By Ron VandenBoom
CARTER -- Rep. John E. Witt, R-Carter, has announced his bid for reelection from House District 89.
House District 89 includes Chouteau and Liberty counties a the western portion of Hill County.
In making his reelection bid, Witt stressed a desire to see a revitalized agricultural economy, the need for jobs, and economic growth as reasons for entering the race.
"We need a balanced economy with a diversified base for the state and I will work toward that goal," Witt said.
He added that he was not sure what it was that needed to be done to improve the farm economy, saying only that "we have to do everything we can to revitalize it." But he acknowledged that he believes NFTA is part of the problem.
"NFTA has been good for some industries," he said, citing the automobile industry as one example, but he noted that agriculture has not been one of those industries.
"NFTA has hurt agriculture," he said.
Part of the answer, Witt said, is the development of new industries such as high tech industries. He cautioned that "we need to take it slow," because changes that take Montana away from its agricultural base can hurt many of the smaller communities that depend on agriculture for their livelihood.
Witt also said he believes his experience gained in the 56 Legislative Session gives him a running start for the next session. He expressed concerns over the estimated 40 percent of the House of Representatives that will not be returning due to term limits.
"It is important that HD 89 is served by a seasoned representative," he said.
He added that he is "struggling" with the new term limit law because "we're losing so much history, background, and experience."
Witt said he expects, if reelected, to take a more active role in helping freshmen representatives learn the ropes noting that the last session could have been improved if more time had been taken breaking in the freshman class.
Witt served on the House Appropriations Committee during his first term and while only a freshman chaired the Natural Resources Subcommittee. He also served as vice chairperson of the Court Funding and Structure Committee and on the Legislative Finance Committee.
He said he would like if reelected, to continue serving on the important House Appropriations Committee and might also like to hold some type of leadership role -- "like a whip position perhaps."
Witt sponsored seven bills during the last session that became law and also introduced some Senate bills to the house that are now law.
Water bills establishing Rocky Boy's-North Central and Dry Prairie projects and revised laws concerning paved secondary roads were some of those Witt sponsored.
Witt said he plans on making a trip to Havre sometime during the campaign.