By HDN staff
Lt. Gov. Judy Martz and her running mate House Majority Whip Karl Ohs chose The Atrium Mall in Havre Wednesday and other sites around the state to announce their J.O.B.S. plan to state residents. J.O.B.S. is an acronym for Jobs and Opportunities for a Better State.
Martz said, "There is no larger issue facing Montana than that of job generation and economic growth, and the responsibility needs to lay directly on the governor, and in my administration, it will." She advised her listeners that no one is proud of the fact that Montana is at the bottom of per capita income and first in residents who hold multiple jobs to make ends meet.
If you agree with their economic development and jobs plan or not, you have to admire their courage. We also believe that generating new and higher-paying jobs must be the number one issue in this campaign. Martz and Ohs knew unveiling their 27-point proposal would open themselves to scrutiny from fellow Republicans and Democrats.
In an interview with the Missoulian, opposing Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Natelson quickly dismissed the plan as mostly unkept promises made by Gov. Racicot and Martz four years ago. He said most of her proposals were very "government-oriented" economic development ideas that have failed to produce jobs. Natelson said his plan would "provide a good business environment, a good education system, and other necessary services, but let the private sector grow."
No matter which one you agree with, we think all of the gubernatorial candidates should unveil specific plans for economic development. Montanans deserve open disclosure of how our next governor will tackle all the issues facing our state.
We applaud Judy Martz and Karl Ohs for recognizing that in the 21st century there is no greater issue facing Montana than economic development. We hope the rest of the gubernatorial candidates have the guts to come forward with their own plans.