Montana Family Foundation Candidate Survey

…is completely polarizing and just as completely predictable. As a public service, I wanted to put the whole shebang out on the internets. Now I’ll probably get letters protesting the word “shebang”.

Sigh.

Here’s the cover letter:

On behalf of all of us at Montana Family Foundation, let me congratulate you on your decision to run for public office. As a former state representative, I understand the sacrifices you are making during the campaign, and those that you will make throughout your term if you are fortunate enough to be elected (re-elected).

Montana Family Foundation is a non-profit, research, education, and advocacy organization, working to support, protect and strengthen Montana families.

In an effort to better educate your constituents on your positions related to family issues, we have enclosed our 2012 candidate survey. The results of this survey will be published in whole or in part on our web site (www.montanavoterguide.com), and in our printed voter guide, which will be distributed to roughly 150,000 Montana households.

*Please note: If you choose not to fill out the enclosed survey, we may determine your position on a given question using voting records, public statements you’ve made, your responses on other voter guides, or your party’s platform. If your position differs from that of your party on a given issue, we hope you will use this questionnaire to make that clear.

Please fill out the survey and return it in the enclosed envelope. The survey must be postmarked no later than Friday, March 23 to be included in our 2012 primary election voter guide. remember it must be signed to be valid.

Once again thank you for your time, and your commitment to the people of Montana.

Respectfully,
Jeff Laszloffy President/CEO

And the survey (reprinted in its entirety except for some basic identifying candidate stuff):

Please circle the response that most accurately reflects your position on the following issues. (SS=Strongly Support; S=Support; U=Undecided; O=Oppose; SO=Strongly Oppose)
  1. Public schools in Montana are: Over Funded Adequately Funded Under Funded
  2. Students should be allowed to recite the phrase “One Nation Under God” when saying the Pledge of Allegiance. SS S U O SO
  3. Parental choice should be expanded through tax credits to allow children to attend any school of their choice. SS S U O SO
  4. Montana should allow public charter schools. SS S U O SO
  5. Parents should be allowed to home school their children without additional state regulation. SS S U O SO
  6. Education – Sex education in public schools, should be based on “abstinence until marriage”. SS S U O SO
  7. Health – “Domestic partners” (i.e., cohabiting homosexual and heterosexual couples) should receive the same health care and employment benefits as married couples. SS S U O SO
  8. Health – Pharmacists should be forced to dispense birth control that works after fertilization (“Emergency Contraception”) even if it violates their conscience or religious beliefs. SS S U O SO
  9. Health – Anyone causing the injury or death of an unborn child (other than a doctor performing an abortion) should be subject to the same criminal penalties as they would be if the child were already born. SS S U O S
  10. Abortion – Abortion should be prohibited in all circumstances SS S U O SO
  11.  Abortion – Abortion should be prohibited, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger. SS S U O SO
  12. In your opinion, are environmental regulations in Montana: Too Stringent About Right Not Stringent Enough
  13. Homosexuals should be allowed to adopt children. SS S U O SO
  14. Anti-discrimination laws should be expanded to protect sexual orientation in the same way that race, creed, nationality, religion, and color are protected.
  15. Income Taxes in Montana are: Too High About Right Too Low
  16. Property Taxes in Montana are: Too High About Right Too Low
  17. Corporate Taxes in Montana are: Too High About right Too Low18. Your view on the statement: The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows all citizens to own firearms for self protection. SS S U O SO
  18. Physician-assisted suicide should be legal in Montana. SS S U O SO
  19. Global warming is a problem requiring increased regulation. SS S U O SO

Date
Candidate Signature
Surveys are invalid if not signed
Please mail original to:
Montana Family Foundation P.O. Box 485 Laurel, MT. 59044

406-628-1141 http://www.montanafamily.org http://www.montanavoterguide.com

SURVEY DEADLINE IS FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2012

HRC: Romney Gave 10k To Prop 8

From LGBT/POV:

Mitt Romney - Caricature

Mitt Romney - Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

A number of politicos jumped on GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney for the casual way he offered to make a $10,000 bet with rival Rick Perry during a debate, saying it clearly illustrated out “out of touch” Romney was with regular folks for whom $10,000 is a lot of money. And certainly, $10,000 was a lot of money during the Prop 8 fight in California – which the Human Rights Campaign and its project NOM Exposed revealed was the amount Romney gave to the National Organization for Marriage when the antigay group emerged as a leading proponent for the Prop 8 ballot initiative that successfully stripped marriage rights from same sex couples in California. NOM has been working hard to keep the names of its donors private.

Scott Wooledge at the Huffington Post has more, finding the contribution cited “in the Oct. 28, 2008 edition of Deseret News reporting on Mitt Romney’s $10,000 donation to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). We since have come to learn that NOM circulated some nefarious memos to convince donors that their cause was strategically planned.”

HRC’s Fred Sainz says:

The aide quoted in The Deseret News that gets Romney into campaign disclosure problems is none other than Eric Fehrnstrom, the same trusted aide who infamously compared the general election to an “Etch A Sketch.” The NYT has a great profile of Fehrnstrom here.

It also bears mentioning, that Robert George, the chairman emeritus of NOM and the author of two federal marriage amendments, sits on the editorial board of the Deseret News. You will remember that Mr. George was appointed this week by Speaker Boehner to the U.S. Commission for International Freedom.

It’s not that surprising, but in the era where “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” ended with barely a whimper, State Legislatures enacted marriage equality, and Republicans have backed off the gay marriage issue, Romney’s anti-equality contributions should be noted.

Did anyone notice a Log Cabin Republican response to Romney’s contribution?

I didn’t either.

Full story here.

HIV+ and Partners Retreat

Montana does something that, to my knowledge, is not done anywhere else in the U.S.- we invite HIV+ persons and their partners/support persons to learn about coping and living with HIV. It’s a fantastic weekend filled with information, activity, relaxation, community and support, and I’ve been part of it for five years now.

I highly recommend it. Out-of-staters welcome. To check it out and/or register, click the pic below.

Montana Pride 2012 Preview Video

If you’re getting excited about Montana Pride in Bozeman this June 15th-17th, then here’s something to whet your appetite:

Montana Pride 2012 Trailer from Wet Paint Studios on Vimeo.

Missoula County Sees Spike In HIV Infection

HIV infection has increased unexpectedly in Missoula County- 12 new cases in five months- almost half the number of all reported cases in Montana last year.

From The Missoulian:

“We tend to see small numbers of new cases every year, but to have this many new cases – at this count 12 – documented in a five-month period is an unusually high number,” Missoula City-County Health Department Director Ellen Leahy said on Wednesday. “Twelve cases in one county in five months is an outbreak.”

HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS, a debilitating and sometimes fatal disease. It is spread by unprotected sexual contact or infected blood transfer, such as sharing infected hypodermic needles. Leahy said all the Missoula cases appeared to stem from sexual activity.

The announcement was made after consulting with many community groups, including Partnership Health Center, the Montana Gay Men’s Task Force and the Open Aid Alliance. Open Aid director Christa Weathers said the decision to publicize the outbreak was a hard one, because health officials depend on people self-reporting their condition to track the disease’s spread.

“It’s hard to issue a public health risk without creating alarm, or without pointing fingers at any group of people,” Weathers said. “It’s a great opportunity to remind people this is a risk and why testing is so important. But we don’t want to discourage anyone who may know they may need to get tested, but they’re afraid to come in and then this hits the media and they’re gone.”

So far, all the confirmed cases are adult males. But Leahy warned that women who don’t consider themselves members of a high-risk group for HIV infection have also been exposed.

“It’s sexually spread, but it’s time to remind ourselves – you really cannot know if you’re infected unless you’ve been tested,” Leahy said. “We recommend health clinics regularly offer HIV testing to sexually active patients. Rather than presume someone is in a risk group, it’s risk behavior, not membership in any group, that they need to think about.”

Several of my sources say the newly-infected persons are young men who simply didn’t practice safe sex, thinking “It’s Montana- I’m not at risk”. These men, mostly in their twenties, I’m told, will now have a lifetime of medication, stigma and health issues to deal with. It saddens me.

Today is a good day to be tested. For a list of Montana free Rapid HIV Testing sites, click here.

If you’re in Bozeman, call AIDS Outreach 406-451-5718 (the number in the link above is incorrect) or go to AIDSOutreachMT.org

Missoula Sips For Pride Foundation!

If you’re looking for something to do Saturday evening, look no further!

Missoula Sips for Pride Foundation
Saturday, March 31 – 5:00-9:00 PM
Celebrate spring with Missoula’s LGBTQ and allied
community with a wine tasting and friend-raiser
hosted by Ten Spoon Winery!

Please RSVP by Thursday, March 29th

To RSVP or should you have any questions, please contact Caitlin Copple at 406-546-7017 or caitlin@pridefoundation.org

Rehberg Didn’t Listen As “Promised”

You’d think he’d be more careful in an election year- or maybe he just thinks we’re not paying attention. From The Montana Democrats:

Multimillionaire Congressman Dennis Rehberg said earlier this month that he needed to “talk to Montanans” before making a decision on his party boss’s latest attack on Medicare.

That was one week ago.  The House is expected to vote today on its plan to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare while giving tax breaks to millionaires.
And despite his promise, Congressman Rehberg still has not met with Montanans about Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to attack Medicare.

“No matter how Congressman Rehberg votes on this bill, there can be no doubt that he’s serving his own interests, not Montana’s best interests,” said Dick.  “Congressman Rehberg can’t erase his record of voting against Medicare.  And let’s be clear:  Congressman Rehberg’s own political career is the only thing that will influence his vote on this bill.”

Congressman Rehberg has consistently supported the Ryan budget’s basic goals:  Giving huge tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, while gutting health care and education. Last July, Rehberg voted for the House’s “Cap, Cut and Balance” bill which, like the current proposal, would have forced huge cuts to Medicare in order to protect tax loopholes for millionaires.

The last time Rep. Ryan’s plan to attack Medicare came before Congress, Rehberg admitted he hadn’t read the bill just days before it came up for a vote [Rehberg conference call, 4/8/11; The Hill,4/6/11].