Tim MacDonald Havre Daily News email@example.com
The two contending candidates for a seat in the state House of Representatives have one thing in common, neither of them wants to see government divided by partisanship. “I believe in progress, not in partisanship,” Republican candidate Terry Schend said. Democratic incumbent Bob Bergren mirrored this idea. “I try not to be partisan,” Bergren said. “If I believe a thing is a good bill, then I vote for that bill,” he said. One of the main catching points between the two is the environment. Schend tends to favor the Republican Party line, which leans toward development of natural resources, while Bergren feels that looking out for the environment benefits area farmers and ranchers. “On one hand, I have always supported natural resources development,” Bergren said. “I fully support renewable energy such as the bio-diesel plant and the proposed ethanol plant. I agree with our governor about the coal to fuel program and I support extraction of oil and natural gas as long as it is done in a responsible manner.” “I also stand for the stewards of our land, the farmers and ranchers who will still be here long after the oil and gas is gone,” he added. “Caring for the land is also a priority.” “I believe we have to make development of our natural resources a priority to be economically viable,” Schend said. “You only need to look at the economic growth to the north, east and south of us to see what we have missed. Those places are thriving.” Schend also favored development of bio fuels and lubricants, and the planned plants for the Havre area, and hopes it will revive some of the smaller rural communities in the area. “These used to be lively viable communities,” Schend said. “It may be a sign of the times, but I believe that putting some of this land back in production (through bio-energy) will bring some of these towns back to life.”
The candidates also disagreed on how to fund education. Schend believes that the system is inefficient and that funding is archaic, while Bergren believes that the Republican call for tax relief is a smoke screen that simply moves the financial burden from one place to another, and favors big business interests as opposed to landowners and small businessmen. “Education needs to take a look at waste,”Schend said. “I think they have developed an inefficient system and have gotten sued to it, I think it is time for this to change.” Bergren wanted to make it a priority to keep professionally trained Montanans in Montana. “I would like to see some debt relief for graduates who stay in Montana,” he said. “We need people like nurses, physical therapists, dentists and teachers who are willing to stay here in Montana.” Health care has also become a state issue. “We are going to see more and more cutbacks in federal health services as they start to deal with the federal deficit, and more and more of this is going to fall to the states,” Bergren said. “There is national legislation going through that will make it easier for groups and organizations to design their own health insurance programs,” Schend said. “I also think if we can reduce education taxes we can use a lot of those dollars to improve our state health care system.” Both men say they have the Hi-Line area needs as their first priority. “My opponent says I don’t have an agenda,” Bergren said. “I believe I do, that is to further the growth and economic development of Hill County.” “I believe I am the candidate who will take the steps necessary to benefit Montana, especially northern Montana,” Schend said.