Democrats ready to work in 2019 Legislature

 

January 2, 2019



If there’s one thing Montanans can unite behind, it’s that we’re sick and tired of self-serving politicians who are all talk, no walk.

As the House minority leader for the 2019 Legislative session, I couldn’t agree more.

Montana families deserve a Legislature that sets aside the partisan, political blustering. And they deserve lawmakers that lead with solutions. That’s why House Democrats have our sleeves rolled up and are eager to get to work.

As citizen legislators, our number one job is to represent and provide a voice for the people who elected us: Our neighbors, small business owners, local workers and community members. And you didn’t elect us to run government like a reality TV show — you elected us to work hard and find solutions to the very real problems that families across our state face every day.

From the Flathead to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, Montanans are shouldering the burden of crippling health care costs and an increasingly unstable health insurance market. The fate of 100,000 Montanans’ health care hangs in the balance this legislative session as some elected representatives work to destroy our state’s health care system as we know it.


House Democrats believe that families shouldn’t go broke to pay their medical bills. We believe that Montanans who live in rural communities deserve to have the same quality of care as Montanans who live in one of our more urban centers. We’re going to fight non-stop for Montanans to be able to access affordable, high-quality health care and ensure that our rural hospitals remain open.

Montana is facing an infrastructure crisis. Costs skyrocket for every year that our Legislature kicks the can down the road on rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, water systems, and schools. The majority in the Legislature needs to help us pass a comprehensive infrastructure package that addresses the diverse needs of our communities and creates good paying jobs that grow our economy.

And we know fighting for the best interests of the people of Montana means holding government accountable with a fiscally responsible budget that works for our state. Our budget isn’t a piggy bank to be raided when the Legislature wants to avoid tough decisions, which is why this year, we must restore and protect the critical family services that were cut by the majority during last year’s the special session. We have to live within our means with a balanced, fiscally responsible budget that fulfills our responsibilities to our state while eliminating inefficiency and waste. We hope that our colleagues will join us in sitting down at the table to find bipartisan solutions to get our finances in order.


These issues, and the countless others that the 2019 Legislature will discuss, are often not partisan issues — they’re Montana issues.

The majority of Montanans believe we need common-sense solutions for things like our state’s failing infrastructure, prohibitively expensive health care, and a broken budget that has been balanced on the backs of working families for too long.

Of course, there will be times when representing Montanans means pushing back hard against absurd legislation that is bad for our state. House Democrats won’t roll over when vital programs and services are on the chopping block.

But we must work together to find real solutions, and we invite — in fact, we expect — our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to join us in putting the people of Montana first. The 2019 Legislative Session cannot turn into a four-month campaign commercial for 2020. We have real issues to solve right now. Solutions, rather than rhetoric, are vital to Montana’s success.

House Democrats see the 2019 Legislative Session for what it is: An opportunity to fulfill our constitutional obligation and lead with solutions that deliver results for the people of Montana.

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Rep. Casey Schreiner, D-Great Falls, represents House District 26 in the state Legislature.

 

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