I am often asked “why run for office given the present political environment of distrust, misrepresentation, and personal attacks?”
The simple answer is that I care about working families and the legacy we leave our children. I care about having better jobs and better education. I care about using our public lands for the benefit of all and developing our resources without harming our environment. I also care about the future of our country and believe the failure of partisan politics has put our nation and our state at risk.
First, how do we create better jobs and move Montana from 47th in per capital income to one of the top 10? The chairman of Oasis Oil, a five-year-old multi-billion-dollar company operating in North Dakota, puts it this way: “It’s not just about one specific tax, it’s about the margin.” To prosper, we need to do more than just eliminate the equipment tax or reduce workers compensation rates, we need to think big and form a bipartisan task force with a mission. Let’s examine every piece of job-killing regulation and cut red tape in half within two years. A predictable regulatory business climate that promotes investment in energy, technology and infrastructure is critical to our economic growth. Only sweeping changes in policy can create the type of economic Juggernaut that will promote jobs, protect our legacy and deliver prosperity.
Too tough? No. If Gov. Christie can cut through the bureaucracy in a state like New Jersey, we can do it here.
Second, how do we foster an education system that delivers excellence in a global economy? The answer is to invigorate innovation and technology in the classroom, provide local school choice and ensure we value results, speed and flexibility over process and bureaucracy. While Montana’s schools generally out-perform the national average in most areas, we face a $3.6 billion pension deficit and rank among the lowest in terms of both teacher salary and choice. When the president of Montana Rifle Company states that over half of his job applicants do not have a high school diploma, we have a problem. As the former executive officer of the Navy’s premier training command and the chairman of the Montana Senate Education Committee, I am committed to the challenge of delivering a model education for the jobs of the future.
Finally, how do we restore faith in our government? We must demand transparency in government spending and activity, and we must ensure that our government has the same standard of justice and service for the influential as well as the destitute. Our government must be the advocate for all, not just those with access or privilege. And, we must root out corruption and special interest at every level. Integrity and example must start at the top. As your lieutenant governor, I pledge to work tirelessly to eliminate corruption and will give no quarter to those who profit from dishonesty.
If you believe our state is heading in the right direction and are satisfied with being near the bottom, then Neil Livingstone and I are not your candidates for governor and lieutenant governor. “Business and politics as usual” and recycled politicians who failed to act when they had the chance will not rekindle our democracy. Our platform is business and we are both deeply honored to be blue collar Republicans. We have proven ourselves in service to our country and possess the leadership necessary to create and win a common sense revolution. Our resumes are on line at Neil@2012.com
God bless America and the great state of Montana.
(Ryan Zinke is a Republican state senator and a candidate for lieutenant governor on a ticket headed by Neil Livingstone.)