Billings Gazette
Democrat John Mues joins U.S. Senate race

John Mues, a Navy veteran and engineer who works in the energy field, announced Thursday he’s running for U.S. Senate in 2020.

Mues is the second Democrat to join the race to run against incumbent U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, a Republican who is seeking his second term. Wilmot Collins, who has been mayor of Helena since the start of 2018, is also running in the Democratic primary. No Republicans have said they’ll challenge Daines.

In launching his campaign, Mues, a fourth-generation Montanan, put Daines clearly in his sights, saying he is determined the incumbent won’t go without a serious challenger in 2020.

“I’m running for U.S. Senate because I love my home state of Montana. I love my country. I have the qualifications to make a major positive difference in the lives of all Montanans, not just the economically elite,” Mues said this week. “And Sen. Daines in my opinion, is the worst senator in my lifetime and unfit to hold public office based on his voting record and his values, which are not in sync with Montana.”

Mues said one of his primary issues if elected would be preserving and improving the Affordable Care Act. If elected, one of the first things he’d want to do is no longer allow short-term health care plans. In 2018 the Trump administration extended the amount of time for which such plans — which do not have to comply with ACA requirements such as guaranteed coverage of pre-existing conditions — could be offered.

Education is another focus for Mues. He called for increasing options for vocational education, as well as more funding and better teacher pay for K-12 educators.

“I believe education is at the root of everything. In Montana, we have so many mechanically and electrically inclined students on farms and ranches in the small towns like I grew up in. What an incredible competitive advantage for Montana if we can train these kids at the next level,” Mues said. “If we get education right, so many other things fall into place.”

Mues served in the U.S. Navy for seven years as an active duty nuclear submarine officer. While in the Navy, he participated in the Troops-to-Teachers program and earned a teaching certificate at Montana State University. He then taught for two years on the Fort Belknap Reservation.

After that, he earned a master’s degree in business administration from the London Business School, and now works as a senior engineer in the energy sector. He and his wife live near Loma and are expecting their first child this year.

Mues said his experience working as an engineer on everything from zero-emission fuel cells and wind and solar projects, to oil and gas and nuclear power, puts him in a position to address climate change if he’s elected.

“We are 30 years behind where we should be in terms of technologies that could radically reduce emissions in traditional energy,” Mues said.

In an interview this week, Mues was critical of Daines’ votes on several issues, as well as the Republican senator’s allegiance to President Donald Trump. It’s a departure from the approach U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat who won reelection in 2018, took in highlighting the times Trump signed Tester’s legislation, even as Trump came to the state four times to campaign for his opponent.

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Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Democrat John Mues launches campaign for U.S. Senate

A second Democrat has entered Montana’s 2020 U.S. Senate race. John Mues, an engineer and military veteran from Loma, told the Chronicle Wednesday that he’s running on a platform that emphasizes creating high-paying jobs in the state, investing in education and tackling climate change.

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The Mountain Standard
Op-Ed: Anaconda, MT Job Corps

While stationed overseas as a naval officer, I became close friends with a local family. They loved America, loved what it represented in terms of opportunity and justice for all, and, in turn, they loved Americans. Because I was their neighbor, because, perhaps, I diligently (though not entirely successfully) tried to learn their language and communicate with them — except for their son, no one in the family spoke English — and, frankly, because I was an American, they loved me. Fifteen years later, we remain close.

As a fourth-generation Montanan who was raised in a single-parent household in Deer Lodge, among other Montana towns, just down the road from Anaconda, the fate of the Anaconda Job Corps was of deep concern to me. And, as a former high school math and English teacher in an underserved community in Montana, I understood how critical the Job Corps is to providing real training and economic opportunity to people and communities in need.

If anything, the Job Corps footprint and other vetted programs that help struggling communities should be strengthened and expanded. After all, we are in an age of unprecedented economic inequality, in an age where — based on the data — the American Dream and socioeconomic mobility are now less vibrant and alive in our own country than they are in other modern nations. It doesn’t have to be that way, and the way out starts with extending and strengthening vehicles of opportunity for all folks.

Let’s take a step back here, and return to that family overseas during my days in the military to whom I had become close. Their English-speaking son, one day, had had his wallet stolen by several large bullies. The next day, they came up to him and handed back his wallet, which had been, of course, emptied. Then one of the bullies said to the boy, “What do you say?” The boy was confused. “What do you say to someone who returns your lost wallet to you?” “Thank you?” the boy said. “That’s right,” the bully replied, smirking. “Thank you.”

I couldn’t help thinking of this story when media reported that Senator Daines had saved the Anaconda Job Corps vis-à-vis a personal discussion with President Trump.

Senator Daines, in nearly a decade in Washington, D.C., has voted countless times to take affordable health care away from countless Montanans and Americans, in hopes of ever so slightly lowering the tax rate of his major donors. He has voted to destroy what little health care we have by inserting “short-term plans” into the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace, the equivalent of rolling a grenade with pinned pulled into a crowd; in each case, lives will be lost. He has voted to blow a multi-trillion-dollar hole through the nation’s pocketbook — not during a time of deep economic recession but rather late in the business cycle when it makes the least macroeconomic sense — therefore burdening generations of Montanan and American taxpayers. He has voted to exacerbate economic inequality, already at unprecedented, democracy-testing levels, by extending large tax breaks to cash-laden billionaires and multinational corporations — again, his donors.

He has voted to transfer money from U.S. taxpayers to the pockets of foreign investors. He has stood by, weakly and complicitly, as an erratic president sides with murderous dictators over the U.S. intelligence community – with which I once worked to target illicit global WMD programs and terrorist cells – and provokes trade wars impacting Montana’s agricultural community and small businesses with no real end game and having broken the international alliances America needs to effectively stand up to China. He has voted to place individuals with deep conflicts of interest — those who have been historically hostile towards public education, affordable health care, quality senior citizen and veteran care, and renewable, clean energy — into critical governmental roles.

But, thank you, Senator Daines, for your efforts in saving the Anaconda Job Corps.

John Mues

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Montana Standard
Guest view: Some perspective on ‘saving’ Job Corps

While stationed overseas as a naval officer, I became close friends with a local family. They loved America, loved what it represented in terms of opportunity and justice for all, and, in turn, they loved Americans. Because I was their neighbor, because, perhaps, I diligently (though not entirely successfully) tried to learn their language and communicate with them — except for their son, no one in the family spoke English — and, frankly, because I was an American, they loved me. Fifteen years later, we remain close.

Read More →