Rob Quist Rallies with Montanans Across State, Stands Up for Public Lands

Rob Quist spent a week traveling over 1,100 miles across Montana to meet directly with voters and talk to them about preserving public land access in Montana, a key issue in the race for Montana’s lone U.S. House seat.

Quist was joined by hundreds of Montanans who showed up in Helena, BillingsGreat FallsMissoula and Kalispell  to rally for public lands.

“Montanans expect access to their leaders, and they expect leaders to stand up for public lands,” Quist said. “Unlike my opponent, I’m going to spend this campaign meeting with Montanans and I’m going to fight for them, not for D.C. insiders or corporate special interests, in the U.S. House.”

Meanwhile, New Jersey multi-millionaire and perennial candidate Greg Gianforte spent his week in Washington D.C., dining with his political donors who supported the failed health care bill that would have raised premiums on Montanans by an average of $300 every month.

Twenty-Two State Tax Warrants Issued Against Gianforte’s Company

RightNow Technologies owed over $15,000 in taxes to Indiana

Greg Gianforte’s company, RightNow Technologies, had 22 state tax warrants filed against them by the Marion County Court in Indiana for failing to pay taxes.

The state tax liens against RightNow Technologies dated from 2012-2015 and amounted in $15,373 in owed taxes. See tax warrants here.

“From suing Montanans to close off public access to engaging in shady business practices, Greg Gianforte thinks the rules don’t apply to him”, said Nancy Keenan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “He’s not from Montana and he’s not going to fight for us in the U.S. House.”

This comes on the heels of reports surfacing that Gianforte had a tax lien filed against him in New Jersey.

Republican leadership still trying to suppress MT voters

In Thursday’s House Judiciary hearing on Senate Bill 305, Republican leadership dug in their heels about suppressing voter turnout while countless other Republicans, Democrats and everyday citizens voiced their support for voter access.

SB 305 is the Republican-sponsored legislation introduced to make sure this spring’s special Congressional election is conducted as a mail-ballot one in order to increase voter access and save county election officials more than $500,000 this spring.

SB 305 has bipartisan support. However, Republican leaders like Rep. Jeff Essmann and House Speaker Austin Knudsen are trying to kill the bill.

Even Secretary of State Corey Stapleton has moved to the extreme right on this bill and doesn’t care that he’s creating extra expenses for the 56 county elections officials charged with conducting this special election. During testimony on SB 305 on Thursday he called their estimated cost “hypothetical.”

“There is nothing hypothetical about county election officials — both Republicans and Democrats — trying to save taxpayers at least half a million dollars,” said Nancy Keenan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “Republican leaders, including our own statewide election administrator Corey Stapleton, are only interested in suppressing voters’ voice. That’s not how democracy works in Montana.”

Gianforte Wants to Impose Sales Tax on Montana Families

New Jersey multimillionaire Greg Gianforte wants Montanans to pay a sales tax that they don’t want.

“Greg Gianforte will never understand that Montanans don’t want a sales tax, because he’s not from here and he has no interest in looking out for our state,” said Nancy Keenan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “We can’t afford to send a New Jersey mult-millionaire who wants to raise Montanans’ taxes to represent us in Congress.”

The Montana Democratic Party obtained this public recording of Gianforte testifying during a meeting of former Governor Judy Martz’s Income Tax Advisory Council.

“What I would consider an ideal solution, from a high-tech perspective… would be to replace the current income capital gains rate with a sales tax,” Gianforte told the Council. “I know that there are a few political issues and Constitutional issues, but I didn’t think I’d be fair to come in here and not say that I believe that is the ideal solution—to move to a consumptive tax.”

Rob Quist’s Medical Story – He Wants to Hear Your Medical Story

Dear friends and fellow Montanans,

I know how worrisome it is to put your life in someone else’s hands and hope for the best. And we all know what it is like dealing with big insurance companies. Montana has some of the best medical professionals in the country, but sometimes things still go wrong.

Years ago, I went under the knife for gallbladder surgery and it went badly.

My family was faced with thousands of dollars in medical bills that nearly bankrupted us. That’s a story that too many Montanans share.

Montanans and hard-working folks across this country are too often put into the same financial situation my family has had to face. One in five working Americans1 — even those with insurance — reported that they have had problems paying medical bills, according to a 2016 survey.

I know my family’s health care story isn’t unique. That’s why I’m asking to hear your story.

.What is your healthcare horror story? When were you forced to make some difficult decisions between your health and your way of life here in Montana? What did you end up doing to get by?

Click here to share your stories with me so we can take action!

Your stories will help me elevate your voices and represent your needs when I’m elected your next Congressman. With your support, I will fight everyday for your right to have quality, affordable healthcare and to continue to lead healthy, productive lives.

Your stories will help me elevate your voices and represent your needs when I’m elected your next Congressman. With your support, I will fight everyday for your right to have quality, affordable healthcare and to continue to lead healthy, productive lives.

Share your stories to help us stand up to radical leaders in Washington who want to take away our access to quality, affordable health care.


Rob Quist




Frontiers of Democracy: Exploring the Past and Looking to the Future

The Montana State University Billings Library is pleased to announce its spring lecture series, “Frontiers of Democracy: Exploring the Past and Looking to the Future.”

The weekly four-part series takes place Tuesday evenings, at 6:30 p.m., beginning March 21, and are held in Library Room 148 on the University Campus. 

The public is invited to attend the series, which is free of charge.

“We’re excited for the Library Lecture Series because they are so well received by the community,” said Interim Director Megan Thomas. “Plus, coming out of an election year, the topics to be discussed are very timely.”

Dr. Nisha Bellinger, assistant professor of political science, said the series is a great way to explore many areas of research on democracy.

“I wanted to engage our faculty across disciplines in the lecture series to provide the audience with a robust understanding of democracy- its origin, meaning and current trends,” said Bellinger. 

The series opens on March 21, with a presentation by Dr. Tom Rust, MSUB Associate Professor of History. His talk, “Full of variety and disorder: The birth and death and rebirth of Ancient Athenian Democracy” explores the origins of Athenian democracy. Rust will also look at how this system compares to what we call democracy in the United States, and how Athens’ initial experiment with democracy failed during the Peloponnesian War but was later reborn with greater moderation.

Rust is a native of Montana with a BA in History and Classical Studies from the University of Minnesota, an MA in History from the University of Denver, and M.Ed. from MSUB and a Ph.D. in archaeology and ancient history from the University of Leicester.  He has taught at MSUB since 1999.

On March 28, MSUB Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Paul Pope presents, “American Democracy and the Rise of the Alt-Right.”

Pope says the heart of his lecture is the concept of “othering.”

“Sometimes, you hear about this phenomenon as ‘us versus them,’ he said. “I’m looking at a very specific kind of othering, an othering in support of, or to expand the security state.”

Pope asks the question “is the Alt-Right fascism by another name?” He will investigate the narratives of the Alt-Right, and their meaning, they voiced during the 2016 election as well as their own expressed worldview in social media. Pope will contrast the Alt-Right ideology and expressed beliefs with other historical studies of fascist ideology.

“The other (area) I am focusing on is the narrative attacks on minorities, media, immigrants, and some foreign governments as justification for a large and all-powerful security state,” he said.

Pope has been with MSUB since 2012. He teaches courses in American government, public law, and public administration. His research areas include power, constitutional law, and political/policy narratives. He has previously published with Law and Society journal, Administration and Society journal, and Cengage Researcher.

Bellinger will present, “The Global Spread of Democracy in the Post-WWII Era,” on April 4.

The lecture traces the global spread of democracy since World War II and analyzes the quality of democracy across regions. Bellinger said her objective will be to help the audience understand the factors that influence democracy and identify the differences between democracies globally.

“My talk will focus on global trends in democracy,” she said. “I will discuss the differences or similarities of democracy, and highlight current developments such as the Arab Spring.”

Bellinger earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Missouri in 2012. She teaches courses in Comparative Politics, International Relations, and American Government.  Her research focuses on political economic themes. Her research has been published in Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research, European Political Science Review, International Political Science ReviewJournal of International Relations and Development, Journal of Politics, and Party Politics.

MSUB Professor of Sociology Dr. Joy Honea will present the final lecture in the series on April 11. Honea’s presentation, “Nasty Women: The Political Becomes Personal,” looks at how the 2016 presidential election galvanized thousands of American women for a variety of reasons.

“This talk examines the factors contributing to current political activism among (mainly) progressive women and imagines the possible outcomes of this emerging movement,” she said.

Honea earned her Ph.D. from Colorado State University in 2004. Her dissertation work focused on the commodification of action sports. She teaches in the areas of the sociology of sport, the sociology of health and medicine, women’s and gender studies and social theory. Her research focuses primarily on the sociology of mental illness and the sociology of gender. She is working on a co-authored paper on the medicalization of mental illness and serves on the social science research team for a National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant through MSU Bozeman focusing on the advancement of women faculty in the sciences.

A light reception follows each lecture.

Montanans not so lucky with Republican budget slashes

Republican House leaders are leaving Montana’s seniors, children and families feeling less than lucky this St. Patrick’s Day after recklessly slashing and approving a whittled down state budget that won’t work for hard-working Montanans.

During Thursday’s floor debates, Democratic representatives brought 26 amendments to the floor to try and fix some of the mess Republicans had made of the budget. Ultimately, though, they all failed along party lines.

The result? An appropriation bill riddled with shortcomings for the critical services that Montanans depend on. Here are a few that cut the deepest:

“House Republicans are failing Montana’s hard-working families,” said Nancy Keenan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “This is not fiscal responsibility. These reckless cuts are going to have real impacts on all Montanans for years to come. We can do better than this.”