Issues

Issues that are Important for Montana House District 3:

Affordable Housing and Fair Taxation

These two issues are interrelated.

Many people have had to move from House District 3 because they were unable to afford reasonable housing.  Some of us were fortunate enough to purchase a home before the housing boom driven by second homes and high-end housing.  As the value of our property has increased, many of us are unable to afford the current property taxes. The Legislature, although warned of this crisis, failed to act in 2023 and our property taxes have increased by about 20%.

Not only do our educators and other workers find it increasingly difficult to find affordable housing, but because of the increased tax burden, homeowners are less likely to vote for school bonds leaving our schools with less resources while we are paying more just to live here.

We have come a long way from when the Montana tax system was based on the ability to pay.  Large corporations are paying less while the rest of us are paying more.  As a legislator, I will work for a more equitable tax structure based on the ability to pay. Moreover, I will work hard for property tax relief.

In addition to tax reform, we need to find workable solutions for affordable housing.  Allowing local governments to impose reasonable restrictions on short-term rentals could help make more housing available for people working in our communities to be able to live here.

As a Legislator, I will be an advocate for affordability and fairness.

Quality Public Education

Whitefish usually supports school levies.  However, our schools should not have to rely on levies.  The Legislature should ensure that we have quality public education for the young people of Montana.  The Montana Constitution reads: “It is the goal of the people to establish a system of education which will develop the full educational potential of each person. Equality of educational opportunity is guaranteed to each person of the state.”

When we tether local property taxes and annual school bonds to achieve this, we jeopardize this right.  The result is crowded classrooms, underpaid teachers and staff, and inadequate buildings.  We must change this.  The Legislature needs to allocate enough money for quality public education.

As a Legislator, I will be a champion for quality public education and funding it adequately.

Keeping Public Lands in Public Hands

93% of House District 3 is public land.  These lands belong to all of us and enhance our quality of life by providing opportunities for hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, river floating, and wildlife viewing.  In addition, outdoor recreation is a strong economic driver in House District 3.

I have been an outspoken proponent of keeping public lands in public hands through my leadership on the boards of several conservation organizations.  I participated in the collaborative work of the Whitefish Range Partnership which brought together diverse stakeholders (logging interests, snowmobilers, mountain bikers, wilderness advocates, and local landowners) and reached consensus on a plan for the Flathead Forest.  Most of this proposal became part of the Flathead Forest Plan, including the protection of the wildest lands in the northern Whitefish Range.

In addition, I work as a Volunteer Backcountry Ranger in Glacier National Park and as a Fire Lookout in the Flathead National Forest. I know our public lands first-hand.

As a Legislator, I will continue to be an unapologetic champion for your public lands.

Clean & Healthful Environment

Our right to a clean and healthful environment is guaranteed by the Montana Constitution.  This includes the right to a stable climate, which our children successfully advocated for through the courts in Held vs Montana. Although we appreciate our young people for fighting for this right, it should be the Legislature who leads the way on ensuring this Constitutional right for this and future generations.  Our Legislature has an abysmal record of lowering water quality standards, as well as support for the fossil fuel industry that is exacerbating the climate crisis.  This must change.

As a legislator, I will support our Constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment.

Women’s Right of Choice

All over our country, people are rising up to demand that women have the right to make decisions regarding their own healthcare and whether or not to become a parent.  The right to privacy is guaranteed by the Montana Constitution and this includes the right to make personal decisions about one’s body.

As a legislator, I will stand against any attempt to take this right away from Montanans.

Protection of Our Democracy

To maintain civil society in our democracy, we must have certain basic structures in place: fair elections, an independent judiciary, the right of citizens to participate in governmental decisions, and the right of local communities to decide what kind of community they want to have, including growth management.  The current Legislature has tried to undermine these basic democratic structures.

As a Legislator, I will stand strong against any attempts to decrease the effectiveness of our democracy.

At Home in House District 3

Importantly, I live, work, recreate, and pay property taxes in House District 3.  I have a long record of community involvement in House District 3, including serving as the Representative for HD3 in the Montana Legislature in 2019-2020.  I know this district, its people, and its public lands and I am committed to serving it well in the Legislature.