Franke Wilmer for Senate District 32 Latest Campaign News & Updates
Vito Quatraro, Franke's Campaign Treasurer, Stands Up for Public Lands and Access
The political climate in this country has become so polarized that the average person is being forced to into choosing sides within their own political parties. We have politicians that are no longer looking for solutions but instead looking for a fight. A prime example is the recent decision by the Montana Republican Party to approve a resolution asking that the federal government turn over all federally managed public lands within Montana to the State of Montana. The Resolution does not address how the State would pay for fire suppression, weed control, road maintenance etc. on the new 31 million acres that would come under state control. Where will this money come from? It seems ironic to on one hand claim to want to reduce spending then advocate taking over a very expensive program.
How is it that for years the Montana Republican Party Platform has call for "no net gain" in state land ownership but now they want to add 31 million acres? Which 31 million acres of state land are they going to sell off so as not to increase state land ownership?
Is the Republican Party willing to guarantee that this land can never be sold and that the public will have access in perpetuity to these acquired federal lands? Lacking that guarantee, let's look at the impacts to the public. How many Montanans hunt, fish, hike, ski, bike, camp, rock climb, bird watch, mushroom gather, and cut firewood on this 31 million acres of federally managed public lands in Montana? What happens to the people of Montana when the state has to sell or lease the lands to private entities who then close off access? Where are Montanans and out of state tourists supposed to recreate as this land is sold or leased to private entities?
We already have problems properly managing our wildlife resources with the diverse land ownership makeup of Montana. As these lands are sold or leased to private entities, what is to become of the 200,000 Montana resident hunters? How about the non-residents who come to Montana to hunt on public land? Do we just sell our wildlife to the highest bidder like Europe or Texas?
What happens to our beautiful mountains when they are in private ownership and massive mining and timber harvests take place? What happens to our wildlife resources? What happens to our quality of life. Montanans live here not because of the money but because of all the activities and beauty Montana has to offer. Why do you think so many tech companies are moving their operations here? For those who proclaim the positive financial aspects of this resolution, we would ask at what cost? Have they considered the income loss from tourism and non-resident hunters?
I read in the Resolution that Montana could do a better job of managing the forests and timber harvest. As long as the lands are in State ownership they will face the same lawsuits that the Feds face virtually every time they try to do a timber sale. Only when the property goes into private ownership does the regulatory process become much less stringent.
Has the Republican Party talked to the cattle industry about this proposal? Currently the federal government charges under $2 per AUM for grazing on federal lands while Montana currently charges close to $10 per AUM for grazing on State lands. Will cattle producers support having their grazing fees rise by a factor of 5?
Why is the Republican Party forcing Republican voters to choose between supporting the party and doing what is best for the Montana resident. This Resolution will only widen the division between parties and individuals within parties. The long term impacts and unintended consequences of this Resolution, whether it goes anywhere or not, could be substantial for everyone involved.
Montana Sportsmen Alliance would like take this opportunity to thank Republican Representatives Pat Connell and Steve Gibson for their public opposition to this Resolution, both at the Republican Convention and in the press. We realize how hard it is to be a minority within your own party and stand up in an attempt to do the right thing for the majority of the people of Montana, who according to a recent poll, oppose the land takeover by the State of Montana. Representatives Connell and Gibson need to be recognized for their efforts.
So now it is up to the voters of Montana, both Republican and Democrats, to decide the future of Montanas pristine beauty, abundant wildlife resources and currently impressive recreational opportunities. Will the voters stand up and be heard on this issue or will they just sit on the sidelines, only to complain later as the Montana heritage is lost.
Montana Sportsmen Alliance Leadership Group
John Borgreen-Great Falls
JW Westman-Park City
Franke has been endorsed by the Montana Sportsman Alliance
EMILY's List and CAROL's List Endorse Franke Wilmer for Senate District 32
WASHINGTON, D.C. and HELENA, MT EMILY's List, the nation's largest resource for women in politics, has endorsed Franke Wilmer for Senate District 32, which spans the area from MSU west on College St. and Huffine Lane to Four Corners, down into the canyon including Gallatin Gateway, Big Sky, and West Yellowstone. Earlier, Wilmer was endorsed by the newly formed Carol's List -- a Montana organization that supports women in politics, named after Senator Carol Williams who served 8 years in the Montana state senate was both majority and minority leader during that time.
"Franke Wilmer has strong roots in Montana and a history of standing up for her community," said Denise Feriozzi, EMILY's List Political Director. "Franke is a fierce advocate for women, the environment, and bringing jobs to hardworking Montana families. The EMILY's List community now more than three million members strong is excited to support her candidacy."
Franke Wilmer has lived in Bozeman and taught at MSU for 20 years, where she is a full professor. She was one of the founding members of the Gallatin Valley Human Rights Task Force. From 2001-2005, she served as Department Head in Political Science and from 2005-2007, she Chaired the Montana Human Rights Commission.
In 2006, she ran for and won a seat in the Montana House of Representatives. She ran and won again in 2008, 2010 and 2012. She has served as Speaker Pro Tempore in the 2011 session, on the Environmental Quality Council, the Governor's Financial Capital Advisory Council, and as legislative liaison to the Montana Board of Investments. She has served four terms on the State Administration and Veterans Affairs and House Education Committees. She was named "Legislator of the Year" by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Montana Chapter, in 2011. In the 2013 session, she was vice-chair of House Fish, Wildlife and Parks committee. All of the bills Franke has passed have had bipartisan support in both houses.