The needs of Montanans are often different from the needs of more urban areas of our country. Laws made in Washington often do not make sense in our rural setting. We need to be vigilent to protect our rights to make laws that make sense to Montanans and protect our way of life. I am working with other states' legislators to share ideas and information to protect Montana from Federal overreach.
With the fear that our elections are vulnerable to outside interference, we need to be sure we have solid policies in place to prevent any tampering with our elections. I have been working with a citizen group, along with a bi partisan legislative workgroup, the Secretary of State's Office, Commisioner of Political Practice (COPP), election clerks and Montana Association of Counties (MACO) to look into how our process works, and make recommendations to increase voter confidence in our elections.
Each summer we are faced with the unknown peril of wildland fires. There are some things we can do to mitigate their effects. We need more fuels reduction projects to slow down catastrophic wildfires that continue to destroy our natural resources, decrease our air quality, degrade our very important watershed areas, and drive up wildfire suppression costs. We can also take a look at some of the firefighting practices that may need to be updated with changes in the wildland/urban interface.
Much of the cost of healthcare is due to the Healthcare Industry's unbridled ability to overcharge for drugs, treatments, insurance, and procedures in a way that leaves the consumer being faced with costs that make no sense. The average person has to spend too much time trying to sort it all out. Corporate healthcare is now dictating to doctors how to treat their patients. Doctors have to be allowed to use their training and expertise and decide what is best for their patients. We need to ensure patient care comes before corporate profits.
Mandatory all electric does not make sense for most of Montana. We must allow for responsible use of a variety of energy sources, including responsible coal mining and gas and oil exploration. With electricity demands on the rise, we must have the ability to run generation plants when hydro-electric, wind and solar cannot meet the ever-increasing needs for electricity. We need to look at also adding more hydro-electric plants to existing dams and incorporating the newest and safe technology in nuclear energy. Diversification will increase reliability.
Quality basic education is the key to having a quality work force in today's world. Children must be able to read well and have good writing skills, as well as a solid understanding of math concepts and skills. The loss of learning opportunities during the last couple of years is a challenge to our schools and students. As a legislatures we need to support schools in overcoming these challenges. Higher education options must include Trade Schools, Apprenticeships, College or University learning as well as distance learning programs.