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Guymon, Owens on Republican ballot for Whitefish’s HD 5

by Colin Gaiser
Daily Inter Lake | May 6, 2020 1:00 AM

Republican candidates Catherine Owens and Shawn Guymon will face off for the Montana House District 5 Republican nomination in the June 2 primary election, with the winner slated to take on Democratic incumbent Dave Fern in the general election. District 5 includes Whitefish and the area surrounding Whitefish Lake.

Guymon ran as a Libertarian candidate in House District 3 in 2010, 2012 and 2018. Early voting begins May 8, with the general election scheduled for Nov. 3.

Catherine Owens

Age: 54

Family: Married to Mark Owens, an engineer, for 28 years; six children: Paul, Captain U.S. Army, married; John, WHS graduate, Army veteran, works at Falkor/Sonju; Claire Daisy, WHS graduate, cosmetologist in Kalispell; Kristina, Farmington High School graduate, lives in Connecticut; Mary, 7th grade homeschooler; Caroline, 5th grade homeschooler; one granddaughter and a grandson on the way.

Occupation: Homemaker

Background: Daughter of a World War II veteran; graduated St. Mary’s College in California in 1988 with a political science degree; earned a teaching credential and taught for three years in San Francisco before moving to Texas and becoming a stay-at-home mother to six children; moved to Whitefish in 2011 with my husband’s job.

Website and/or email: “Catherine Owens for House District 5” on Facebook

How does your background qualify you for the role of state representative?

I like to say that everything I know about politics I learned raising six children. What qualifies me for the role as a legislator is the fact that I LOVE my country and I adore our freedoms. What qualifies me is the desire to leave behind a nation where the 1st and 2nd Amendments are alive and well, where government remains only to ensure our freedoms and not stifle ingenuity and entrepreneurship.

What do you see as the most pressing issue facing our state, and what would you do to address that issue?

At this current time, I believe the most pressing issue is our overreaching government. A government that increases and believes they should play a bigger role in our lives is a government who thinks we are not smart enough nor hard-working enough to govern ourselves. Government intrusion is stifling.

Montana is a treasure trove of resources. Weather it’s our trails, our forests, our lakes and streams and our national parks, we are blessed to have them at our disposal. We also have an abundance of resources underground that are rendered useless, like coal, which would provide higher-paying jobs for working-class Montanans. This is another example of how government intervention gets in the way of Montanans pursuing the American dream.

How do you feel about how the state is allocating its money? Could the Legislature better prioritize state spending, and how?

I believe that Montana does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. A smaller Montana government means less paychecks to bureaucrats and more money allocated to encourage economic growth. We need to pass bills that will increase jobs in Montana, reduce the tax burden for Montanans and encourage individual prosperity.

Montana continues to rank as one of the worst states in the nation for mental health and suicide rates. How would you work to improve this ranking?

One way to address this is to allow parents access to those funds their property taxes generate for the public school system. If parents had a choice regarding the best education for their child, they would be able to ensure the best educational environment for that child. Educational environments can play a tremendous role in the mental health of a child. I believe that is a place to start.

Let us not forget our veterans, however. As a mother of two soldiers, it is heart-breaking to know that 22 veterans, a day, take their own lives. The suicide rate for veterans in Montana remains high and calls us to assess how we are managing and funding veterans’ state, local and federal medical services.

How do you assess the state’s and Gov. Bullock’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? How would you begin to ensure our economy bounces back from measures such as temporarily closing non-essential businesses?

I believe this is a huge intrusion on our freedoms. How can someone determine what is essential and what is non-essential for me and my family? It appears Gov. Bullock has determined that my church is a non-essential, but the liquor store is an essential.

Why our governor is using the same criteria to manage COVID in Montana as the governor in New York is insane. As all Montanans are well aware, WE ARE NOT NEW YORK!

I am no expert on the COVID-19, but from what I understand, wearing a mask and gloves appears to prevent the spread of this disease. I also understand that those with already compromised immunity as well as the elderly are the hardest hit while the young and healthy can have COVID without any symptoms. Therefore, I propose to allow the young healthy people to get back to work, immediately, with gloves and masks. Make some strong recommendations those in the high-risk category isolate as much as possible.

Lastly, we Montanans are a hardy group. We are the Wild West and we are perfectly well-suited to take care of ourselves and each other without the government implementing extreme measures and pushing themselves furthering into our lives. We must not forget our Constitutional rights as a people. Terror gives rise to tyranny!

Shawn Guymon

Age: 57

Family: Gone

Occ-upation: Business owner (retired)

Back-ground: Fourth-generation Montanan; graduate of Flathead High School, Flathead Valley Community College and University of Montana; member of U.S. Air Force (Worldwide); disabled; entrepreneur and inventor; political activist

Website: MontanaDeclaration.com

What do you see as the most pressing issue facing our state, and what would you do to address that issue?

The absolute abolishment of our foundational principles and core values. And institutions by many in government against the people’s will.

How do you feel about how the state is allocating its money? Could the Legislature better prioritize state spending, and how?

I stopped them once before on misappropriation of funds. “We The People” must be ever vigilant in ensuring our government always remains fiscally responsible with our money and how it’s spent.

Montana continues to rank as one of the worst states in the nation for mental health and suicide rates. How would you work to improve this ranking?

It is a disgrace why and how the people of Montana have been and are still being mistreated by those in power. Most of the time mental health and suicides are the results (effects) of causes beyond the control of the victim(s).

Causes: One, poor or stripped education; two, little to no opportunities for growth or advancement; three, the worst wages in America; four, future is bleak or non-existent; five, strength of will (hope) is beat out of you; six, establishment has blind eyes and deaf ears – they don’t care; seven, self abuse.

How do you assess the state’s and Gov. Bullock’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? How would you begin to ensure our economy bounces back from measures such as temporarily closing non-essential businesses?

Alarmingly reactionary and political. When leadership shows fear and reacts fearfully the followers follow suit. A more measured and logical pursuit with coordination and cooperation between business, the people and state/local government, in that order, relying and respecting personable safe and measured ways of getting back to work is best for all. And soon.

Personally I find Governor Bullock to be completely disingenuous and contemptible over the fact that after 20 years not caring about the health, safety or lives of Montanans – see W.R. Grace mock-phony trial – or the 11,000 family victims as the result un-American/inhuman practices by the authority upon Montanans. Now to care about us is laughable on its face. I dare him to answer these charges as attorney general and governor.

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Guymon