Tim Fox Fails His First Test

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One of the first tests for statewide elected officials in Montana is the decision on their top staff appointments. On Friday, Tim Fox failed the test.

Fox announced 4 straight, white men as leadership in his office, and announced a female executive assistant (not pictured). The most notable of his selections is Jon Bennion, the former lobbyist for the Montana Chamber of Commerce. (I’ll have more to say on this appointment in a later post.)

These appointments make it painfully clear that diversity is not a priority for him.

Now, diversity for the sake of diversity isn’t inherently valuable. But when you seek a diverse staff so that you have a broad range of experiences, histories and viewpoints you can make your organization–in this instance the Department of Justice–a stronger entity.

The Department of Justice plays such a huge role in the lives of Montanans that this diversity of experience would improve our state. For example, the DoJ oversees all the law enforcement in the state, and we all know that there has been a history of real and perceived racial profiling by law enforcement in tribal communities. By selecting these men as his senior staff, Fox doesn’t have someone providing him with a first-hand understanding of this issue, so Fox is incapable of making an informed decision to do something about it.

It’s important to understand that building a diverse team isn’t something that happens by itself. It’s something that takes work and a concerted effort to make it a priority. Governor Schweitzer is the model on this.

Anyone who has followed Schweitzer’s time in office knows that he has more Native Americans in his staff and cabinet than all previous Montana governors combined. This emphasis on diversity in his staff has paid off, as Schweitzer has enjoyed a close relationship with Montana’s tribal communities to solve some of the problems these communities have faced.

Schweitzer has also put women and members of the LGBT community into senior staff and advisory positions.

Hopefully Fox will take a page out of Governor Schweitzer’s book, and for the sake of Montana, add a little bit of diversity to his staff.

In other appointment news, I’m closely following Governor-elect Bullock’s appointments. We all know that Bullock stumbled during the campaign when it comes to LGBT issues. Hopefully, he’ll follow our advice and appoint some LGBT people to his staff or cabinet. We have several current and former LGBT legislators that would be fantastic choices.

Steve Bullock Has My Vote

…and so does Jon Tester, Kim Gillan, Pam Bucy, Denise Juneau and, locally, Tom Woods.

And, as I explained in a previous post, here’s why:

I’m voting for the candidate who most represents my views, just as everyone should. I’m against the death penalty, want women to make their own choices about their health, support legal recognition of same-sex relationships, and am a fan of higher education and preserving a clean planet. I want healthcare and insurance companies to be reasonable and efficient- and treat people with mental illness and substance issues with dignity and respect. I want the justice system to be fair to all citizens. I want church and state to be separate. I want the poor and disadvantaged to be given every chance to succeed.

The Democratic Candidates in this election most closely reflect these views.

And, I believe, have the most experience and qualifications under their collective belts.

None of the Republicans even come close.

Tim Fox: Attorney Discriminatory

Correction: Fox will speak tomorrow (Friday)- my source incorrectly reported that he spoke today. Other than that, the story still stands. Unless Fox mentions the below. Then, of course, I’ll happily retract.

Today, Republican Attorney General Candidate Tim Fox spoke before the Montana Nonprofit Association.

And he spoke about work he’s done with nonprofit entities throughout the state.

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Fox (Photo credit: this is for the birds)

Pretty normal, right?

Unfortunately though, he forgot to mention work he’s done for a few of his favorite non-profits. Discriminatory ones.

So, as a service to my readers I thought I’d elaborate a little bit on Fox’s non-profit experience.

First, and perhaps most notable is his work with the Montana Family Foundation. This is the group that recently hosted “Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day 2.0,” where they charged $20 for chicken sandwiches to support their anti-gay, anti-women and anti-choice mission. When they’re not serving chicken to show their hatred of gay people, they’re fighting to make sure LGBT people don’t get treated with dignity in the state. This is why Fox jumped at the opportunity to write an Amicus Brief for the organization in the Donaldson case that is currently before the Montana Supreme Court.

This case states that gays and lesbians are being discriminated against by the state because the state doesn’t provide any form of relationship recognition to these couples, despite the constitution’s equal protections clause. And yes- I’m clearly in support of the state losing this one….

In his Amicus Brief for the Family Foundation, Fox states that there can’t possibly be discrimination again against gays, because the President and the Congress have helped increase protections for LGBT people by repealing DADT and refusing to support the “Defense of Marriage Act.”

Yeah, right.

Somehow Fox forgot to mention that many of his supporters and sitting Republican legislators have maintained that in the state of Montana it is legal to imprison people simply for being gay.

Whoopsie….
An Attorney General ought to know these things, dontcha think?

Fox also forgot to mention that he defended the Canyon Ferry Baptist Church’s right to collect signatures to help ban marriage rights for LGBT people, despite the fact that they’re a tax-exempt organization.

One thing Fox did make clear at the forum today is that he feels so strongly about the missions of non-profit organizations like the Montana Family Foundation and the Canyon Ferry Baptist Church- and that he does all of his work for them for free.

LGBT Montanans and their allies have too much at stake right now to allow Tim Fox to become our next Attorney General. We’ve got momentum on our side, but if Fox is elected he’ll almost certainly attempt to stop any movement towards equality that we’ve been seeing.

And pardon my French, but that’s just too f%^&*!ng scary to let happen.
Pam Bucy’s my girl.

National Republican Committee Puts Over Half A Million Dollars in Montana To Defeat Bucy

Because Pam Bucy won’t allow “Big Tobacco” and corporate interests like pharmaceutical and insurance companies to own this state- they’re pumping in a lot of money to help the man who will- Tim Fox. Perhaps ironically, the buying of the chief law enforcement official of Montana doesn’t seem to bother Republicans….

The Missoulian:

A national Republican committee has bought more than $580,000 worth of television and radio advertising as part an independent expenditure effort in support of Tim Fox for attorney general.

The Republican State Leadership Committee Inc., based in Washington, D.C., purchased the ads, according to advertising purchase information obtained by the campaign of Pam Bucy, Fox’s Democratic opponent. About $534,000 is for television ads, while the rest is for radio.

Buying independent expenditure advertising in support of a candidate is legal, but coordination between these groups and the candidates is prohibited.

The committee’s total ad buy is more than what both Fox and Bucy have raised in their campaigns combined to date. Bucy has raised about $270,000 to Fox’s $232,000 so far.

“Frankly, I just think this is incredibly disrespectful,” Bucy said in a phone interview Tuesday. “It’s definitely out-of-state corporations trying to buy this election.”

The GOP group, which spent $30 million in 2010 in support of down-ballot state Republican candidates nationally, expects to top that level in 2012, spokesman Adam Temple said. So far, in the 2012 cycle, it has raised $21.4 million nationally and spent $15.8 million.

The top five national donors to the Republican State Leadership Committee in the 2012 cycle are Blue Cross/Blue Shield, $2.4 million; Reynolds American (a tobacco company), $705,000; Devon Energy, $600,000; Altria Group (the parent company of Philip Morris and other tobacco companies), $489,399; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, $475,399, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington nonpartisan, nonprofit group.

 Read the rest.

Meet Pam Bucy

If you haven’t met her yet- or heard of her- she’s a contender for the Democratic nomination for Montana Attorney General.

As far as I’m concerned, the only real choice.

I like Jesse Laslovich- he’s a go-getter, very enthusiastic, personable and has a lot of energy- but I just can’t see him filling the AG’s shoes, especially when we have someone of Pam’s caliber in the race. So, I thought I’d give a minute to someone who’s taken more than a minute with me.

From The Havre Daily News:

She said her policy differences with Laslovich probably aren’t as different as they are with the more conservative Shockley, but she said she would campaign on her experience.

She has held high-level positions with Montana Department of Justice and the Labor Department and has been in private practice. Bucy, 43, pointed out that Laslovich is “just 30, and five years out of law school,” and has never argued a case before the Montana Supreme Court.

Her resume’ is pretty impressive:

Pam studied law at the University of Montana and immediately after receiving her degree, went to work as a criminal prosecutor with the Lewis & Clark County Attorney’s office.  In that role, she gained a solid understanding of the various issues surrounding our criminal justice system and successfully prosecuted hundreds of cases, including DUI, domestic violence, theft and homicide.

During her seven years as Executive Assistance Attorney General under former AG and current Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike McGrath, Pam represented the State of Montana in complex civil and criminal matters before the Montana Supreme Court.  She also spearheaded the Department of Justice’s efforts to pass legislation to register sexual and violent offenders, help senior citizens protect their identity and credit information and ensure protective orders, such as restraining orders, can be more easily enforced.

Prior to her legal career, Pam owned and operated a small business in Livingston and served as Assistant Manager of the Livingston Chamber of Commerce.

Until recently, Bucy served as Chief Legal Counsel for the Montana Department of Labor and Industry and currently serves as Administrative Counsel for the Montana Department of Labor.

Bucy graduated with honors from the University of Montana School of Law in 1998.  She graduated with honors from Rocky Mountain College in Billings in 1991 with degrees in history, political science and English.

No slouch, Ms Bucy… In addition, she has received endorsements from law enforcement officials and county attorneys general from all across Montana. Like I said, impressive.

But judge for yourself. Click the links above and get to know her better. Or better yet, go to one of her events and meet her.

When you do, the choice will be obvious.