LETTER: House majority leader defends role in Republican Party

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In her letter to the editor on Sept. 10 (“Moderates being run out of GOP?”), Tammi Fisher made some erroneous and unsubstantiated comments about Sen. Matt Rosendale and me.

She said that we are the “self-proclaimed spokesmen for the Montana Republican Party” and that we propose a “cleansing” of the moderate Republicans. Sen. Rosendale is the Senate majority leader, and I am the House majority leader. We do speak for our respective caucuses, but we have a state Republican Party leader who is the spokesman for the party.  

Ms. Fisher does not inform us of the source for her accusations. I will have to infer that it is a result of the current legal action regarding closed and open primary elections. Sen. Rosendale and I have both been deposed by the state attorney general’s office regarding our experience as majority leaders in the Legislature. Party loyalty by legislators was questioned in that deposition.  

Ms. Fisher said that we propose to cleanse the party of moderates.  What is a moderate? Ms. Fisher said they are non-extremists. Non-extremist will be defined differently depending upon one’s point of view. There are frequent references to moderate Republicans or moderate Democrats in the news. In my experience, a moderate is someone that will frequently break from the main group.  

What does it mean to be a Democrat or a Republican? It should be like-mindedness around a party platform, not around Matt Rosendale, Keith Regier or any other individual. No part of this debate is “self-proclaimed” or about “cleansing.” It is about a candidate/legislator’s honesty in representing the ideology of the party platform as defined by the group at large.  

Legistats is an online scorecard designed to research a Republican legislator’s adherence to consistency with Republicans as a group. A senator or representative’s vote on each bill is rated according to how all Republican legislators voted on that bill. If one is frequently voting unlike a majority of the caucus (Republicans), it is reflected in a lower letter grade. A Republican with a grade of D or F voted frequently with Democrats.

It is rare to non-existent that a candidate will campaign as a moderate. When someone campaigns as a Democrat or Republican they should be honest with the voters and legislate the way they campaigned.

Sen. Rosendale and I are not setting the platform for the Republican Party. We simply agree with it. We cannot cleanse any party of moderates. That will be up to the voters of this great state. —Keith Regier, Kalispell Republican, House District 4

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