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Smith seeks new solutions to old problems

Diane Smith said Congress keeps dealing with the same old problems with the same old solutions.

"Yet, they think there will be different results, " she said.

Smith said she offers new ideas, many of which she gained while campaigning for Congress by traveling the four corners of the state in recent months.

The campaign for Smith and her six opponents in the Tuesday, June 5, Democratic primary is reaching the final stretch, and she plans to do a lot of traveling around the state while still celebrating her daughter's graduation next week from Whitefish High School.

She was scheduled to be in Havre Monday, but her 87-year-old mother-in-law is hospitalized, so she is limited in her travel. She talked to the Havre Daily News via telephone.

Smith will launch her television commercials this week. The ads start with her saying "When the problem gets tough, I get working. "

She points to her background in several tech companies, including one she started with a partner, as essential.

Three of her major opponents, state Sen. Kim Gillan of Billings, state Rep. Franke Wilmer and Missoula City Councilman Dave Strohmaier, have experience in public office. She doesn't, a fact she thinks will resonate with the voters who want to see a change.

Polls show her trailing Gillan and Wilmer, but gaining. The winner will face Republican Steve Daines in the November election.

She is concentrating on the effort to create jobs in the state, especially jobs in what she calls micro-businesses.

Most employees in the state work for small businesses, she said, and most new jobs will come from small, start-up businesses.

She scoffs at proposals to grant tax credits to small businesses as a way to create jobs.

"Most start-up businesses in Montana don't have taxable income, " she said. "Tax credits won't help them. "

As she travels the state, she said she finds support for her ideas.

Job opportunities for the unemployed and for young people entering the job market are the key concerns, she said.

"People tell me, 'I want a future for my kids, a Montana where they have an opportunity. '"

She said she differs from traditional politicians because she tends to answer questions and then elaborate.

Health care, she said, is the one place where she may equivocate.

She generally supports President Barack Obama's health care reform legislation, but vows to work to improve some parts.

She favors mandates that insurance companies not deny coverage to people based on pre-existing conditions, supports the part that bars insurance companies from throwing people off coverage if they become too ill.

State insurance exchanges will enable people and small businesses to find lower-cost insurance for themselves and employees, she said.

But she is worried about health panels in Washington that will make decisions on what kind of care is offered.

"I don't like government panels, especially those in Washington, D.C.

"I would rather listen to people in Havre, Whitefish, Sidney and Glendive, " she said.


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