Letters to the editor Jan. 19

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Passive senator

Thank you to Sen. Jon Tester for having an open town hall meeting recently. That takes guts and not all of our elected representatives are willing to do this for us.

One question asked was whether he supported a carbon fee and dividend. This is a market-based plan that refunds to all citizens fees collected from fossil fuel extraction companies. Such a solution is designed to promote American innovation, our greatest strength on the world stage. He said, as he has in the past, that he believes climate change is a major problem and that it is time to debate the solutions. I am disturbed by the passivity of that answer. I want elected officials who are willing to educate themselves about the various solutions enough to already have an opinion about which solution they support. That’s what we elected them to do, after all. It’s OK if they change their mind during the debating process, but I want them to bring something to the table. Without at least a tentative opinion about which solution he favors, Tester will just be an observer in the debate, not a participant.

Representative Greg Gianforte has written “I support market-based solutions that grow American jobs. America leads the world in energy production. We must also lead in energy innovation.”

Thank you, Greg, for having the guts to at least express what type of solution you’d support.

I call on Senator Tester to pick a solution to support. This problem is too important to our grandchildren’s future to simply sit back and wait for others to debate. You said we need to debate the solutions. To participate in the debate you need to bring an opinion to it. I don’t want a passive senator.

­—Walter Rowtree, Kalispell

Candidate questions

I read the Jan. 12 opinion column “Don’t take the bait, America: Avoid war with Iran” by John Mues. My first impression is that it is just a campaign talking point with the usual anti-Trump messaging.

When I looked at Mr. Mues website and the Montana Democratic Party website I came away without a very unclear picture of Mr. Mues background. Everything is very generalized. Some day you might have an opportunity to interview him, and if it were me interviewing him I would like to know:

1. He claims a “4th generation Montanan” but I can’t find any history of his Montana family history.

2. He loves to tout his seven years of Navy history, but it leaves me wondering why a person invests that much time at the Academy and active duty (11 years, I presume) and decides to quit. And, what was his rank?

3. He then “began two years of differentiated service to country” (whatever this is) as a teacher. It appears that teaching didn’t appeal to him either as a career.

4. Then he spent 11 years as a “senior engineer in the energy sector” which is not explained what he actually did as an “engineer.” Looks like engineering is not his career of choice.

5. He claims now to live “near Loma, Montana” but I cannot seem to find what he does there, not much work there except farming, etc., but he does not seem to explain further. I wonder if he works for Senator Tester as a farm hand?

Anyway, there are a lot of unknowns about this candidate. Maybe someone should ask Mr. Mues about these items.

—Duane Egan, Columbia Falls

Board appointments

Flathead County Commissioners Pam Holmquist and Phil Mitchell have now gone beyond being embarrassing; they have now endangered the most vulnerable citizens of our communities. The appointment of a “doctor” who refuses to recognize the scientifically proven benefits of herd immunity is a threat to my family, my neighbors and my community.

I refer to Annie Bukacek who was recently appointed the Flathead Board of Health. Being a Flathead native, a health-care provider, and a former member of the Board of Health, I believe I can say that Flathead County does not need an anti-vaccine, naysayer of personal health-care choice woman making decisions for us.

I have the highest regard for Drs. Wayne Miller and David Myerowitz who were recently removed from the board. Those two scientists, who I witnessed making informed decisions in the best interest of the public, have been replaced by a woman who does not believe science and a second woman who has a personal, commercial interest in the policies and decisions made by the board. I cannot support the appointment of Ardis Larsen any more than I can support the appointment of Bukacek.

Larsen’s business depends on inspections performed by the department which she will now oversee. Will she not have to recuse herself from any decision and/or vote on issues that may affect her business in the future?

It is utterly unacceptable that Bukacek is now the only health-care professional on the board. While the other board members are fine, thoughtful, dedicated people, there should be someone with medical education and belief in proven medical science on that board. Will Bukacek ever approve funds to increase the rate of vaccination?

Yes, Commissioner Holmquist, this is a very “big deal.” Mitchell should not seek re-election in 2020 and Holmquist’s term can not end quickly enough.

—Joan Driscoll, Kalispell

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