Thursday, May 23, 2024

Dark money interests: May 8 letters to the editor

| May 8, 2024 2:00 AM

Dark-money interests

My great-great grandpa took the train from Kentucky to Whitefish in 1914, and we’ve been in Western Montana ever since. Our family is made of schoolteachers, railroaders and lumber workers, and we always loved Montana because of its quiet beauty and its friendly people. But now those neighbors and us can barely afford to live here anymore.

I am so tired of Republican multimillionaires moving here from out of state, buying 5 mansions on Flathead and in Big Sky, then getting elected and saying “trust me - I care about lowering your housing prices!” I am talking about Jersey Gianforte and Transplant Tim Sheehy. These guys have raised our property taxes and housing prices through the roof, and now they want to sell public lands to the highest bidder. They make money off slowly kicking us out of Montana.

Jon Tester, Ryan Busse and Monica Tranel are fighting to actually save our state from these powerful dark-money interests. Montana Democrats have lowered taxes for working families, protected our public lands, and fought for more affordable healthcare. If you want your children to afford Montana, I hope you join me in supporting Tester, Busse and Tranel this November.

— Rex Koenig, Whitefish

Educational potential: Vote for Shannon O’Brien for Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction

Coming from a family where no one could afford to attend college, my parents worked hard and instilled a strong desire in their children to seek an education. I was the first to attend college in our family and treasured the opportunity.

Some Montanans have excellent public educational opportunities from preschool through college. The Montana state constitution even carries a mandate to develop the full educational potential of each citizen. We see this in action with Bozeman, Kalispell, Glacier and Whitefish high schools ranking top three in the state. Unfortunately, these schools still rank well below national standards. Our report card from Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA 2022-23) showed more than half of Montana students lack proficiency in math, reading and science.

As Montana voters, we have the privilege and responsibility to elect a candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction who will strive to improve competency in our children and work diligently to correct inadequate funding of public education. We need more teachers and higher salaries, but shortfalls this year required reduction in staffing and teacher hiring. 

Shannon O’Brien is running for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Her broad background in education from K-12 to college, and as Dean of Missoula College, provides a solid basis of competency for this position. In addition, she was Governor Bullock’s education policy advisor, and is now a state senator fighting for public schools. Her exemplary skills provide a foundation for the Superintendent position that far out-weigh those of the Republican candidates in the coming Primary.

Vote for the children. Vote for Shannon O’Brien for a strong Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

— Betty Kuffel, Whitefish 

Keep our Skatepark Clean

Congratulations on the skateboard park expansion, yet another great addition to Whitefish recreation. I walk by frequently and I encourage you to do the same; however, I am often dismayed at the garbage.  There are four trash containers around this small area. If you know a boarder, encourage them to 'keep it clean' and respect these opportunities made available to us.

Marjorie Wilson, Whitefish 

Wasting time with logos

The National Park service has filed a lawsuit against the Glacier Range Riders regarding their arrowhead emblem for their team. My goodness, don't they have anything better to do than pursuing this? What a waste of our tax dollars. I am so proud of representative Ryan Zinke for what he is doing on this issue. Can we please do something to ignite a fire under the Department of the Interior or at least get people involved so they'll do something to stop this waste of time and money?

David Clasen, Whitefish

Debo Powers a clear choice for HD 3

Montana needs state legislators who represent all of us. Debo Powers is that candidate. I have known Debo for over 20 years and served in various capacities with her in local and regional organizations. Debo has been a full-time resident of HD 3 for many years and as such is uniquely qualified to serve as our representative in the Montana Legislature.

Her proven track record includes helping to build consensus among multiple interest groups as a member of the successful Whitefish Range Partnership, demonstrating her ability to develop consensus between polarized points of view. As a professional educator and ultimately a school principal she knows how to listen deeply and lead with compassion and vision. Raised in a military family, she understands, first hand, the challenges our veterans face.

Debo is a steadfast and ardent defender of public lands. She is resourceful, positive, and a problem solver; no one will work harder to see that all Montanans are represented clearly and truthfully. Her ability to work across the aisle and build consensus will be very effective in getting legislative work completed. I strongly urge you to vote Debo as the representative for HD 3; she will make us proud and serve us tirelessly.

Suzanne Daniell Hildner, Whitefish 

Beware Medicare spamming phone calls

I want to warm locals to a large, current and ongoing phone scam.

The caller identifies themselves as "...calling from Medicare in order to update your information so that you can receive the new Medicare card..." 

To anyone who receives a call from either Medicare or Social Security, please know these government agencies will NEVER call anyone directly; the only way they will speak with you over the phone is if YOU initiate the call. 

I was contacted by phone by a very nice person who wanted only to scam my personal information in order to contribute to theft and fraud. 

And for anyone who happens to fall for this: the process to report and protect your privacy is immense and time consuming. 

For all my friends and neighbors in Whitefish who are on Medicare please do this: Hang Up.


— Maureen Cleary, Whitefish