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3 Republicans vying for open seat in SD 2

by Colin Gaiser
Daily Inter Lake | May 8, 2020 1:00 AM

Three candidates are seeking the Republican nomination for the open Senate District 2 seat, as Republican Sen. Dee Brown of Hungry Horse is term-limited from running for the seat again.

Senate District 2 includes the northeast side of the Flathead Valley, Columbia Falls, the North Fork and the U.S. 2 corridor from Columbia Falls to West Glacier.

The winner of the race between Carl Glimm – who currently represents House District 6, but is term-limited from keeping that seat – Norman Nunnally and Paul Longfield will challenge Democratic candidate Kyle Waterman in the general election.

Early voting begins May 8, with the general election scheduled for Nov. 3.

Carl Glimm

Political party: Republican

Age: 45

Family: Wife Amy, three children: Matt, 18, Rylee, 13 and Annah, 8

Occupation: Home Builder

Background: Born in Conrad; graduated Montana State University with construction engineering degree; started Glimm Homes in 2003; 12 years as volunteer firefighter; past board member for Nurturing Center; past president of Flathead Building Association; past president of Montana Building Industry Assoc.; current vice president of Trinity Lutheran Church; current Montana House District 6 Representative

Website and/or email: Glimmformontana@gmail.com

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

First off, I am a father, a husband, a small business owner, a property owner, a taxpayer and a Montanan that probably has the same values as you. I love our state and want to leave it better for my kids and yours.

I have served four terms in the House of Representatives. During that time, I have been involved in the state budgeting process, serving all four terms on appropriations. Two terms I was the chairman for the Natural Resources and Transportation subcommittee and last term, I was the chairman of the complete Appropriations Committee. In addition to this fiscal emphasis, I have carried some significant policy issue bills, with topics ranging from gun rights to water to religious freedom to pro-life issues.

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

The most pressing issue facing our state right now is the China Virus and the effects it has brought. Not only are we battling the virus, but we are struggling to overcome the reaction to the virus. The effects the shutdown is having on the economy are horrific and it will connect to our state budget in this next legislative session.

My experience will be extremely beneficial. It has always been my nature to look for savings and efficiencies. This will be critical in the coming session, as the revenues will be reduced, we will be forced to trim the budget. This is no time for on-the-job training.

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

I have always fought for the taxpayer; after all they are working to pay the bills, while everyone else is in Helena, trying to get their cut of the pie. The economy has been good the last couple years and with the make-up in the Helena, we have spent it all. Now, with the reduction in revenue, we will be forced to reduce the budget.

The glass-half-full approach to this is that, when times are tight, there is no better time to look for efficiencies and better ways to do things. For example, a couple sessions ago, our fuel taxes appeared to not have enough reserves to fund road construction for the next budget cycle. I went to work, and came up with a plan to fund the work, fully covered with efficiencies and savings. But, another plan was introduced to raise the gas tax and it passed. Now, we don’t have those efficiencies and we all pay more for gas and diesel.

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 sad fact that Montana is consistently at the top of the list for suicide. One way to battle this was a bill I carried last session, to clarify that Montana law does not allow a physician to assist someone with suicide. All life is valuable and we need to send a clear message to our youth, our veterans and our people who struggle with mental illness that suicide is not the answer. You are valuable, your life is valuable. It’s confusing to say that your life is valuable, but that another one is not.

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 the shutdown was handled poorly. Mostly, for the unconstitutional nature of some of the orders. Montanans are reasonable people, we would have done fine with requests to limit activities. But when, for example, the government says you CANNOT go to your place of worship, that is a direct violation of the 1st amendment in the Bill of Rights. I’m not saying limiting contact with others wasn’t a good idea, especially for at-risk populations, but a request would have been legal.

I’m very concerned that we collectively gave up that right and didn’t push back enough. Government allowed to stretch the boundaries and will continue to erode our rights and freedoms. Benjamin Franklin once said: “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

The bounce back from the shutdown is the same answer that it has been for making the economy stronger, which is “get government out of the way.” The private sector, without government interference, will put people to work, will provide products that citizens need and want. It is the private sector that will bring us out of this slump. It is the private sector that, in getting back to work, will start to pay taxes again, to fund the essential services of government. Right now, the spending is being funded at the expense of future generations.

Paul J. Longfield

Political party: Republican

Age: 63

Family: Wife, Shawn of 38 years, and two very successful children, Terryl and Dalen; six grandchildren.

Occupation/Background: Retired teamster, Flathead County Solid Waste

Email: Longshotlongfield@gmail.com

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

I have owned my own businesses, was raised by my mom owning her own business in Coram. I went to grade school in Coram (1960s) in which two grades were in one room with one teacher. I have over 23 years in the teamsters union in which I had the respect and confidence of my peers to represent them as union steward for over 10 years. I was involved in many intense contract negotiations for wages and benefits.

I spent several long, tough years in Watford City, N.D. working in the oil fields, living in crowded man camps and working long hours. There I worked with people from all over the world. I have worked with independent business people and hard working Montanans my whole life and know how hard it is to make a living with over-burdensome regulations and high taxes Montanans have to pay. Things need to change.

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

The most pressing issue (one of many) Montana has to deal with is the fast rate of rising property taxes. If we don’t do something soon to stem the rate increases we will all be looking for subsidized affordable housing. First we need to freeze property taxes at their current rate for five years or so. Then we need to get to work finding a equatable and fair system of properly taxing Montanan’s property, with the priority given to full-time residents, especially seniors on fixed incomes.

As for affordable housing we need to look at the city of Columbia Falls for an example of how to best accomplish affordable housing before it’s too late and unfordable. They do a stellar job in how to run a Montana town including affordable housing, local taxes and open spaces (parks) given the current circumstances.

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

There is only one way to prioritize state spending: That is to have a strict budget with every dollar having a name and a place to go. Start with the most important and highly needed priorities and work your way down through the list of priorities, most to least. When you are out of money, stop spending.

It is important to have a emergency fund, obviously the bigger the better. If you have to ask if it’s an emergency, it’s not. The only way to accomplish this rigorous task is through compromise and the quickest way to end a compromise is start the name-calling and raise one’s voice. This has to be a civil, respectful, be-nice debate between legislators. The last thing we want is the people of Montana to look at us like the clowns in Washington, D.C. – there is nothing more horrifying than stupidity in action.

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?

Mental health and suicide in Montana is a huge problem and totally unacceptable at current levels. We don’t have enough money to throw at the problem, but just because you throw a lot money at the problem doesn’t mean you solve it. Through increased funding, education, training, detection, churches, volunteers, neighbors and friends we can help those in need hopefully find faith and hope – be it in a higher power and or the belief that the gift of life is the greatest gift of all.

As we all know that sounds great, it is dang hard to achieve. In all the cases I have been around – both suicide and mental health – the victims felt alone, depressed, isolated and hopeless often undetected. Hopefully as a society we can steer people in need toward a belief that even when they are by themselves they are never alone, tomorrow will be better and the next tomorrow will too and the gift of life is the greatest gift of all. We have to keep working at it, try to make things better. We all go through rough times, but having that belief you are never alone is priceless. Hopefully we can instill that in people that need our help. I am not a psychologist, a doctor or any kind of therapist, but I was asked this question and this how I answered it – for better or worse.

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?

Obviously we need to get Montana businesses open as quickly as possible. We definitely don’t want the cure to be worse than the virus, which is looking like the case. Bullock just needs to stay within the framework President Donald Trump has set forward. Everyone knows the rules about safe distancing, masks, hygiene and who the most vulnerable are. Protecting the most vulnerable is top priority with everyone taking responsibility for themselves to be safe and not infect others.

The problem for Montana is whether they are already here or on their way - it’s the people who think the rules are for everyone but them. Hopefully not but they are the ones that are going to sink the ship. When in Montana you will behave yourself, the rules are for everyone equally. We have to do this right the first time, god forbid we have to close businesses a second time. It will be totally devastating.

Norman Nunnally

Political party: Republican

Age: 73

Family: Married to Carol J. Nunnally

Occupation: Retired Army and nursing

Background: I was born in Washington State where I spent much of my life; I am a retired U.S. Army Master Sergeant that served in Infantry, Engineers, Armored Cavalry, Health Services Command and Special Forces; career counselor and recruiter, for a period of 39+ years; in the medical industry as a nurse I was assigned in OB-GYN, Orthopedics, General Medicine, Psychiatrics and Intensive Care Units; In private industry I managed departments for GMPD, International Harvester and Subaru.; owned and operated a fire equipment sales and service company that provided services throughout Washington, parts of Oregon and Idaho; raised wheat and served as Public Health and Safety chair for a county solid waste department; accumulated over 5 years of college education and am currently enrolled with Hillsdale College taking courses in history, constitutions, economics, ethics and literature; member and serve as adjutant for the American Legion Columbia Falls, MT Post 72; ordained in the Universal Life Church as minister and a recussionist while worshiping with Our Savior’s Lutheran congregation in Columbia Falls.

Email: normnunnally@ymail.com

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

As you call tell from my experience base and background listed above, I am well-suited for the position of Montana State Senator for District 2.

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

As anyone with one eye and a half lick of sense can clearly see that today the biggest gorilla in the state is health care. However, the position I am running for will not commence until January 2021 and there will be several other pressing concerns that will have arisen during the coming interval of recovery from this current crisis. Returning our local and state economies to a healthy and productive condition will be first and foremost accompanied with job growth and industry expansions in all areas. Education, forest industries, farming, beef and cattle ranching, communication and technology, housing and infrastructures.

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

The Constitution of the State of Montana and subsequent court rulings have pretty much laid out the allocations of moneys to include any new demands from public levy increases. Any individual, city, county and state government should live within its means, and the biennial budget should carry out that mission while setting aside necessary reserves for exigency conditions. The real test for the coming Congress will be in addressing and massaging our revenue and finance systems to accommodate the changing elements of our local economies and demographics.

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?

As a former state mental health counselor and Mental Health Board member I will say that the mental-health issue nationwide was kicked aside in the 1970s, as it became fiscally advantageous for states to begin shifting from actual treatment facilities to warehousing facilities, then outsourcing that warehousing to private for-profit enterprises. That led to street treatment when insurance and private finances ran out for the mentally impaired, who in turn turned to self-medicated and the mental-health problem became one of law enforcement. There are protocols that entail residential therapies that involve external and peer-counseling participation in a stepped and phased recovery milieu.

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?

Governor Bullock’s administration, like many state governors, has their hands tied in response to this epidemic by the over-centralized approach from the federal levels down. It is my opinion that the more we can shift local responsibilities back to local controls with collateral freeing up of the ballooning federal big-government mindsets, the sooner local economies and conditions in all sectors of our society will stabilize.