World News – United States – Montana High-Stakes Senate Race – Flathead Beacon

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US Senator Steve Daines visits Glacier Rail Park and CHS Mountain West Co-op facilities in Kalispell July 24, 2020 Hunter D’Antuono | Flat head beacon

During a campaign stop in the Flathead Valley this summer to introduce a bipartisan bill to increase forest management, US Sen Steve Daines said he spent the weekend atop Alex Diekmann Peak, a nearly 10,000-foot mountain named in honor of the late conservationist who helped provide permanent protections on over 23,000 acres of woodland near Whitefish

Straddling the Lee Metcalf Wilderness boundary in Madison Valley, MT, the previously unnamed prominence was enshrined in Diekmann’s honor through a bipartisan act of Congress in 2018, two years after the death of the steward of public lands following a battle with cancer, at the age of 52

Daines, a Republican, worked with the entire Montana delegation to usher in the passage of the Alex Diekmann Peak Designation Act, a rare sign of bipartisan cohesion on a piece of legislation, albeit symbolic

Now Daines is locked in a tight re-election race with Democratic Montana Governor Steve Bullock – a staunch supporter of public lands in his own right – and the outgoing Senator has worked aggressively to convince the Montanans that he is the best bet to protect the iconic lands and waters of the Treasure State

But as Daines touts his record as a « conservative conservationist » and draws attention to his recent role in passing the Great American Outdoors Act, which provided full and ongoing funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund ( LWCF), his critics say the senator’s record was more textured before the political sand shifted in his favor

While Bullock acknowledged that passing the Great American Outdoors Act is one of modern conservation success stories, he accused Daines of only taking credit for a bill when the political moment was in his favor and to turn his back on the environment whenever it is politically more expedient

Gov. Steve Bullock has his temperature checked before visiting the alternative care facility under construction by the US Army Corps of Engineers on the top floor of the Montana Children’s Hospital in Kalispell Regional Healthcare on May 21, 2020 Hunter D ‘Antuono | Flat head beacon

“It was a tremendous achievement that so many people have fought for, for decades,” Bullock said “I’m glad Steve Daines was a champion of Bill, but you have to be a champion of Bill. public lands for more than just an electoral cycle You must always be a champion, even if it is not politically popular « 

The two candidates are vying for a seat seen as essential in determining whether Democrats can snatch a majority from Republicans on November 3, and their campaigns broke fundraising records in a race that garnered national attention for months

Cook’s non-partisan political report rates the race as a draw, and experts have identified Montana as a potential tipping point for Senate control, resulting in record spending that recently exceeded $ 75 million

Meanwhile, a series of familiar issues continue to shape the race, including healthcare, economy, taxes and the environment, while the unique circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have also been an important factor

Bullock, 54, can’t run for third term in governor’s mansion He entered the Senate race in March, following a presidential bid that failed to gain traction.The start of his candidacy coincided with the first wave of coronavirus in Montana, and Bullock was praised for its swift response in the spring, including a stop order which experts say has helped keep the virus at bay

President Donald Trump won Montana by 20 points in 2016, the same year Bullock was re-elected, and the governor’s entry into the race put the Senate seat on the line for Democrats, who must win at least three more seats in November for upper chamber gain control

Daines, 58, has Trump’s backing and praised the president for handling the pandemic He criticized Bullock’s leadership during the health crisis, saying the governor only spent a fraction of money that the federal government gave to the state as part of a relief program

The former businessman was first elected to the US Senate in 2014, after two years as Montana’s only representative in the US House

Each candidate went to great lengths to distinguish the others – Daines highlighting his success as a businessman before starting a career in public service, and Bullock highlighting his work as a lawyer representing unions before becoming Montana’s attorney general in 2008

But Daines and Bullock continue to scramble for a job on the public lands platform, which in recent years has become a key pillar of Western politics

Bullock and Daines each made public lands a key stake while stopping Flathead, and sought to present themselves as champions of sustainable management and access and the other candidate as a bad actor

More recently, Bullock criticized Daines’ initial support for William Perry Pendley to lead the Bureau of Land Management, bringing together conservation groups who have long called on Pendley to step down, citing a conflict of interest resulting from his work as defender for Federal Land Transfers As a private lawyer, Pendley argued against Montana’s Watercourse Access Act and represented oil and gas interests attempting to drill in the Badger-Two Medicine area adjacent to Glacier National Park, and a sacred area for members of the Blackfeet Nation

Bullock took legal action to prevent Pendley from running the Bureau of Land Management, and wrote the landmark Montana opinion allowing public access while he was state attorney general in 2009

“My opponent backed Pendley, who took legal action to remove the stream access laws, and I sued to fire him from office,” Bullock said “We know the change climate is a problem, but Steve Daines doesn’t want to talk about it because he’s too busy working for corporate interests « 

Yet Daines points to earlier instances where he has championed conservation measures, including as a first-year senator when he supported the North Fork Watershed Protection Act, which banned the development of new energies over 430,000. acres of wild and scenic river corridor along the west on the edge of glacier park He has often called Montana « a little bit John Denver and a little bit of Merle Haggard » when it comes to balancing the extractive industries with protecting the environment, and said ‘balancing was essential to maintain Montana in a state of natural resources

Meanwhile, a committee commissioned by Bullock to study climate change in Montana has proposed carbon pricing, which is a tax on fossil fuels, as one of 50 suggestions the state should explore. to reduce greenhouse gases During his unsuccessful run for president, Bullock said the Washington Post’s carbon pricing should not be removed until it disproportionately affects low-income communities.

Daines called carbon pricing a job killer for Montana and said other countries, like China, must work to reduce emissions

« We need to keep these natural resource jobs in Montana, » Daines said, accusing Bullock of forging ties with Democrats in Washington who would appoint « far left judges » to the U.S Supreme Court which would interfere with energy development

While Bullock says he does not support current carbon tax proposals, he said lobbyists and special interests have presented a hurdle on how to move forward in the fight against climate change

“You’re either on the bus or underneath,” Bullock said of the climate issue “I think Steve Daines got his head in the sand and his hand in the pockets of the oil and gas industry , that’s why he doesn’t want to have this conversation »

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Steve Bullock, Steve Daines, United States Senate, Montana, United States Senator

World News – United States – The Montana High-Stakes Senate Race – Flathead Beacon



SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com/news/world-news-united-states-montana-high-stakes-senate-race-flathead-beacon/?remotepost=416349

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