By HDN staff
This isn't about state democrats or republicans, their divided views or separate stances. Rather, its about the antiquated notion that our state's future still depends on resource extraction, and the false belief that only by doing so will we advance over the next 100 years.
At the recent Five Valleys Pachyderm Meeting in Missoula, Lt. Governor Judy Martz promoted herself as the most "business savvy" candidate the republican party has to offer in Montana's upcoming governor's race. And though that's a matter for voters to decide, what's troublesome about this little tidbit, is that this "business savvy" candidate, like many Montanans, still believes that resource extraction is our key to the future.
As nice as this may be, it seems largely misguided, as resource-based giants like the Anaconda Company and the ARCO of yesteryear no longer exist. Resource extraction, although it's still necessary, cannot be the guiding light for an economic and viable future in Montana. Instead, it's time for our political leaders to start building a new Montana, not rehashing the old.
What the new Montana will contain can be debated, but one thing is likely: The new Montana, now known as "Big Sky Country," will be a place that moves away from its dependence on resource extraction, and it's old name, "The Treasure State." And instead of holding on to the nostalgic past, where the state's resources provided the "richest hill on earth," among other grand extractions, we and our governing body should turn our attention to the future, where technology will prove paramount. Efforts to introduce and build new industries with a technology-base today will offer rewards for the future. However, continuing to put our efforts into a resource-based industry will do little to advance the state. Instead, as the rest of the nation moves down the new road, Montana will be left in the dark ages of the 20th century.
On a good note, voters will have the chance to decide: Will we elect politicians who want to dust off the good days of yesteryear, or will we elect those who will invest in the future by developing new ideas.