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Stone challenges Knudsen in Republican House District 33 primary: Casey Knudsen

 

Casey Knudsen

Rep. Casey Knudsen of Malta is running for re-election for House District 33 and is facing Joyce Stone of Glasgow in the Republican primary.

No candidates from other parties have filed as yet, so the winner should advance to the general election unopposed.

"I ran for my first session because I always really had a deep desire, I just felt pulled toward doing some kind of public service in one way or another," Knudsen said. "The seat opened up and I didn't feel that there was the right candidate in the race yet. I did some work trying to get a few other people to run and when I didn't have any results there, I kind of threw my hat in the ring and went for it."

He said he is running for the seat again because he feels like a lot of people's rights are under attack, a lot of "very small bites out of the apple."

Some bills that may be seemingly small are out there, he said, but once they're added together it adds up to what could be a large reduction in individual rights.

"That's my biggest goal is to just fight to preserve that," he added. "I think that's one thing as Montanans we really enjoy personal freedom and my goal is to maintain that."

 He said the state shouldn't be picking winners and the losers in the business world, Knudsen said. 

"I believe that the state should strive to build a business climate that is loose enough, regulation-wise, that it allows businesses to thrive," Knudsen said.

He said business should be given freedom just like personal freedoms.

"As long as you're not hurting somebody else we shouldn't necessarily be micromanaging each and every little thing a business owner has to do to try to make some money," he said. "I do believe that allowing businesses to prosper allows the rest of us to prosper."

He said the United States has a climate that is accepting to business but more and more regulations are being imposed, and the accepting business climate needs to be strengthened.

Knudsen said he looks at every bill individually, adding that he doesn't care who's carrying the legislation or what party it's coming from.

"If it's a good idea I'm going to vote for it, if it's a bad idea I'm going to vote against it," he added. "I think each and every bill should be taken on it's merits not because certain organizations are pushing for it, but because it's actually good for the people of Montana."

He said people can't just take the word of whatever industry that is going to benefit the most from the legislation, people need to look at it from all angles and understand what it's actually going to do for the state as a whole.

Knudsen said, he doesn't have all the information about the COVID-19 pandemic he would need to know what he specifically would or would not do.

He said he doesn't think information has been disseminated like it should be regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and he doesn't think he has all the information he needs to talk about what he would do to deal with it.

"I get the feeling that we as a population know about a tenth of a percent of what we should be knowing about what's going on right now," he said. "I guess one of the things I don't really like is the governor picking the winners and losers of business with this COVID epidemic. ... I just look at the phase plan that's coming out and I think some of those things should've been in the original directives, I don't think we should've just completely shut everything down."

Knudsen said the scientific recommendations are changing almost daily, and he really does not like that the governor is arbitrarily choosing which businesses can stay open and which have to remain closed, he added.

He said he does think there is not a perfect way to handle something like this, but leaders have to act on the information they have at the time and tweak the plan as one goes along.

For the future, he said, people will learn from this, what to do, what not to, how to react and so on.

"I truly hope, one thing I've heard several politicians say they keep calling this the 'new normal' and that just scares the crap out of me, this is not normal," Knudsen said. "This reaction that we've had is not normal. We need to focus on getting back to where we were, back to the business climate we had, the social climate we had, we need to get back to that and not just become comfortable, oh, this is just how things are now."

He said the state is likely to see significantly lower revenues when the next session convenes, and that is going to cause a lot of cuts to be made all across the board.

That is another area, he said, where it's pretty tough to say where it's going to happen, what to do before giving information.

"If the budget shortfall is as drastic as they are saying it's going to take pretty dramatic cuts all the way across the board," Knudsen said. "I don't think there is going to be a single agency that is going to get through it without feeling the pain a little bit. My biggest thing, of course, as a pretty conservative person is I think the first cuts should come in government itself, not necessarily in the program that it administers."

 

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