Special election mailbag

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Vote for core Montana values

One of the many things that made going to Bigfork High School in the early 1960s so enjoyable was the presence of a living Montana legend just across the fence from the school. J. Hugo Aronson, Montana’s twice-elected governor who won his first term in 1952, was an approachable and genial presence in the village. When the Republican retired from public life, he and his family moved to Bigfork and lived in an unpretentious home overlooking the bay. His daughter was in my class.

In many ways, Aronson, who was known by his quaint nickname “The Galloping Swede,” personified the core Montana values of the day. Although lacking in a high level of formal education, he was a natural leader who become a successful businessman due to his own bold initiatives and a lot of hard work. He was the definition of a “salt of the earth” person.

Would Aronson recognize the political landscape in today’s Montana? I suspect not. Millionaires and billionaires can personally bankroll campaign advertising that seems never to end. Out-of-state money and groups with questionable agendas unceasingly meddle and attempt to pollute our politics.

I see in the candidacy of Rob Quist for Congress an opportunity to restore a bit of dignity to our state’s increasingly vulgar political life. He certainly knows as much about Montana and its people and culture as just about anyone. While his opponent has promised, in so many words, to be an unblinking Trump follower, Rob would be a clear-thinking voice for real Montana values and such issues as protecting public lands and creating an equitable and functional healthcare program.

Perhaps never in the state’s history have two opposing candidates been so strikingly different. Humility vs. braggadocio. An organic understanding of Montana’s political heritage vs. trite slogans. And on and on.

In some ways, Rob Quist, with his folksy manner and cowboy hat, reminds me of another truly unique Montana personality, the late actor Gary Cooper. The Helena native played characters noted for their straight talk, basic humanity and unbending honesty. Rob is out of that sturdy Made-in-Montana mold. When you vote, strongly consider supporting a native son, the good guy in the white hat. Let’s send someone to Washington of whom we can be truly proud. —Mark Holston, Kalispell

Gianforte will get things done

I have had the opportunity to personally meet Greg Gianforte, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives. I would like to share with you, how much I appreciate his intelligence and his humility.

I deeply respect his knowledge of the problems we face here in our state. He has ACTUALLY studied the issues and knows what needs to be addressed at the federal levels. He is a Montanan who believes in keeping public lands public.

During the governor’s race last fall, there were many false statements said about Greg. I encourage you to do your homework. Do NOT fall prey to the misguided negative ads that are out there. I encourage all Democrats, Republicans and independents to actually get out and meet Greg. Then, you will understand for yourselves why Greg is the best man for this job.

Whereas, other candidates simply state what their positions are, Greg has the knowledge to actually get things done at the Washington, D.C., level. Greg is not running because he needs this job; he is running because he loves Montana and the people who live in our great state. —Steve Gist, Whitefish

Gianforte’s science views ridiculous

Anyone concerned with the growing ignorance and lack of respect for science in Washington should consider the fact that the Gianforte Foundation largely financed the dinosaur museum in Glendive. This would be great except for the fact that this is a museum that promotes creationism and the misbegotten position that the Earth is 6,000 years old.

Does Greg Gianforte really believe that humans and dinosaurs walked the earth together? Do you? If you do, then Gianforte is surely your candidate. But if you see this as the ridiculous dogma that it is, consider the fact that sending Greg Gianforte to Congress will just further lower the level of discourse in the country. We don’t need dogma-driven science deniers in government. We need inquiring minds who are ready to learn as well as lead. —Alice Millard, Kalispell

Quist: Politician with a heart?

I spent the 1970s working to preserve the Yellowstone River. One of our strongest local workers was a fishing guide and his wife “Boo.” Her real name was Elizabeth and she was the tireless hostess for innumerable streamside gatherings in support of the river.

In August of 2000 she was terminally ill and confined to bed. Her son organized a small gathering of friends to observe her birthday and share the love we had for her. To our surprise Rob Quist showed up and spent that evening singing to “Boo.” The grand finale that night was opening her bedroom doors to the free-flowing river where a bagpiper stood and offered a final salute to “Boo.”

Elizabeth clung to life for about a year and her funeral was in August of 2001. Once again, with considerable personal effort and no thought of compensation, Rob showed up to offer one final song. There is only one explanation: The guy has heart.

Now, Rob is running for Congress against a transient millionaire and his associated dark money political hacks spewing their negative drivel. But then, that is what you do when you have nothing to offer.

When time comes to vote for Montana’s next congressman let’s pick the guy with the guitar — and a heart that fits Montana, Rob Quist. —Jim Posewitz, Helena

Quist’s views don’t square with Second Amendment

Someone who supports Rob Quist for Congress wrote in a letter to the editor that, “as a rancher and hunter, Quist believes in Second Amendment gun rights.”

In addressing this issue himself, the candidate also dwells on how he has put elk meat on his family’s table. I think it’s great that Quist is a hunter, but it doesn’t mean he supports the Second Amendment.

Quist has expressed support for banning modern sporting rifles, or, as he and his fellow gun grabbers like to misname them, “assault rifles.” He also has been vocal about favoring “universal” gun registration. (I put “universal” inside quotation marks because — Duh! — criminals who do not abide by existing gun laws would not comply with “universal” registration either.)

Quist has been quoted saying, “We register cars. Why not register guns?” This is not supporting Second Amendment gun rights. The Second Amendment is not about hunting. Claiming that Quist supports Second Amendment gun rights is as transparently false as the same claim was when it was made by the last president, while he simultaneously did everything in his power to undermine these rights. —Lee Smith, Somers

Quist grounded in reality

With the stream of “bashing” political ads starting to crowd the air, I would like to offer my wholehearted support of Rob Quist for Congress. I grew up with Rob in Cut Bank and can guarantee that, yes, there is something under that hat. He is highly educated and grounded in reality, a compassionate, committed person that has dealt with many of the problems we all have — business, raising families, health issues. He loves this state, its wild places, and its people. Any state can elect a Gianforte. Only Montana can elect a Rob Quist. He’s the real deal. —Dulcy Zoellner, Whitefish

Gianforte is a true Montanan

How long does it take to be a true Montanan? Greg Gianforte has lived here over 20 years. His children were raised here and he achieved his greatest success as a Montanan. Greg could have started his business anywhere. His wife immigrated here as a small child, her father died and her mother did whatever work she could to support her.

The Gianfortes have studied hard in school and worked hard in business. Gianforte’s story is America’s story and it is what makes it great to be an American. I am not sure why some have gotten so petty that they forget that. It is not illegal or immoral to make money and create great paying jobs in Montana.

The Gianfortes follow the adage that “to whom much is given, much is expected.” Greg has started and financed multiple programs at secondary and university levels in computer science and personally mentored numerous young entrepreneurs. Montana has benefited from Gianforte’s generosity.

I attended the Republican candidate selection event in Helena. Greg was the only candidate to buck the Republican Party platform on public lands. Greg Gianforte will not support the sale or transfer of public lands. He will support better management, and he will listen to Montanans.

We need his common sense, his business savvy and his ability to get things done in Washington D.C. —Susan Lake, Ronan

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