by jhwygirl

Each morning, we can all get downtown via free shuttle buses being provided by the city for all delegates and press and people in limbo, like me. I still haven’t written about yesterday’s ride – but I thought I might write about today’s.

I mentioned this morning, the delegates are getting pretty comfortable. Some of them are sharing rooms – and it all has the air of a college reunion. Not all are legislatures, so they don’t all work together all the time, but it is clear that they know and like each other quite well.

And No – they aren’t really wearing “regular old t-shirts” – I know I said that earlier – but I certainly don’t want ya’all getting the impression they’re down here on vacation. This stuff really is hard work. There’s important stuff to do for the next 2 1/2 months…and you can tell they mean business.

I didn’t get out of here until about 11 a.m. this morning – which put me on a shuttle with JP Pomnichowski, Michele Reinhart, Julie French and Anthony Jackson.

Anthony is a fine young man from Billings – 26 – who is currently working on Steve Bullock’s race for Attorney General.

Michele is our local HD-97 state house representative – who is running for re-election, BTW. I find her to be very much keyed into understanding the how and why behind things. Hell, I almost feel like she’s interviewing me at times. It’s all good, and I don’t mean that to sound bad – it isn’t. She’s my representative, and she’s very interested in my perspective of things. How could an active voter not like that?

Julie French is really a firecracker. You get the sense, from the get-go, that this is a woman that does not take “no” for an answer. That people – men and women – kinda sit there and nod in agreement when she speaks, and that when she tells you that ‘this is the way this is going to be,’ then, that is the way it is going to be.

I won’t tell you who told me, but I hear they call her Grandma. I assure you, it has nothing to do with her age.

Julie defined what a good legislator is – and she was clear to say that it didn’t matter if it was a city council person, or a state legislator or someone in the federal level. A good legislator is a good listener. “They have to listen to people. They have to want to listen to people,” she said. Julie then cited Jon Tester as an excellent example of someone who exemplifies a good legislator.

We segued to Hillary and Obama. Julie was wearing both an Obama pro-military sticker and her Hillary pin. Michele was an Obama girl from the get-go. The topic came up of the media focusing (or over-emphasizing) the Hillary supporters who say that they will not vote for Obama.

“I can’t understand how people can vote a single issue,” she said. “There is simply too much at stake to do that.” She went on, saying that a legislator has to address the needs of everyone that they represent – not just those that elect them.

I couldn’t agree more. We would all benefit from moving away from being parties of extremes.

Julie, BTW, represents the Scobey area, HD-36. Scobey is up there in the NE corner of the state, right along the border.

She spoke to the importance of healthcare – not only in the pure sense of proving healthcare to the community, but the importance of the jobs that it brings to the community. She cited the role that healthcare provides for jobs in Scobey. The healthcare industry, she said, is the largest employer.

In Scobey, immigration issues play an important role, too, in both healthcare and veterinary care – something that is very important, very necessary, and often overlooked in small rural communities. Scobey relies on Canadians to provide healthcare – they have to come down from across the border – and without them, Scobey and its citizens would be at a loss.

The current difficulties brought on by Homeland Security rules have placed hardships on places like Scobey. Green cards are being delayed – sometimes for years – and when it comes to healthcare – or large animal veterinary care – these types of things should not be occurring, and our government should be doing something to help solve these issues.

Public land issues are important to both Julie and Michele – I do recall Michele having sponsored and ushered through last years legislative session a bill that would allow the state to take over weed control on grazing leases when the lease holders weren’t responsible. Her bill allowed the state to do it and then collect back the costs – and Julie pointed out that her county is something like 25% state lands.

We’ll have to work on getting Julie French a website.

Or maybe a blog. I like what she has to say. You would to.


  1. James

    Just a quick note to the author. I would think that if you were going to be writing a blog on a site that everyone can see and being from the state the the town that Julie French is from that you would at least spell the name of the town right. I am not from Montana and I know how to spell it…it is ScobEy not Scoby…how about doing a little research before hand if you are not sure.

  2. Richard Nelson

    Couple things I would like to add. First of all, thanks to the person who corrected the spelling of Scobey. :-) One always likes to see his home town spelled correctly no matter how small it is. Second, although I am a Republican, I am awfully proud of my Big Sister Julie. :-) Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I may disagree with her on most issues but I could never say anything against her desire and drive to help my home state.

  3. Yeah, James. I’m an idiot.

    Richard – Thanks for the comment. I found Julie very passionate and straight-talking. She’s a no-hold-barred gal, and I’m now a huge fan.

  4. petetalbot

    Hey James, re-read your comment before you go criticizing other’s spelling and research — typos, non-sequiters, dangling participles. Give me a break.




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