Dear Montana U.S. Senate 2020 Democratic Primary Candidates,
The role of our U.S. Senators is very important to all of us living in Montana and the United States. There are very real and important consequences when somebody who is not qualified, or more interested in a political agenda rather than the interest of hard-working Montana families, serves in this critical office.
Our 100 U.S. Senators are a bedrock of democracy of the United States of America. When upholding the oath of office, they provide a crucial check and balance to the Executive and Judicial branches of government. They are responsible for vigorous oversight regarding nominees for important governmental leadership roles, from the Cabinet to the U.S. Supreme Court. They decide whether or not to ratify treaties with other nations and help shape agreements from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Agreement to the Paris Climate Accords to the Iranian Nuclear Deal. U.S. Senators can create legislation to promote education expansion, access to affordable high-quality healthcare, environmental protection and job creation.
That is, if they do their job well. U.S. Senator Steve Daines has proven that he is not up to the task, using Montana’s U.S. Senate seat to undermine the integrity of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, create billions of dollars of loopholes for multi-national corporations and lobbyists, undermines our public schools and works to walk back protection for women, minorities and children.
We Montanans deserve so much better than Senator Daines. The core of my candidacy to serve as Montana’s next U.S. Senator is based on my strong heritage in living throughout Montana – not just the wealthy places; my many years of service to our country; and my dedication to put my experience and education to put this seat in the U.S. Senate to work for all Montanans.
My U.S. Senate candidacy marks the first time a Democrat running for federal office in Montana has served in a combat zone in several decades. I am the first Democrat who is an honors service academy graduate (U.S. Naval Academy running in Montana. We Montanans are proud that one of every 10 Montanans is a veteran – one of the highest rates of military service in America – suggesting that the U.S. Senate race in Montana may be particularly competitive in 2020.
I am a 4th generation Montanan, U.S. Senate candidate in this race with agricultural experience. As well, I am the only Montana public school teacher; the only to have worked on clean, renewable energy projects; the only to have lived in rural Montana, including Eastern, Central, and Western Montana; the only to have been entrusted with a Top Secret/SCI clearance and missions critical to our nation’s security; the only to have been entrusted with maximizing the value of multi-billion dollar private sector projects; the only to have worked full-time on one of Montana’s Indian reservations; and, the only to have been entrusted with the lives of hundreds of people.
Yet, with the millions of dollars of multi-national, extractive industry and corporate PAC money fueling Senator Daines and his candidacy, I am worried by all of our chances to communicate a clear message of change to voters. As candidates, we are all hosting meetings and reaching out to the people of Montana. While I do not intend to be critical of you or myself for doing so, I do not believe that is enough.
All Montanans need to get to know the U.S. Senate candidates in the Democratic primary. After all, it is essential to our communities, state, and nation that the best opponent is selected in order to face off against Senator Daines, the Republican incumbent, in the general election.
How do we fix this? I propose a robust series of debates throughout the State of Montana, scheduled in a manner that provides access to all voters and to reporters, producers and editors of Montanan news organizations. Doing so will provide a stark contrast to Senator Daines, who refuses to have open town halls and public meetings to answer questions and afford citizens the opportunity to be heard.
Currently, only one Democratic U.S. Senate candidate debate is set: Friday, February, 21, 2020, in Bozeman. While other events are being planned, we need significantly more opportunities to let Montanans throughout the state know who we are, who is the most qualified, what our positions are, and who is most electable in a general election.
Going forward, I suggest that we join for 13 debates during the first months of the 2020 primary election timeframe, with an additional number of debates taking place before Election Day, Tuesday, June 4, 2020.
Here is a proposed U.S. Senate Democratic candidate debate schedule for the first quarter of 2020. Together, these would provide 14 unique opportunities for people across the state, in communities large and small, to hear directly from us:
- Third week of January, 2020 – Billings / Lame Deer / Colstrip / Miles City
- First week of February 2020 – Butte / Missoula / Philipsburg
- Third week of February 2020 — Great Falls / Havre / Bozeman (Friday, February 21, 2020) / Helena
- Second week of March, 2020 – Kalispell / Browning / Whitefish
By no means does this suggested schedule cover the entirety of the people and cultures of our great State of Montana. It is a strong beginning that will ensure that the voters of Montana – not just donors or party elites – have access to evaluate the candidates who are working hard to defeat U.S. Senator Steve Daines. Of course, we are all making personal and professional sacrifices in order to put forth viable campaigns. While this is not easy, it is certainly worth it for the future of Montana and our great communities and people.
I will reach out to you individually to lock in the specifics of each suggested date, seeking to schedule the events in places and at times that make it easy for people to attend and for members of Montanan’s news organizations to cover the events.
Thank you very much, sincerely,
U.S. Senate Candidate, Montana 2020
CC: Cora Neumann, Wilmot Collins, Michael Knoles (delivered electronically)