By Tess Fahlgren
Truth Nukem 

The Truth About Rob Quist: A Regular Guy's Money Problems

 


If you’ve watched television lately you might have seen the attack ads against Rob Quist, the Cut Bank man who is running for Congress in the upcoming special election. I remember when I was little, campaign ads like that would come on TV and both of my parents would mutter in disgust – not at the content, but at their existence. The red screen and dark voice missed the mark.

Out here we learned respect from childhood. Some men still take their cowboy hats off when they shake a lady’s hand. You don’t know when you’ll have to call someone to help get your cows in or pitch in with a branding, so openly spreading rumors about a regular guy’s money trouble feels wrong.

Rob Quist has been facing an onslaught of attack ads during this race for Congress and I’d like to address them.

The heaviest line of attack against Quist is his credit card debt. Quist openly discussed these allegations with the radio show Newstalk KGVO. He says that after throwing his back out lifting heavy equipment, he wasn’t able to go on tour with his band. Therefore, he lost his insurance and had to pay for a back surgery out of pocket. When this put the family close to broke, he couldn’t work enough to make up the bills. They tried to sell off part of the ranch but the bank blocked the sale. He’s now trying to sue the bank and is hoping to use the settlement money to pay off the remaining debt.


Quist said that in 2011, the year he went through these medical problems, he couldn’t work enough due to his surgery. Because Quist’s critics learned that he played 30 shows, they paint him as a liar. They forget that he was planning a big tour that he couldn’t go on, which would have been many, many more than 30 shows and a much bigger paycheck. Thirty shows in a year wasn’t enough to pay for the major back surgery on top of regular expenses.

The insurance system is what made Quist have the money troubles, so he supports a better one. In fact, it seems like most of Montana does, too. Under the ACA, the amount of Montanans without health insurance fell from 20 percent to just over seven percent. The new healthcare bill that just passed will most likely reverse that. It is crafted to negatively affect the elderly and the poor, while benefiting the very wealthy and the upper-middle class (without pre-existing conditions). The average Montanan makes about $50,000. This is not the class of folks who will benefit from the new healthcare bill.


The ACA wasn’t perfect. It seems that everyone agreed we needed to work on a better bill, but the one that has come isn’t the best option for the average Montanan. We need a representative with incentive to fight for the best bill for us, real Montanans.

Quist is the best option not because he wears a cowboy hat or even because he was born in Cut Bank. The amount that he’s hunted in the last 16 years does not constitute how Montanan he is. The fact is, he understands real Montana. He calls for “unity and respect for each other.” Those of us who have lived in rural communities know that unity and respect are absolutely key.

When we discuss political candidates as if they are supposed to be perfect, we forget that we are asking them to represent imperfect people – us. A multi-millionaire cannot represent me because he knows nothing about what I’ve gone through. Rob Quist addresses issues that affect me personally: making college loan debt easier to deal with, protecting public lands and improving the healthcare system. He is not interested in redirecting state funds to private schools, which would further damage the already struggling rural schools we have in place.

With the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument suddenly in danger of being privatized, we need a representative in Congress who values our public lands. He has spoken out against land grabs and trusts Montana farmers and ranchers to know what’s best for their land.

As for guns, reading interviews and watching video live stream from The Billings Gazette, I got the feeling Quist is completely content with the current state of the gun laws in Montana. His off-hand remark about registering fully automatic weapons is not a major talking point for him and certainly not something he’s lobbying for. He simply said that they are meant to kill people, so maybe a registry would be okay. Other weapons, however, he has said he sees as a part of Montana life.


The attack ads against Quist paint a relatable, regular guy as a debt-ridden liar. His guitar has been used against him. This is laughable, especially because of how many local old-timers mourn the loss of casual musicians. “Everyone used to play an instrument,” I’ve heard many times. But now that same trait is being used to paint our best candidate as a hippie. Please don’t let this tactic work.

Rob Quist is a man who will do his best to fight for working Montanans - us. He shares our values, he shares our history, and he wants to share our future.

 
 

Reader Comments
(1)

SusanEstep writes:

Seeing this today made me proud to be born and raised in Glasgow Montana!

 
 
 

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