A candidate for the U.S. House said at a Republican fundraiser Sunday and in an interview Monday that she is a different candidate for the federal office.
"I am that Montana-made solution to all of that mess that is happening in D.C.," state Sen. Elsie Arntzen, R-Billings, said during the Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner Sunday in Havre. "We know that our federal government is broken. We know that so much is going on, and it is time for us to take it back."
Arntzen was one of the four Republican candidates for the sole Montana seat in the U.S. House of Representatives to speak during the dinner. State Sen. Matt Rosendale of Glendive. former state Sens. Corey Stapleton of Billings and Ryan Zinke of Whitefish also spoke.
Friday, Arntzen contacted the Havre Daily News and offered an interview. In the interview Monday, she said all of the candidates are unique and offer different life stories to the voters.
"I do believe I am the real Montanan," she said. "I was born and raised here. My grandparents were Baptist missionaries (to the Crow Tribe). I have a firm foundation.
"I am a schoolteacher, lived, worked, had grandkids here. ... I never left Montana."
She said another difference is she is focused - she is not talking about broad, general ideas she wants to pursue.
"I am a realist," Arntzen said.
One of her ideas is cutting spending to balance the budget, including repealing the health care reform act.
Another is repealing regulations. Montana is the Treasure State, Arntzen said, but the federal government is restricting use of its "treasures," such as timber, oil and gas, and coal.
Sunday, she said this problem would be something she would work on after cutting spending.
"After balancing that budget, we need to repeal some of those ABC things starting with, how about, the EPA?" she asked.
She said Monday that a key is working to find solutions. That is a key message she is hearing from voters, Arntzen said.
"They don't like the fighting. They do not like the gridlock," she said.
"They want to get something done, and it's not a win versus a loss. ... They would like to see someone be part of that solution."
Sunday, she gave the same message.
"They believe in someone who looks them in the eye and says this is what we're going to do, and we're going to do it in a positive manner, and we're going to go forward," she said.
At the same time, she said, she is clear about her stances - pro-life, supporting traditional family values and having an A-plus rating with the NRA "because that Second Amendment is so important."
She said her 21 years teaching fifth grade both gives her incentive to make sure her students have a future, and shows she can work with legislators.
"If I can teach 10-year-olds, I can teach a thing or two to those Washington Democrats for sure," she said.