Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Republican candidates for House District 90

by Montana Free Press
| May 29, 2024 12:00 AM

Curtis J. Cochran (R)

Born, Sanders County, Mt. 68 years old. Res. St. Regis Mt. 50+ yrs. Retired, Raised on Cattle Ranch, Timber industry 40yrs, Construction, Tourism industry. attended UM 76,77. at the end of my career in the Timber industry i was a Forester for Tri-Con Timber. I worked on several large Stewardship projects with the USFS, DNRC and private timber mitigation projects all over Montana and Wyoming. extensive knowledge of the relationship between Govt. agencies and Private landowners that live in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). All of us in Western Montana basically live in the WUI. Long time Community Council volunteer, High School athletic volunteer. My Knowledge of the people ,schools, industry, recreation makes me a good candidate.

What do you consider to be the most pressing issues facing Montana heading into the 2025 session and what legislation would you propose and/or support to address these issues?

Affordable housing and property taxes. These issues go hand in hand. We need to take a hard look at how the state government can either get out of the way or help with solutions. Maybe tax credits for low income housing for entry level employees that are in short supply for our buisnesses in Western Montana.

Many Montanans are concerned about rising residential property taxes, which primarily fund local government services such as schools, counties and city/town programs but are calculated through a system set by the Legislature. What changes to the state tax system, if any, would you support to provide property tax relief while maintaining sufficient revenue for essential services?

The legislatures role in the property tax equation is setting the multiplier rate as well as the 95 mills for school equalization. The governors property tax task force is working now and will have ideas for the 2025 session to consider. We may need to redistribute rates to relieve residential taxes. But i strongly support the school equalization mills which are badly need in rural western Montana. Article X sec. 1 of the Montana Constitution requires the legislature to equally fund our schools with free and quality education. The school equalization act does just that.

Considering the state’s role in mental and physical health care services, especially in helping cover the costs of services available to lower-income Montanans, what additional steps, if any, do you believe the Legislature should take to enhance health care access and promote Montanans’ health?

Medicade expansion is in place now for low income folks ages 0-64 but needs to be approved every 2 years by the legislature. It is funded 90% fed 10% state. It has been in place long enough now that the facts are in that it is working for businesses, rural hospitals and clinics and improved the the health of low income folks. I will support renewel of Medicaid Ex in 2025.

Many education leaders are concerned that the state’s existing school funding formula isn’t keeping up with the costs of educating students. What proposals, if any, would you support to ensure adequate and sustainable long-term funding is available for public pre-K–12, college/university, and vocational education programs?

As i said above i support the school equalization act for our rural schools. But maybe it is time to rethink the formula. What does Wyoming do? Alaska? They put a large amount of their natural resource revenue back in the schools. Maybe we look at PILT money from Federal lands (payment in lieu of taxes) that we get from the Federal govt. Could they contribute more?


Jeff Stanek (R)

I was born on the Air Force Academy in Colorado. When my father separated from the military, we moved to Medford, OR. After high school, I served honorably in the Air Force as a cop and was deployed to Afghanistan from 2009-2010. I was an Honor Graduate, Distinguished Graduate, Emergency Service Team Member, and received many other awards. After separating, I worked in management until 2016. I then used the GI Bill to finish my teaching degree. I graduated summa cum laude from the University of Montana Western. Later, I received my master's degree. I live and teach in St. Regis and I am 35 years old. I have seen the world and real tyranny. I am a student of history and I have a duty to serve Montana to protect our posterity.

What do you consider to be the most pressing issues facing Montana heading into the 2025 session and what legislation would you propose and/or support to address these issues?

The growing size of government and in turn higher taxes is the most pressing issue facing out state and nation. We are almost 35 trillion dollars in debt, we have a federal government who is filled with career politicians, we have a state that refuses to hear the petitions of 38 out of 56 counties who said that our property taxes are too high. There's widespread fraud, waste and abuse of tax money; and that same government who takes an oath to defend our constitution, openly violates it. Montana needs to band together and hold our federal and state governments accountable, while passing legislation that protects our elections, our sovereignty, our money, our families, our privacy, our resources and our right to be left alone.

Many Montanans are concerned about rising residential property taxes, which primarily fund local government services such as schools, counties and city/town programs but are calculated through a system set by the Legislature. What changes to the state tax system, if any, would you support to provide property tax relief while maintaining sufficient revenue for essential services?

The first question should be: What are "essential services?" There are needs and wants and the record has proven that often times our government spends money on things they want, but do not need. I signed a constitutional initiative a few years ago to put a cap on property taxes because of this exact problem. It should have been put on the ballot, but because the Montana Supreme Court killed it, we are faced with a government who demands more from us every year. Government spending must be decreased by law in support of the people. If the budget in years past worked, why can it not work now? The argument of population growth or inflation does not hold weight when last year we had a surplus of 2.5 billion dollars in taxes.

Considering the state’s role in mental and physical health care services, especially in helping cover the costs of services available to lower-income Montanans, what additional steps, if any, do you believe the Legislature should take to enhance health care access and promote Montanans’ health?

Government should be out of the free market. That is why it is called the "free market." Government should not partner with private health insurance companies because the merging of government and corporate powers, according to Benito Mussolini, is fascism. No additional steps should be taken by our state legislature until there can be a guarantee that our tax dollars are not being wasted. The private, free market should be protected and encouraged to offer competitive health insurance options to all socioeconomic classes in Montana. If any laws are to be passed to enhance health care access, it would be to protect individuals who use cost sharing health co ops (instead of insurance monopolies) from abuses.

Many education leaders are concerned that the state’s existing school funding formula isn’t keeping up with the costs of educating students. What proposals, if any, would you support to ensure adequate and sustainable long-term funding is available for public pre-K–12, college/university, and vocational education programs?

The state should not be raising our kids, period. I am a public school teacher and I can tell you from real world experience, throwing more money at our problems in education is not going to solve anything. We need a cultural shift in our country. We need to take ownership of our families (I have two boys, ages 3 and 1.5) and raise them to love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength, and to love their neighbors as themselves. We need to encourage active participation of school board elections and meetings, and we need to make sure that our tax dollars follow the child, no matter if that is to a public school, charter school, or homeschool. There does not need to be any increases in public school funding.

Steven Delisle (R)

Born in Redmond Washington 1981, age 43. Resides in Alberton Montana. Children's Dentist. Dental school graduate, dental anesthesiology residency, law school graduate. Cancer survivor. I have dental, medical, and legal education to help inform my decision making on legislation that improves the quality of lives for Montanans. I have survived cancer and personally experience the benefits and struggles dealing with insurance companies and how to improve coverage for Montanans.

What do you consider to be the most pressing issues facing Montana heading into the 2025 session and what legislation would you propose and/or support to address these issues?

Our property taxes are too high. I would propose legislation to decrease our property taxes. Many home owners are on fixed incomes and are struggling to pay taxes and remain in their homes.

Many Montanans are concerned about rising residential property taxes, which primarily fund local government services such as schools, counties and city/town programs but are calculated through a system set by the Legislature. What changes to the state tax system, if any, would you support to provide property tax relief while maintaining sufficient revenue for essential services?

I would propose the department of revenue returning to appraisals every 6 years instead of every 2 years. This would provide stability in rising valuations due to covid-era home sale spikes. I would propose also lowering the rate that residential property is taxed and make up the difference by increasing taxes on rental car and lodging which would get out of state tourists to pay more in taxes to help offset property taxes.

Considering the state’s role in mental and physical health care services, especially in helping cover the costs of services available to lower-income Montanans, what additional steps, if any, do you believe the Legislature should take to enhance health care access and promote Montanans’ health?

I believe we should re-evaluate medicaid eligibility requirements and make sure it is well funded and protected for those most vulnerable, especially the disabled. I have a patient with Down syndrome that lost her medicaid coverage and this should not happen in Montana.

Many education leaders are concerned that the state’s existing school funding formula isn’t keeping up with the costs of educating students. What proposals, if any, would you support to ensure adequate and sustainable long-term funding is available for public pre-K–12, college/university, and vocational education programs?

The budget needs to be scrutinized to identify areas of waste. I believe we need to pay our teachers well to retain good teachers. The larger the government system, the larger the waste. I can personally attest to this in the medicaid system. Both the Medicaid and education are larger portions of our state budget and there is room for eliminating wasteful spending.