines from PoliticsThatWork.com shows that his votes favor the middle class 2.4% of the time, and favor the wealthy 97.6% of the time.
Among things he opposes are taxing the wealthy, taxing businesses, consumer protection, disaster relief, environmental protection, funding education, public health, humane immigration policies, labor rights and wages, foreign and humanitarian aid, restricting money in politics and poverty amelioration.
He has one of the worst records in the U.S. Senate in votes for retirees. According to AgeDiscriminationInEmployment.com, he is one of 14 senators (all Republicans) who voted "no" on government discretionary spending. The "no" votes would have affected programs that allow older Americans to remain independent in their homes, such as Meals on Wheels.
HealthReformVotes.org shows that while Daines served in the House and Senate during 2013-2018, he voted 14 times on legislation to either repeal the Affordable Care Act or erode various sections of it.
The upcoming congressional elections this fall should be about the issues and not personalities. Presently the liberals/progressive/Democrat agenda includes the following: eliminate gun ownership and free speech; public funded late-term abortion and infanticide, allow open borders; eliminate ICE; free college education; $15 minimum wage; $30,000 guaranteed annual income for all; eliminate coal, natural gas and oil; weaken private property rights by using extreme environmental regulations and new laws; reduce role of religion in our society; appoint very liberal judges to the federal bench; support communist countries such as China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela and Iran; use of impeachment to remove unwanted conservative appointments; follow and support Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff,; increase taxes; eliminate Trump tax cut; a weaker military.
The difference between conservatives and liberals is very well defined. A vote for the Democrats is a vote for increased government regulation over our daily lives and income. Pelosi and Schumer will have total control and will be listening to George Soros, Mike Bloomberg, Hollywood, and the far left media. Make no mistake, the elections this fall will be extremely important for our country's future. Freedom is not free and requires voters to do more than vote for the personality.
Left over signage is an insult to the community. It is deplorable what our commissioners don't do to keep Helena an attractive community. They should require signage of closed stores be taken down at midnight of the closing. Hastings sign has been on their closed store front for years. Capital Hill Mall has its broken sign on Prospect going on two years. Shopko not only has its sign still up on the building but so is its small directional sign on East Custer.
At election time, elect people for commissioner who will care for and will preserve our community!
I read with great interest the (April 10) story in the Independent Record concerning the problems Nicholas Sovner and his wife were having with construction at the Beattie Street Trailhead. Nick eloquently expressed his dismay at the reduction of his quality of life and his fears for the safety and wellbeing of his family during the new construction. It’s not fun having heavy construction equipment running right next to your home at all hours of the day and night, is it?
I have those same concerns and more, since my home borders Valley Sand and Gravel’s proposed gravel pit at their McHugh 2 site. Since Nick is Tetra Tech’s project manager for McHugh 2, I am sure he is familiar with the many serious issues surrounding the operation of this project in the middle of an established neighborhood. He must also be aware that instead of a few weeks of work for the trailhead upgrades, VS&G intends to operate the McHugh 2 site for the next 25 years. We in the neighborhood surrounding the McHugh 2 site all want what Nick wants; a home that provides a peaceful quality of life with security and safety for our families. As Tetra Tech works to correct the 17 pages of deficiencies issued by the DEQ on the VS&G’s McHugh 2 plan, I ask them to remember that.
It’s clear that our state government isn’t firing on all cylinders. Our government keeps growing bigger and bigger, and yet the services they provide get worse and worse. The bureaucracy is out of control. And now the Democrats have nominated a man for governor, who is the champion of the bureaucrats. Mike Cooney has been in Helena for over 40 years, and under his leadership this trend would only continue.
Greg Gianforte is the clear choice in this race. Greg knows how to run a large organization successfully. A large part of that is accountability. One of the first tasks he’s pledged to do is a top-to-bottom review of all the agencies, to figure out who and what is working, and who and what is not.
If we want to have any meaningful change, we have to have new leadership in these agencies. Cooney will protect his buddies that he’s been working with in Helena for decades. Greg is prepared to make the right decisions for the people of Montana, unlike Cooney who will protect bureaucrats who haven’t been serving Montanans, while living off of taxpayer dollars.
In each month's issue, Rural Montana Magazine (Electric Coop Association) asks our congressional delegation topical questions. June's question was "In view of the controversy surrounding China and COVID-19, how does the U.S. navigate trade relations with China?"
Rep. Gianforte responded, "We must hold China accountable ... After the outbreak began, China covered up the extent and severity of the virus. The Chinese Communist Party silenced scientists and doctors, and America has paid the price."
I believe that's all true. But shouldn't we also hold President Trump accountable for doing the exact same thing? His defenders would no doubt argue that he was simply just trying to protect the economy. I imagine the Chinese government might make the same argument.
While I think President Trump was correct in leaving most COVID containment decisions to individual states, it's unconscionable that he encouraged demonstrators to demand premature and dangerous re-openings in states where governors had bravely imposed difficult but effective contagion prevention measures.
While I am in no way downplaying the severe hardships many Montanans faced complying with those orders, we can thank Gov. Bullock (and those who complied) for making Montana the safest state in the nation.