By Ron VandenBoom
Rob Natelson, Republican candidate for governor, and his running-mate, Tom Keating, with his wife Luke, will be in Havre Friday, March 17, to kick-off a five-day campaign tour through eastern and central Montana.
He will use the occasion to speak at the North Montana Pachyderm Club during a no-host luncheon at noon in the meeting room at 15 West.
Natelson is running against fellow Republican candidate Lt. Gov. Judy Martz.
Lee Tracy, appointment scheduler for Natelson, said Tuesday that Natelson will stop in Helena to officially file for the nomination of his party before traveling to Great Falls for an evening speaking engagement.
He will then come to Havre for the Friday meeting where Tracy said he will officially launch the five-day tour.
Some of the communities Natelson expects to visit during his jaunt through the eastern part of the state include Glasgow, Scobey, Plentywood, Sidney, Glendive, Miles City, Harlowton, and Stanford. He will end the tour in Helena on Tuesday before returning to Missoula.
Natelson said he plans to use the tour to "meet as many Montanans as we can, look them in the eye and listen to what they have to say about their own lives and communities."
He said he also expects to use the time to "talk about our plans to build the state's economy."
Natelson's plan includes a three-fold combination of tax cuts, returning most of the approximately $140 million general fund budget surplus to the people and creating a smaller, more efficient government.
Natelson is quoted in a press release as saying, "it is simply wrong to claim we can't return that money to the people. This is a lot of money about $400 per family. Hardworking Montanans need it a lot more than the bureaucrats do."
He notes that the overwhelming majority of Montanans the surplus should be returned so the economy will grow.
"We don't need more government," he said. "We need good paying jobs."
Natelson has also come out strongly against the economic plan of Lt. Gov. Martz. Known as JOBS, standing for Jobs and Opportunities for a Better State.
Natelson referred to the plan as "the same government-driven approach to economic development Montana politicians have used, unsuccessfully, for the past 30 years." He also accused the plan as significantly increasing the size and cost of government.
"Economies do not grow through government direction or government planning," Natelson said. "This is a fundamental lesson that none of our opponents in this election seem to have grasped."
Natelson is a law professor at the University of Montana where he is currently teaching half-time while campaigning for governor.
He has been a legal and policy advisor to a governor and many other public officials and from 1997-99, he pioneered Montana's first commercial syndicated radio program. He also served on the Tax Policy Committee of Governor Stan Stephens who now serves as his Honorary Campaign Chairman.
Natelson has served as founding chairman of Montanans for Better Government and currently as president of Montana Conservatives. He also ran for governor in 1996 in the GOP primary as a more fiscally conservative alternative to the incumbent.
More information on Natelson is available at his website at www.natelson.com.