Progressive Democrats of Montana endorse

by Pete Talbot

For the June 3, primary election, the fledgling Progressive Democrats of Montana have endorsed candidates in eight legislative races and one PSC contest. The endorsed candidates, all Democrats, will also receive the maximum contribution of $160.

“Some very difficult choices had to be made between excellent candidates,” said Paul Edwards, PDM Chairman. “The endorsed candidates have a proven progressive track record” and “they bothered to return the PDM questionnaire,” he added.

PDM is a statewide membership organization founded in January, 2007. It works for social, economic, political and environmental justice. PDM is not a third party and has filed as a Political Action Committee with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices.

From a PDM press release, here are the endorsed candidates:

1. SENATE DISTRICT 07: PAUL CLARK, TROUT CREEK

2. SENATE DISTRICT 47: RON ERICKSON, MISSOULA

3. SENATE DISTRICT 41: CHRISTINE KAUFMANN, HELENA

4. SENATE DISTRICT 21: NORMA BIXBY, LAME DEER

5. HOUSE DISTRICT 97: MICHELE REINHART, MISSOULA

6. HOUSE DISTRICT 82: MIKE MENAHAN, HELENA

7. HOUSE DISTRICT 73: LARRY CYR, BUTTE

8. HOUSE DISTRICT 49: KENDALL VAN DYK, BILLINGS

IN ADDITION, THE P.D.M. BOARD ENDORSED RON TUSSING OF BILLINGS FOR DISTRICT #2 OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION.

(Full disclosure: I’m a member of the Progressive Democrats of Montana and sit on its board. I was not, however, on the committee that pored over the questionnaires and narrowed the field to the above candidates. The committee did a good job and made some tough decisions. I imagine there are a few other races out there that could have used PDM endorsements. This is the organization’s first foray into the endorsement process and it will only get broader as the procedures are refined, and more candidates are willing to stick their necks out.)

Here is a post by 4&20’s own Jay Stevens which gives some background on PDM. Jay links to mainstream media stories and op-ed pieces. And in 4&20’s constant effort to remain objective, you’ll see some criticism of PDM in that post and in the comments. The last comment you’ll see is a superbly crafted response to the criticism, written by yours truly.

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  1. goof houlihan

    What did they “pour” over the questionnaires? Bong Water? Micro Brew?

    Ron Tussing, eh? That’s interesting.

  2. Hello? J.P. Pomnichowski? Hello?

  3. goof houlihan

    She’s a fine representative in a very tough race and needs lots of support! Very familar with local issues, water issues, zoning and planning issues, has that legislation for emt training in the hopper, and got a boatload of bills passed as a freshman. The Governor spoke extensively about her at the Jefferson Jackson day dinner.

    However, she would not have benefitted from an endorsement of those who were attending the “marx-guevera” day dinner. She needs to claim the middle in a race against a far right candidate who is very active and well supported. Cindy Younkin won that seat for two terms.

  4. petetalbot

    I don’t know what I’d do without you, goof. I’ve changed poured to pored (although baptism by bong water is a vivid image).

    Wulfgar! and goof — J.P. Pomnichowski doesn’t have a primary so no endorsement there, but thanks for the heads up.

    And goof, I don’t know the candidate running against J.P. in the general but if he’s anything like Younkin and it’s a close race, shame on Bozeman. Younkin is a throw back to Montana Republican policy at its worst.

  5. goof houlihan

    No, I mentioned Younkin because she held the seat for two terms, fighting off primary opponents from the far right in at least one election. Younkin was a fine representative of her district.

    JP is the incumbent and Tom Somebody is running against her, and he’s definitely running hard and well. If he can paint her as a far left liberal, he will win, but in reality he is the extremist… much like anyone who’d claim Younkin is “the worst” of anything.

    We aren’t the People’s Republic of Mazola down here except in Wiseman and Phillips’ districts.

    In the last election JP beat the incumbent Bill Warden by a few votes, really mostly by her industry and that he had some other things to do and couldn’t campaign much. I thought both candidates represented the best of Bozeman’s legislative choices.

    Warden’s running in Koopman’s old district. He’d be quite a pickup for the rational members of the legislature.

    Keep the friends of che guevera away from JP. She needs to radicalize her opponent while claiming the middle for herself in order to win. I know her district well, and she’s got a tough fight without being endorsed by the communists.

  6. petetalbot

    Goof, I’m surprised — “Communists” … “Che Guevera” … “People’s Republic of Mazola” — that’s pretty harsh talk.

    PDM is made up of all sorts of people from all over Montana, and we support and endorse candidates with progressive values. Younkin was the antithesis of forward thinking: far-right special interests were her base, if I remember correctly. It sounds like J.P.’s current opponent is of the same stripe.

    If J.P.’s district is so “moderate” that she doesn’t want to engage progressive activists, that’s cool, and if she doesn’t want a PDM endorsement, that’s fine by us, too.

    Good luck to her. Seriously.

  7. goof houlihan

    Just being honest.

    Individual freedom is simply too important to hand over to to the collectivists.

    And you don’t remember correctly. As I said, Younkin was challenged in the primary by the kind of people whose extremism matches that of the “true progressives”, just on the opposite end of the extreme.

    I’m sure Ms. Pomnichowski will make her own campaign decisions about “true progressives”. But it a Missoula kind of district, as I’ve said, it’s been mostly a moderate republican district for years, Younkin, Warden, etc.

  8. goof houlihan

    “it isn’t a Missoula kind of district” I mean to say.

    You say, “PDM is made up of all sorts of people ” you left off “with exactly the same political view”.

    See, a claim of “all sorts” isn’t that impressive to me unless it’s “all sorts of political viewpoints”. No need to tolerate intolerance, you know?

  9. petetalbot

    Now it’s “collectivists” huh? Got any more red-baiting terms up your sleeve, goof?

    By all sorts of people, I mean environmentalists from Forsyth, peace groups from Bozeman and Helena, human rights activists from the Flathead, Missoula organized labor …

    But you’re right about one thing, goof, if (anti-MEPA) Younkin is representative of that “moderate republican district” then J.P. is going to need all the help she can get.

  10. IMHO, individual freedoms are too important to leave in the hands of the GOP, which has a real and negative record on civil liberty, unlike the imaginary abuses of progressive democrats. Name calling won’t change the facts.

  11. Actually, J.P.’s opponent (Tom Burnett) for HD 63 is a nice guy, but would be a poor (read VERY poor) legislator. He is right wing/free market extreme, as Goof has said. Right now, he’s the darling of the Chamber of Commerce, but the best race he could run is one in which he doesn’t say anything. When he does start talking … well, let’s just say I’m waiting for it.

  12. JC

    “Individual freedom is simply too important to hand over to to the collectivists.”

    Ok, I’ll take the (red) bait. First off, anybody who cares about their individual freedom will never hand it off–particularly not to Bush&Co in the form of illegal wiretaps, warrantless searches, elimination of habeas corpus, RealID, watch lists, ad nauseum… nigh, we are not handing over our individual freedoms, they are slowly being stripped away piece by piece in this neo-fascist corporate government we currently have.

    “Collectivists?” When it is clear that the market has failed to deliver its promise of the American Dream to all but a hand-picked few, well then, corrections will occur. Call it what you will, but revolution takes on many forms, and inevitably will changed the political landscape enough to provide the economic security necessary to maintain individual freedom, (social) liberty, and justice for all.

  13. Steve W

    Goof, it seems to me if the candidate in question returned the PDM’s questionnaire, then perhaps the candidate wants the endorsement.

    Even if you don’t want the candidate to get the endorsement.

    I’m not sure how that’s PDM’s fault. Maybe it’s your fault for not offering your advice to the candidate in question in a timely manner.

    On the other hand, maybe the candidate in question doesn’t subscribe to your attempts at name calling and red-baiting. That’s also a possibility.

    I mean, you don’t hold yourself out as a spokesperson for the candidate in question do you?

  14. goof houlihan

    You start with an “if” and end with a rhetorical question, Steve.

    Nice way to say nothing at all.

  15. Kent Madin

    For insight into the mind of JP’s opponent Tom Burnett, go here:

    http://www.boojum.com/extras/BurnettLtr.pdf




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