More letters from the election mailbag

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Garner won’t get this vote

Well, Gas Tax Garner’s masquerade as a Republican representative has grown difficult to watch and even harder to subsidize (check those gas prices lately?). Difficult enough that for all, except the most forgiving and/or willfully ignorant voters, he is neither Republican (lower taxes, less government bloat/overreach) nor representative (how many folks have told you about the thrill they felt when they learned that every gallon of gas was going to cost 6 cents more — forever?).

Now, I hear that Frank (that’s Gas Tax’s birth name, you know) has draped himself in the flag by touting his “better part of 2007” (would that be more or less than six months, Frank?) “service” in Afghanistan during which time he was a paid contractor for Halliburton with its billions of dollars in military (pronounce “mercenary”) contracts. Today, we all know the grim tale of how Dick Cheney’s Halliburton made $39.5 billion from the unconstitutional undeclared war in Iraq that destroyed over 500,000 children. Contrast Garner’s financial service to himself with Lt. Col. Bob Welzel’s lifetime of service to his country while in the U.S. Marine Corps. This contrast exemplifies the steak vs. sizzle contest we face in House District 7.

I urge you all to go to Robert Welzel’s Facebook page and read about him and what he stands tall and Semper Fidelis (“Always Faithful”) proud for. Let’s get back to the Constitution and fiscally responsible government. Let’s elect an American, a Marine and a true Montanan. Elect Bob Welzel on House District 7! —John Embry, Kalispell

Vote for Egan Slough District expansion

There is a vote scheduled for June 5 to block the opening of a water-bottling plant along the Flathead River. The State Department of Natural Resources and Convervation has granted a permit to the Montana Artesian Water Company.

Flathead County residents are encouraged to vote YES to the Egan Slough Initiative 17-01 to enable Montana to maintain our pure water that is sourced from Glacier National Park into Flathead Lake and block the bottling plant. —Len and Christina Stigliano, Bigfork

Bell brought turmoil to sheriff’s office

I have been a Lake County 911 dispatcher and supervisor for a total of 24 years. In 2014, following Don Bell’s election to sheriff, 100 percent of the dispatchers voted to leave the authority of the Sheriff’s Office, and with the county commissioners’ approval, were placed under the Office of Emergency Management. This was a direct result of Bell creating a very toxic working environment with his frequent blow-ups, yelling and threats.

Several deputies have resigned and gone to neighboring agencies taking their training and experience with them. Each time, an untrained “replacement” deputy is hired, Lake County taxpayers must pay for his training. Lake County Sheriff’s Office is the agency that officers used to want to work for. Now it’s the agency they avoid.

In June I will be voting for David Coffman for sheriff because when I first met him I was immediately struck by his “people skills” and his desire to listen to the opinions of others. His first step in deciding to run for Lake County sheriff was to seek out the public safety concerns of all the police chiefs in Lake County. He is a communicator with a gift for bringing people together. —Darlene Lester, Polson

Stahlberg is well-suited for sheriff’s job

We will soon be electing a new Flathead County sheriff, the county’s top law enforcement officer. After careful consideration I have concluded that we should elect Sgt. Keith Stahlberg as our next sheriff.

This election is the fourth change in leadership that I have watched since 1989. In each election there has understandably been division as each new sheriff took the reins and guided the sheriff’s office into the future. I doubt this election will be different. That being said, I believe that Keith is the best candidate to lead the office during the next four years.

I have known Keith since 2003. During that time our professional paths have crossed many times. Each time I have found Keith to be of the highest character and integrity. He takes his oath and job seriously. Keith’s professionalism is guided and tempered by his common sense and commitment to fairness in the administration of justice.

Policing in the 21st century is demanding. The county and the sheriff’s office face significant challenges in the coming years. I believe Keith is well-suited to administer the sheriff’s office and lead his deputies by example. I urge you to vote for Keith Stahlberg for sheriff. —David Ortley, Kalispell

Scott good pick for commissioner

I urge all to participate and vote in the upcoming primary election. Gerald “Jay” Scott is an excellant choice for the office of county commissioner. I have known Jay for many years, working with him in the county fair business. Jay was one of the best fair managers I had the pleasure to do business with. His job as fair manager was important to him because he knew the fair was vital to members of 4-H and FFA along with many other familes of the area.

As a commisioner you can count on Jay to give careful consideration and thought to the issues facing the valley in this rapid period of growth. He will examine the facts and research each issue before casting a vote for the good of the population of the valley. Jay is an honest, hard-working individual and will continue that work ethic as your county commissioner.

When marking your ballot for county commissioner, please consider Jay as the best candidate for the job of your full-time commissioner. —Donna Rae Stollfuss, Marion

Skees for caring commissioner

It is with great please that I take this opportunity to endorse Ronalee Skees in her race for county commissioner.

I have witnessed how passionate she is about Flathead County and caring for all our residents. I have watched her fellow opponents and while they talk about leadership, in my opinion that isn’t enough.

I want to vote for a candidate that is not only a true fiscal conservative, but more importantly a candidate who wants direct communication with the people he or she represents. After watching Ronalee Skees reach out to people while she has served on the Kalispell Planning and Zoning Commission and Flathead Board of Health to get their input on issues and trying to solve their issues that pertain to those boards, I have found her to honest, trustworthy and very caring about the valley that she loves so much. —Stan Harper, Bigfork

Is Brodehl soft on crime?

Former Flathead legislator Randy Brodehl might be hoping the good people of this valley forget about the bills he sponsored in the 2017 legislative session. He would have us all believe he is a “conservative” candidate for county commissioner when the reality is he’s the opposite. One example is HB 650.

Brodehl was the Primary Sponsor of HB 650, which reduced the sentencing laws for criminals, creating a revolving door of offenders. HB 650 (Section 12, sub-section 46-18-201) clearly states the reduced sentencing criteria that literally flung open the doors of our jails and prison and has caused a “catch & release” nightmare for our hard-working law enforcement officers. Ask any of our law enforcement officers how they’ve been hamstrung by this bill. The awful effects of HB 650 rest squarely at the doorstep of Randy Brodehl.

We need a county commissioner who is not soft on crime. We need a county commissioner who will not look the other way as criminals are being cycled through a revolving door of insanity.

When you receive your ballot, think about your safety and the safety of others. Vote for the candidate who will work with our new sheriff and not turn a blind eye to crime. Vote for Gary Krueger for county commissioner. —Jack Johnson, Columbia Falls

Only Fagg can beat Sen. Tester

If Republicans nominate Rosendale or Olszewski on June 5, then Republicans will assure that Sen. Tester gets another six years.

Why? Because Rosendale and Olszewski oppose the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Water Compact and 80 percent of Montana voters want the compact. Even President Trump will not be able to save Rosendale or Olszewski.

To understand the compact controversy, Republicans must understand their own party.

The very vocal “Tea Party” Republicans oppose the compact. They represent only 20 percent of Republican voters, or 10 percent of Montana voters. Like Rand Paul, Rosendale or Olszewski are Tea Party Republicans.

Tea Party Republicans did not support Zinke for Congress. They wanted Cruz for president. They voted Libertarian in 2006 and 2012 to elect Tester to the U.S. Senate. They want gravel roads and pot holes rather than gas taxes to maintain Montana roads. They want Montanans to pay $2 billion to fight water-rights lawsuits that they would lose, rather than approve the negotiated compact. They claim the compact is unconstitutional, disagreeing with the Montana Supreme Court.

Come November, most Republicans, most voters in major farmer, rancher, stockgrower, and irrigator groups, most voters in major cities, and all Democrats and Indians, will vote only for a candidate who supports the compact.

Judge Fagg is the only Republican Senate candidate who understands Montana water law and argues for the compact. Judge Fagg will beat Tester in November.

Get the Kindle version of my book “Montana’s Last Indian Water Compact” for free from May 14 to 18. Tell your friends about this sale. My book is the only comprehensive, readable analysis of the compact and what it means to Montana. It refutes every opponent claim. —Ed Berry, Bigfork

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