News you can use

Hill, Steinmetz square off in race for House District 28: Ed Hill

Republican Havre School Board Member Ed Hill is facing Democrat Krystal Steinmetz in the race to replace state Rep. Jacob Bachmeier, D-Mont, as the representative for House District 28 that encompasses most of Havre.

Bachmeier, who is in his second term, did not run for re-election this year.

Hill said he thinks Gov. Steve Bullock did what he thought was best in handing COVID-19.

"I think the governor did what he felt was best," Hill said. "I think the governor and all of his advisors that worked with the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention - safety is an important issue, and in life every day we have to mitigate the risks of everything we do whether that's crossing the street during heavy traffic, light traffic, wearing a seatbelt, but specifically for COVID I personally feel as if I think the restrictions should be a little eased, personally."

Hill spoke at a People's Rights meeting in Havre July 28, urging people to come to the next school board meeting to demand the board fully open schools.

The board instead voted to partially open the classrooms and continue using some distanced learning, with students having the option to do all of their classwork using distanced learning, with Hill making the only vote against the motion.

People's Rights has filed a petition saying the directives issued by Bullock during the pandemic are unconstitutional, although the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled since at least 1824, that the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives state and local governments the ability to take actions during an emergency to protect public health and safety.

Last week, Hill said the governor did what he thought was prudent, working with the CDC, and there is all sorts of information out there.

He said one has to take all the information from the left and the right and have to make a valued decision and opinion for themselves.

"I think that God has given us an innate immune system second to none, I personally wish that the CDC would, along with these risks and things to watch out for, I think they should also be promoting ways to strengthen your immune system," Hill said. "I have not seen or heard anything promoted from the CDC about taking some extra Vitamin C, maybe sleep, better health, more nutrition, some Vitamin D - I haven't heard or seen anything like that, so I think on that aspect I think Montana state, governor/CDC is a little lacking."

He thinks the Montana government, federal government in the beginning of all the COVID doesn't think anybody on either side really knew what to expect and how far this was going to go, he said.

He said when it comes to non-essential and essential businesses he doesn't know who determines that or who is not going to get a paycheck and who was, which he said was probably a tough decision

"That's kind of hard for my brain to wrap around a scenario like that - along with unemployment and the extra COVID money, trying to stimulate the economy with businesses and there's a lot of factors in play when you are talking about the economy of America and I don't really know how to address that," Hill said. "I think that probably when you have to keep adjusting, changing, you have to make a decision and you have to do some things and you have to re-evaluate those issues and those decisions in maybe a week or a month later you realize that wasn't a very good decision and you have to regroup, change or hopefully if something is going good you have to re-evaluate."

He said that would be a tough process.

"I think the federal administration has helped the state as well as it could,"  he said.

He added that he hopes the pandemic will be gone, a memory, by the time he gets to Helena if elected.

"I think that the people, the public, I think this has been a learning curve for everybody," Hill said. "This virus is one of five, six, seven other viruses that we're already living with and we as a whole the public, the community, America have learned to be a little more conscious of washing our hands,  more social distancing."

As far as how the Legislature should address the pandemic next session, he said, he doesn't know how to answer that, as it is a big "what if" question.

He doesn't know what's going to happen next year, he said.

What he sees as some of the biggest issues facing the Montana Legislature, he said, is the economy, the budget and that a lot of hurting people are out there.

"We need to figure out how to get businesses back on their feet, we got to get people working again," Hill said. "The economy has to be stimulated. I think we'll have to somehow, maybe we can create a win-win situation for the people and business. Maybe we can attract new business, maybe we can somehow keep failing businesses or promote businesses without businesses and specifically smaller businesses, I think that's kind of the backbone of America, of Montana."

A lot of it is wrapped around the economy, budgets, getting people back on their feet and stimulating the economy, he said.

Republicans of the Legislature's Joint Rules Committee have been holding meetings in the past few weeks that the Montana Democratic Party - and the Democratic members of the committee - say are being held in violation of state law, which says the committee cannot meet out of session until after the election and party caucuses have been established.  

Hill said he has not been following the Rules Committee closely, as he has been focused on his campaign and getting his message out to the voters in Havre. 

He said, he thinks when talking about infrastructure construction - meaning water, sewer, roads and bridges -  that all options including using state bonds to pay for construction should be on the table for discussion.

He said he wants to keep watching what happens with Montana's Medicaid expansion.

"The program is expensive, but has provided health care to certain individuals who did not have access previously," Hill said. "Overall the program should be continually evaluated for its cost and benefits."

He said what makes him the best candidate for the legislative seat position is a combination of his years of life experience.

"I always grew up with, I remember my mother saying, 'Do you want it or do you need it,' and most of the time I just wanted it, but I've worked all my life, I shouldn't say all my life, but ever since I was big enough I shoveled snow, I delivered the paper, I worked at the Dairy Queen when I was 14, just one job to the next, and I started working for the railroad right out high school," he said. "... Why would I be the best legislator? There's so much of life and the state that there's budget, there's a limited amount of money. I think I'm very efficient, I'm usually looking for the easiest, fastest way to do something and usually that equates to hopefully a cheaper and safer way to do things."

He said he thinks there is more than one way to get things done.

 "I play well with others, I like to take all the information in and kind of evaluate, try not to make too much of a snap decision. I know there's going to be other committees that we are going to be working with," he added. "I realize that I'll be a freshman legislator. There will be a huge learning curve, but I am grateful that this is a next chapter in my life - I am retired, so I don't have to worry about my family, I don't have to worry about a job. I have secured a pension, I have a 401(k) plan, I don't have to worry about my family back in Havre."

He said his wife, Heidi, gave him the thumbs and said she thinks he should do this.

"I can focus on being a good legislator," he said. "I would try to be as efficient as I could with my time while I'm down there. I think at least, right now I think I'll probably come home every other weekend. I know there's going to be a lot of bills to read up on. I don't take this position lightly."

The race is about the constituents in Havre, he said, adding that it also is about the people in the state and this is an important responsibility.

"I don't take this lightly," Hill said. "I think I can do the job. I think I can work with others. I don't know Krystal very well. She's got a family, she's got life skills. I think me being older, more life skills probably working in the last capacity of career with the railroad as foreman and delegating, and learning how to play well with others I think that would probably qualify me as a better legislator."


Reader Comments(0)