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Legislative Report: Tea Party reveals uniform concerns

by Sen. Aubyn Curtiss
| November 18, 2009 11:00 PM

When 300 people show up at a public meeting in Lincoln County, one would expect the word to get around. Yet visiting with people in Troy and Eureka neighborhoods about their immediate concerns substantiates the fact that there is a real lack of communication among us.

Mention of the exceptional attendance at the Sept. 24 event at the VFW in Libby has met with a wide gamut of expressions ranging from doubt to amazed surprise. But almost all expressed regrets at not having had the same opportunity to air their own concerns which have been accelerating with almost every news release from the nation’s capitol.

Although communication is not the best, countywide the worries and uncertainties are surprisingly uniform.  Much public debate on legislation at the federal level has left seniors apprehensive about the future as never before in my memory.

Will their medical needs be addressed? Are their retirement benefits protected? Is the flu pandemic real and are the vaccines safe? Will their social security checks continue to arrive on time?

Unemployment and loss of work opportunity pose sleepless nights for far too many of us and underlying almost all concerns are the future of health care, second amendment rights, affect of the reappraisal on taxes, and actions of a seemingly runaway federal government.

As we anticipate the increasing costs of energy and other necessities we are well aware of the endless challenges. People are desperate for solutions.

Increasing dependence on Uncle Sam to solve all problems and pick up the tab for everything from highway money to social assistance has placed states at increasing disadvantage with less discretion in policy making and in how programs are administered.

Montana currently is even more disadvantaged than most because statutorily our legislature meets only 90 days every other year. How can the state respond in a meaningful way to emergencies created in Washington when a special session must be called which involves polling 150 members, or at the discretion of a governor who may use the issue politically for what he sees as his own gain?

A recent case in point is Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s response when asked by the Realtors’ Association to call a special session to deal with the reappraisal issue. He replied that it could be settled by electing a new legislature next time, which means probably no help for impacted taxpayers for another two years or more.

As citizens see their freedoms jeopardized by an unheeding Congress, there are some legislators who are researching how best Montana can move to protect its citizens from detrimental fallout. The Tenth Amendment website attests to the fact that around the nation other states are moving to do the same.

On Nov. 11 delegates from 49 states assembled to convene a Continental Congress to explore ways to peacefully hold our federal government more accountable. Their rallying motto is: “Beyond Tea Parties, Beyond Elections.” We will be hearing more about this movement.

At the Billings Courthouse recently, people carrying signs and placards demonstrated opposition to the Democratic driven health-care plan. Billings Republican lawmakers there stated they will exert state rights if health care becomes mandatory under federal law.

There are legislators committed to outlining Montana’s own health-care plans to protect Montanans from pending federal laws. The U.S. Senate  is under intense pressure by President Obama to approve the House version of the bill so it can become law. They need to hear from each and every one of us.

On Nov. 21, north county citizens will be hearing atmospheric physicist Ed Berry speak out about the fraud of global warming and the grave implications facing our country should President Obama sign the U.N. Climate Treaty being presented in Copenhagen Dec. 7-8.

In addition to explaining the gravity of the action, Dr. Berry will be fielding questions and offering suggestions about what can be done. The event will be held at the Fortine Elementary School gymnasium at 6 p.m.

Information may be obtained by calling or 293-4636 or 406-882-4448.

 (Aubyn Curtiss is a Republican member of the Montana Senate and represents District 1).