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

By Ryan Zinke
Zeroing In 

Mission-Focused for Montana


As a 23-year U.S. military Commander, I’ve always been mission-focused, and no mission is too big or too small to take on with everything I have. Whether it’s hunting terrorists in the Middle East, winterizing the house, or fighting for Montana in Congress, I always take the same mission-critical approach as your Representative in Congress.

For the past 22 months, you’ve tasked me with the mission to strengthen Montana’s voice in Congress. It’s no secret that Montana priorities were being ignored. Before you sent me to Congress, we didn’t have a long-term highway bill. The Land and Water Conservation Fund expired. Tax credits for middle class families, small businesses, agriculture and our tribes expired; and a whole host of Montana priorities, like crop insurance and timber reform were simply not part of the agenda. I’m happy to say I successfully fought for, and won, on every single one of these issues.

My opponent likes to criticize me for talking to CNN or bringing the presidential nominee to Billings; but the truth is, our state only has one representative. It’s my job to make Montana’s one voice louder than the 53 from California. I will never apologize for elevating Montana.

In Congress, I write legislation that helps Montana prosper. One such bill is the Certainty for States and Tribes Act, which would end the Obama Administration’s arbitrary moratorium on federal coal leases and give local and tribal stakeholders a seat at the table when it comes to management of our resources. I also led the first real forest reform legislation in a decade. My bill, the bipartisan Resilient Federal Forests Act, will revitalize our timber communities and help prevent the catastrophic wildfires by rewarding local collaborative efforts, fixing the wildfire borrowing problem, and holding special-interest litigators accountable.

Unfortunately, neither bills have been signed into law because Senate Democrats, led by Harry Reid, have dug their heels in and refused to get anything done.

My entire career has been dedicated to the constitutional oath I took to protect and defend our nation. I spent 23 years keeping Montana families safe as a U.S. Navy SEAL. Any of the 100,000 Montanans who have served will tell you that’s not an instinct that leaves you just because you retire from the military.

Before the Paris terrorist attacks, I saw ISIS displace millions of individuals from the Middle East and warned of the security risk it poses - nobody listened. Then Paris happened. Then Brussels happened. Then Turkey and Beirut. Then the attacks of San Bernardino, Orlando and New York City moved to our shores.

By the Obama administration’s own admission, the vetting process wasn’t being completed with 100 percent certainty. In an effort to prevent future attacks by terrorists infiltrating the incoming refugee population, I helped create the American SAFE Act. This bill stops the refugee program until the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security can guarantee that refugees are fully and accurately vetted before coming to the United States. If these agencies can’t guarantee the background of each individual, then the individual is not admitted. I vetted individuals in war-torn areas for decades. I know that just because a file is empty, does not mean the person is not a threat.

The SAFE Act puts American families’ safety first. It passed with a veto-proof, bipartisan majority. Yet again, it met the same fate in Senate, dying at the hands of Senate Democrats.

During an election year, it’s tough to push aside the negative ads and hyped-up rhetoric. I wish both our presidential candidates would stop with the personal attacks and focus on the issues: jobs, the economy, and national security.

I don’t think my opponent is a bad person. I just think she has bad ideas. I do think she cares about our country, but I think we tried her ideas the past eight years with President Obama and they didn’t work.

What this election really comes down to is a simple choice: If you think that Montana needs higher taxes, more expensive energy, restricted freedoms and a weaker position around the globe, then vote for my opponent. If you believe in a strong national defense, know the power of Montana’s clean coal, and think that Montana – not Washington, D.C. – knows what’s best, then I’d sure appreciate your vote.

Ryan Zinke is the Republican congressman for Montana’s at-large congressional district.


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