The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By James Walling
The Courier 

Zinke and "American Sniper" Author Visit Glasgow

Area Residents Meet-and-Greet With Congressman


Bonnie Davidson / The Courier

Congressman Zinke and author Scott McEwen met with area residents, students, and media at Farm Equipment and Sales.

Congressman Ryan Zinke of Whitefish stopped into Glasgow for a visit with local and regional media, concerned citizens, supporters and schoolkids Thursday, May 7. His message was clear: "I am for local control," he explained generally, in quiet conversation with attendees at Farm Equipment and Sales. Our sole at-large congressional representative, Zinke has made his allegiances plain in the past. He describes himself as, "a Republican," but qualifies the statement by adding that he is "a Montanan first." His more pointed sentiments were a reprise of this position.

Zinke is famously approachable and relatively uncoached. Unlike many influential politicians, he doesn't show much in the way of media relations prepping and/or public relations handlers. Author Scott McEwen (American Sniper, Target America, The Sniper and the Wolf, etc.) was in tow to show his support and draw local residents to the event. The approach was successful, with around a dozen in attendance Thursday morning, as well as Mayor Becky Erickson, Senator John Brenden, and other Valley County political opinion makers.

Students from Glasgow High School leadership class were largely reticent when pressed for questions by Zinke, but several of the former were in line to have their books signed by McEwen. All were recipients of general advice from the congressman.

"It's a question of how much you're willing to do," Zinke told the younger members of his audience about partcipation in adult life in the community. He commented at length about generational differences between young people today and their elders in the community. He stressed that the future of our region rests in their hands.

Advice came in the form of encouragement to, "Focus on things that make you a better writer and speaker." He concluded by saying social media and other technological advances aren't his generation's strong suit, but are important just the same, if potentially distracting from the main chances to affect change in their hometowns and communities.

He went on to address concerns about infrastructure, sage grouse, budget issues, small business and other subjects where local control are his watchwords.

"My job is to articulate Montana values as a lone congressman," says Zinke. He grew more specfic in public comments.

"The impact of Bakkan has been devastating [on infrastructure]," he points out, adding that his roots are in the Eastern part of the state. His mother was born in Glasgow.

He touched on regional idiosyncrasies in the state, with passing remarks about the detrimental efftects of certain gubernatorial prerogatives regarding important legislation and the use of veto power.

"Montana is different," Zinke repeated. As a candidate and active politician, he is widely respected for his accessibilty and visibility in areas like Glasgow and Valley County, particularly with regard to veterans' issues and complaints about benefits and other types of institutional support for military personnel. He gets around and takes pains to make himself personally available to his constituency in the areas where they live and work.

McEwen made his purpose for attending clear from the outset. "I'm here to support the Congressman," he states flatly. He was happy to sign copies of his books for a handful of readers (largely young), but his objective was to bring people out to meet Zinke. The pair recorded a broadcast for Aaron Flint (Billings) and Voices of Montana.

Events later in the day included a lunch with the public and other fundraising activities.

McEwen's lastest book, The Sniper and the Wolf (HarperCollins, with Thomas Koloniar), was released in hardcover this month.


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