Montana Jobless Rate Low

Montana’s unemployment rate continues to fall- to 5.7%.

unemployment

unemployment (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

“Montana starts 2013 with a strong economy that has been adding jobs and gaining wages for over two years,” said Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy. “Although the national economy faces risks and uncertainty arising from federal tax and spending levels, I am confident that Montana’s economy will have the momentum and resilience to continue growth in the next year. Montana will continue to outperform the nation, with lower unemployment than the national average.”

Excellent news- and with Pam in charge, it’s probably not seen bottom yet.

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.

Fox

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.

Gallatin County Democrats Fundraiser Raises Some Great Questions

Sunday night I attended the Gallatin County Democrats Grand Opening Fundraiser at their new headquarters on Mendenhall in Bozeman. It was a great potluck- and crowded- which bodes well for the future of Democratic candidates in Bozeman this year.

Each candidate was allowed some time to speak. Pam Bucy and Monica Lindeen– both of whom I strongly support- shared energy, enthusiasm and common sense. They both need to be elected, in my very humble opinion.

I came to hear the Congressional candidates. I needed to see them and hear them in person. Their speeches were limited to 3 minutes, but all 4  had something important to say- mostly in contraposition to the Republican policy. Kim Gillan spoke about the need to control our own destinies. Franke Wilmer showcased her brilliant career as an academic and as an effective (as a Democrat could be last term) Montana Legislator. Dave Strohmaier shared a vision of the future which relied on non-discrimination (including LGBT persons!), progressive principles and conviction. And then there was Rob Stutz.

Stutz started by talking about taking back the Constitution- both federal and state- from the “hijack tactics of the Tea Party”. Excellent. And enthusiastic applause followed. Then he said something that made me stop.

“We have to have a plan to win in November. Do Democrats have a plan? We can’t wait until after the primary- we need a plan now!”

Like I said, I stopped. All of the ideas that were shared by the candidates were excellent ideas. The rhetoric was high. The enthusiasm inspiring. But Stutz is right. Where’s the plan? Because all the good ideas in the world don’t mean anything without a plan.

And without a plan, November could be disastrous for Democrats.

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.