Mahlum takes on Noland in House District 10 primary

| May 13, 2020 10:25 AM

Republican Doug Mahlum will challenge incumbent Mark Noland for the Montana House District 10 Republican nomination in the June 2 primary election.

District 10 includes Bigfork, the southeast side of the Flathead Valley and the Montana 83 corridor from Swan Lake northward.

Noland has represented the district for three terms, and chaired the Business and Labor Committee in the 2017 and 2019 legislative sessions.

The winner of the primary election will go up against Democratic candidate Jennifer Allen in the Nov. 3 general election. Early voting begins May 8.

Name: Doug Mahlum

Age: 62

Family: Wife Nancy of 30 years; oldest son, Bridger, works for the Montana Chamber of Commerce in Helena; youngest son Colter, lives in Bigfork and works for Uavionix Corp.

Occupation: Owner of Montana Athletic Club in Bigfork for the past 27 years; owner of Planetary Fitness Consulting, which manages The Wave in Whitefish and consults with other facilities throughout the U.S.; Also part-owner of the Peak Health and Wellness facilities in Missoula and Great Falls.

Background: Extensive business background, working with budgeting, marketing, general management and personal issues for over 500 employees at seven locations around Montana.

Website/email: www.Mahlum4Montana.com; doug@mahlum4montana.com

Name: Mark Noland

Age: 61

Family: Married for 40 years, six children, eight grandchildren

Occupation: Owner of Flathead Janitorial and Rainbow Restoration

Background: Attended University of Montana for business management; 35 years as a Flathead Valley business owner; chairman of Lake County Republican Central Committee; past president of the Glacier Lions Club; precinct committeeman; Pachyderm member for 14 years; Lake County and Flathead County Poll Watcher Supervisor; three terms in the Montana House and two terms as chairman of Montana House Business and Labor Committee

Website and/or email: www.nolandforhd10.com; marknolandhd10@gmail.com

Doug Mahlum

How does your background qualify you to represent the citizens as a state representative?

Being in business for the past 35 years, many of them in self-owned establishments, I have a keen and unique vision for what works and what doesn’t in the real world. I look for common-sense resolutions that function. I think you must run government like a business – it must work, financially, or no one benefits.

What do you see as the most pressing issue facing our state, and what would you do to address that issue?

Bring the budget in control. Building a rock-solid financial base from which Montana can grow, expand and benefit her population. Use Republican values in this effort, but do not dismiss any idea that makes sense for the completion of the goal. Don’t just talk about it. Take action and get it done.

How do you feel about how the state is allocating its money? Could the Legislature better prioritize state spending, and how?

This is a complicated situation. I think many of our programs should be evaluated, frequently, for their benefit to Montanans. The world is moving way faster than we realize. We must keep up with current strategies and conditions to avoid being left behind, both financially and as a state. It is the way we allocate funding that should be examined thoroughly and frequently.

We need to prioritize funding to benefit the economy of Montana. A strong economy is the base of business and a strong business environment brings financial success to everyone.

Montana continues to rank as one of the worst states in the nation for mental health and suicide rates. How would you work to improve this ranking?

We must take care of our own. This applies not only to mental health/suicide rates, but to other social issues. That said, you cannot help anyone without the proper funding. If your child needs to go to the doctor and you cannot afford it, you cut expenses somewhere else. You cannot spend your way out of a problem. Nor can you tax your way out of that problem. Common sense and financial frugality must be used when addressing any of these tribulations. So, yes, we must help these people, but within a set budget.

How do you assess the state’s and Gov. Bullock’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? How would you begin to ensure our economy bounces back from measures such as temporarily closing non-essential businesses?

I think Montana’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been good, so far. Although this is such an unknown situation, we can see from other areas that social distancing has helped. We don’t have the medical horsepower in Montana that other states have and we must take care not to overburden ours. We have some brilliant minds, here, working on vaccines, medication and prevention strategies. I hope they succeed in this battle. Once a vaccine is discovered, this problem will be in the rearview mirror.

All businesses, right now, should be planning for the reopening of the state. We must hit the ground running, looking forward and figuring out the best options to take our place at the front of the line. It will be difficult; some may not make it. The choices businesses make right now may well decide their future.

Mark Noland

How does your background qualify you for the role of state representative?

As a three-term legislator and a two-term chairman of the House Business and Labor Committee I have credibility with everyone in the Montana state government. I have the ability to know how to work the ins-and-outs of the process, so that good outcomes are achieved.

What do you see as the most pressing issue facing our state, and what would you do to address that issue?

Currently the critical issue is getting our businesses fully operating after this COVID-19 pandemic including seeing our agriculture bounce back and helping all businesses to get what they need so that all Montana lives can return to some sort of normalcy. We will need an all-hands-on-deck approach. We need business leaders, small and large, all at the table to find what will work best for us to handle this unprecedented, life changing experience.

How do you feel about how the state is allocating its money? Could the Legislature better prioritize state spending, and how?

I have expressed years of concern about how the governor spends our tax-collected monies. We have asked for agencies to be audited and then held accountable for how they spend these tax funds and every time we as conservatives share our views of what is found in the audits, the governor’s office writes off our findings as flawed and they say they had to spend our tax monies the way they did. We must get a Republican governor and then we can hold agencies accountable to all of us.

Montana continues to rank as one of the worst states in the nation for mental health and suicide rates. How would you work to improve this ranking?

I have spoken with our Attorney General, county commissioners and sheriffs as well as the Highway Patrol. Our biggest problem is illegal drug use and is directly related to illegal drugs brought in from the U.S. southern borders that make it all the way up here to Montana.

So, we first must stop the explosive amount of drugs getting here by closing our borders. Then we must make available to those with addictions the proper formula for overcoming these addictions through local health community centers where one-on-one attention can be given and where “one solution fits all” is not rammed through. This way individuals can be given the correct guidance and attention to their specific problems and needs.

How do you assess the state’s and Gov. Bullock’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? How would you begin to ensure our economy bounces back from measures such as temporarily closing non-essential businesses?

Governor Bullock followed what he felt was the right thing to do. He, however, did not include a discussion with agriculture leaders and business leaders to come up with what would be best for the entire state of Montana. Government doesn’t have all the answers and if we had a willing governor who included advisory councils from leaders from around the Treasure State, we could have shared ideas of what would be best for each one of us as citizens of Montana. We could have adjusted certain parts of our businesses to minimize the spread of the virus without the devastating heavy hand that we have been given, in which some businesses will not be around to reopen.

At this point we need to have businesses write up a proposed plan of action to show their employees and potential customers what they are doing to safeguard clients and give the public a comfort level that they will be safe entering their establishments.

We as Montanans and as U.S. citizens deserve a government that works for the people. This applies to the state and the national levels. I believe we can and will have better days ahead, if we elect people with the right ideologies. We have had 16 years of Democrats ruling in the governor’s office and now is the time to change. Let us do our due diligence and see who will uphold our state and the U.S. Constitution. I will uphold both and pledge to do so. ■

Reporter Colin Gaiser can be reached at cgaiser@dailyinterlake.com.

photo

Mark Noland