Tim Leeds Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Republican Wendy Warburton of Havre said her long-time roots in north-central Montana will let her represent the voters in House District 34 well if she wins in the general election on Nov. 4. “My unique background has provided me with a broad range of experience to draw from as a legislator for the benefit of north-central Montana,” she said, adding that she has family members in the area working in industries ranging from agriculture to the railroad. “I have a personal stake in making sure that the Hi-Line prospers.” Warburton faces Democrat Perry Miller in the general election for the district, which covers northeastern Hill County and northern Blaine County. Incumbent Rep. John Musgrove, D-Havre, cannot run for re-election due to term limits. Warburton, a fourth-generation Montana rancher, was raised on the family operation south of Chinook, which she is still actively involved with. She attended Zurich Elementary School and graduated from Chinook High School in 1994 as a National Merit Scholarship Finalist. She graduated with honors from Liberty University, a Christian college in Virginia, in 1998. Since then, Warburton has worked in a variety of jobs including a small college she compares to Montana State University- Northern in scope and in nonprofit and political fields including the re-election campaign of Sen. Conrad Burns in 2006. Burns lost that election in a close race to Big Sandy farmer Jon Tester. Warburton has endorsements from several groups and individuals, including Burns, U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., the National Rifle Association, the Montana Shooting Sports Association, the Montana Right to Life Political Action Committee and the Montana Agricultural Political Action Committee. Warburton said her talking to people in the district during her campaign has strengthened her stance on issues. One example is property taxes, she said. She has campaigned from the start on reducing those taxes. That is reinforced when she hears stories like a local resident who is having to sell her home now that her spouse has died and she can no longer afford the taxes, Warburton said. “She has to sell and move away,” Warburton said. “That property taxes do this to Montana seniors or Montanans of any age is morally wrong and needs to be changed.” She added that she is committed to protecting all property rights, and opposes any government activity that erode those rights, listing issues like creation of national monuments and the creation of roadless areas as examples. “I’ll also stand up against roadless initiatives or similar radical environmentalist proposals that make it more difficult for citizens as well as firefighters to access public land,” Warburton said. “And, on that note, I will do what I can to help restore common- sense timber production in Montana,” she added. “Let’s allow the dead trees to be removed by logging companies rather than fueling massive, dangerous, incredibly expensive, and highly polluting forest fires.” Warburton said she also supports increasing development of Montana’s energy resources, including traditional and alternative energy. “Our state has the potential to become a real energy powerhouse,” she said. “I am very interested in doing all that I can to help alternative fuels from biofuels to wind, solar, and other alternatives get up and running in Montana.” Warburton said that has the potential to significantly help the agricultural industry as well as the energy industry. But it will take years for that to significantly reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil, she added, and she wants to continue to develop the state’s resources in coal, petroleum and natural gas. “Additionally, the petroleum industry brings several billions of dollars into our state each year, and that industry is one major reason for our state’s budget surplus,” she added. She said working with those resources will help with another of her campaign issues, improving the business climate and the education system in the state. “Sadly, I see our state exporting its greatest resource our young people,” Warburton said. “And once they leave, many find it hard to come back home, make a living, and raise a family in Montana.” She said she wants to see Montana pursue a system similar to what is used in Wyoming, encouraging the development of coal and other natural resources. That would allow Montana to put more money into the education system without having to raise taxes, she said. Improving the education system also makes the state more attractive to businesses coming into the state, while at the same time providing more opportunities for the youth of Montana, Warburton said. She credits her quality education in the Blaine County schools with giving her the opportunity to receive her degree from Liberty University. “I’d love to see many more young Montanans have opportunities like that,” she said. “I will be a strong advocate for keeping Montana’s rural schools open and doing all that I can to help them flourish.” Warburton is campaigning on several other issues as well, including her strong opposition to gun control. “I see well-funded anti-gun forces working hard to chip away gun rights in many states, including our own, and I will stand against that,” she said. “Not only do I strongly support gun rights for hunting, but even more importantly, I strongly support people’s right to defend themselves, their families, and their property.” Warburton also said she supports the traditional family and traditional family values. “I am endorsed by the Montana Right to Life and I am not afraid to stand against abortion, particularly abortion used as birth control,” she said. “I’ll also stand up for one-man, onewoman marriage.” Her background in agriculture will also help her work for that sector of the state’s industry, Warburton said, using her research and personal experience in the effort to rehabilitate the St. Mary Diversion which supplies much of the water in the Milk River each year as an example.