Rural Montana deserves a Montana voice in Congress

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I was born and raised in Cut Bank where I learned that nothing gets done without hard work.

Growing up on a ranch and wheat farm with five brothers and sisters, I can’t imagine a better place to spend my childhood than in the North Country of Glacier County among salt-of-the-earth people, learning the Montana values that we all hold dear ... community, responsibility, hard work and family.

Living in rural Montana taught me how to be resourceful and what it means to thrive in sometimes challenging situations. I know the struggles many Montanans face every day. In some cases, Montanans have to work two to three jobs to support a family.

We have a rigged system in Washington, D.C., that benefits the upper class at the expense of working families. But Congress should not be a millionaires club. It is the House of Representatives.

And that is why I am running to be Montana’s voice in the House — because we need someone who will represent working people, not special interests and the super rich. There are 300 millionaires already in Congress; Montanans need balanced representation in Washington, D.C.

I will work to protect our access to public lands and will steadfastly oppose the transfer or sale of public lands into private hands.

As the son and grandson of Montana wheat and barley farmers (the original homestead is still farmed by my sister and her husband), I am uniquely qualified to address the USDA farm bill which is negotiated every seven years and is coming up for negotiations next year. I will protect and work hard to form a coalition of support for Montana’s farmers and ranchers.

One of my top priorities will also be to cut taxes for working Montanans and small businesses. The middle class and small businesses have been carrying the tax burden in this country long enough.

I fundamentally believe in the freedom of women making their own health-care decisions. Politicians and government officials have no right making personal health-care decisions for women and their families. This is a decision between a woman, her faith and her doctor.

My opponent, Greg Gianforte, has a different agenda. He sued the people of Montana to block public stream access near his property and has given tens of thousands of dollars to groups seeking to sell off and privatize public lands.

On tax reform, Gianforte wants to continue a reckless system that gives tax breaks to corporations shipping American jobs overseas and millionaires like himself at the expense of the middle class. These tax giveaways saddle future generations with more federal debt while doing little to help our local economy.

And when it comes to women’s rights, Gianforte opposes a woman’s right to choose, even in extreme cases of rape and incest, and wants to defund Planned Parenthood even though they provide hundreds of thousands of women with life-saving cancer screenings and preventive care.

These are not Montana values. As congressman, I will be an independent voice for Montana, representing all Montanans — whether Republican, Democrat, independent or Libertarian. This race is not a fight between political parties but a fight for the soul of Montana.

Stand with me, Montana, and I will stand up for you. Vote on May 25 to send an independent voice to Washington.

Quist, a Creston area Democrat, is running for Montana’s lone seat in Congress in a special election May 25.

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