Tyler Gernant For Congress

by jhwygirl

Yeah, I been wearing my Tyler Gernant sticker…and I love telling people who he is: ‘Tyler is our next representative for the Great State of Montana who’s going to take out Denny Rehberg who hasn’t done a thing in 10 years,’ is how I start off.

I’ve had two skeptics right off the bat of my beginning statement say “Really? Rehberg’s done nothing?” (as if “nothing” couldn’t possibly be true), and I confidently tell them yep – nothing. Dennis Rehberg’s proposed two bills – one was a congratulation to Carroll College, the other one was to wish the City of Billings happy birthday – it died in committee.

“Of course he’s good at earmarks, though,” I continue.

I point to Rehberg’s hypocritical stance of railing against earmarks and stimulus money while traveling the state to get his picture take with the big photo-op checks as they’re handed out. Then there’s Rehberg’s calls to decrease spending while calling for tax cuts and how Denny doesn’t – even after 10 years I emphasize – understand basic budgetary principles…which is why (I further emphasize) we’re now in this mess.

Anyways…to get back on topic, because this post is about Tyler Gernant…I’ve had the opportunity to meet and speak with Tyler on more than a few occasions. Gernant is one hard working candidate (I’m betting he’s crisscrossed this entire state nearly twice already). He’ll meet with anyone, and I’m thoroughly impressed with his dedication.

Tyler’s smart, he’s knowledgeable about tax law and tax code and I believe he will go to Washington seeking forward-moving change.

So when Tyler Gernant was making his official announcement at the beginning of this month down at The Wilma here in Missoula, I made sure to leave work early in order to support him. A lovely sized crowd turned out, and while there was buzz in the room because a staffer for Dennis MacDonald’s campaign was in attendance, my only words of advice on that was to embrace the guy – clearly, MacDonald sees Gernant as a worthy opponent, otherwise he wouldn’t have sent anyone.

Gernant gave a substantive speech. That alone was impressive. I didn’t see him use even notes. That’s not to say he did it on the fly – clearly he was prepared. But he didn’t give a speech like this, in substance and in length (and perfectly) without a clear vision of both his own capabilities and of what he wants to accomplish.

If I questioned who I would support in the Democratic primary for Montana’s lone congressional representative that morning, I didn’t after I heard Tyler Gernant announce that evening,to Montana. that he would seek to be Montana’s next representative in the U.S. Congress.

Here are Tyler Gernant’s words announcing his candidacy:

Good afternoon, and welcome to the historic Wilma Theatre on what promises to be a historic groundhog day.  You see, much like Bill Murray in that classic film Groundhog Day, Dennis Rehberg has been reliving the same day over and over and over again since 2001.  He’s been stuck in yesterday, thinking there will be no tomorrow and no long-term consequences for his actions.  Yet, each day we wake up to see bigger budget deficits, fewer jobs, and folks in Washington who think that responsibility means blame.  But today’s different.  Today we can stop fearing Dennis Rehberg’s shadow.  Because today, Congressman Rehberg finally woke up to a new day.  And every day from here on out, he’ll wake up to find that responsibility isn’t about finding a scapegoat, it’s about finding a solution.  And so today, I stand before you prepared to take on that responsibility and declare myself a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. 

As you all know, we’re facing some pretty difficult times.  But I wouldn’t be running if I thought this would be easy.  If this were 2000 and we had a 200 billion dollar budget surplus, when we were creating jobs and growing our economy, I wouldn’t be interested in this race.  No, I’m running because I’ve seen too many of my friends lose their jobs in the last year and a half and have to leave Montana.  I’m running because we have to balance our checkbook if we want to protect the progressive programs that we all hold dear.  Programs like social security and medicare.  Because if we don’t balance our checkbook, we’ll never be able to implement the kinds of progressive programs that our country needs.  But most importantly, I’m running because we need to restore responsibility back to Washington.  And by responsibility, I don’t mean assigning blame.  What I mean is the responsibility to tackle our problems head on and work to find solutions. 

For me that sense of responsibility has been handed down through four generations of Montanans.  My great-grandfather homesteaded up near Whitetail, which, for those that don’t know where that is, it’s a small town in the Northeast corner of the state.  Up in between Plentywood and Scobey.  And as any descendant of a homesteader is aware, it was not an easy life.  From there, my family really fanned out across the state.  I had a grandpa who worked in the smelter in Anaconda and my other grandpa was a truck driver in Great Falls.  Through their hard work, my folks were able to attend Carroll College, where they first met.  After college, my folks found their way here to Missoula, where my dad became a high school math teacher and football coach over at Hellgate and my mom worked at what was then the Appletree restaurant. 

And although I never realized it when I was young, that sense of responsibility had been born into me.  In fact, I can remember back when I was about ten years old; I had set my sights on this little black and white television set.  And since our family only had one TV at the time, this little black and white set meant a lot more to me than just a new toy.  It meant freedom, so that I could finally watch whatever I wanted to watch.  Unfortunately, it also meant sixty bucks. Sixty bucks that I didn’t have.  And since, at that time, my only steady source of income was a dollar a week allowance, it was a pretty lengthy proposition.  Coincidentally, though, the 1992 Presidential election was occurring about the same time.  And since I didn’t have any other TV to watch, I ended up watching those Ross Perot infomercials with my parents.  And I specifically remember him saying that if we have to balance our check books, then why doesn’t the government.  And I thought to myself, “if I have to scrimp and save to buy this little TV, why doesn’t the government have to save to buy what it wants.”  Fortunately, I’ve learned a lot more about economics since then, but that basic sense of responsibility is something that Dennis Rehberg never learned.

You know, when Dennis Rehberg took office, we had over a $100 billion budget surplus.  We haven’t balanced the budget since.  Now we have a $12 trillion national debt, and if you add in the unfunded obligations of social security and medicare, that national debt approaches $56 trillion.  Which means that every American man, woman and child would owe $175,000.  All this from a guy who claims that fiscal responsibility is at the very core of his being.  Yet he voted for a massive tax cut for the wealthy that completely eliminates our budget surplus and returned us to deficits.  He votes to put two wars on our credit card, and then he votes for a prescription drug plan that lets big pharmaceutical companies charge our government whatever they want for prescription drugs, creating one of the single largest deficit increases in our nations history.  Worse yet, he’s pledging to vote against a health care reform bill that has been rated as the single largest deficit reduction bill in the history of our country.

So while Rehberg’s whispering these sweet nothings about financial restraint into our ears, he’s stealing our credit cards and spending money like a drunken sailor.

But you know what, today isn’t about blame, today is about solutions.  Today is about what we can do together to ensure that we have a future.  To do that, we need to address our massive budget deficit.  Unfortunately, there’s no single solution that’s going to wipe the red slate clean and return us to the black.  But there are some things that we can do to stem the tide without threatening our economic recovery.

 First of all, we need to reinstitute the pay go system.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with it, pay go was a system that was in place throughout the 90’s that said that every item of new spending had to be accompanied by a way to pay for it.  Coincidentally, that system expired in 2002 and we all saw what happened.  Our budget deficit returned and began growing at it’s fastest pace ever.

We also need to end the use it or lose it system that pervades the budgeting process for our federal agencies.  Essentially, this system encourages government bureaucrats to spend every penny that is given to them in their budget, because they’re told that if they don’t spend it all they’ll get less next year.  Federal employees are literally forced to take unnecessary trips at the end of the budget year so that there won’t be any money left in the coffers.  It’s a perverse incentive that needs to be replaced with one to encourage our federal agencies to save money.

And considering the dramatic advances in technology, it truly is sad that we don’t have any meaningful and accessible system for the public to see where our tax dollars are spent.  We need to increase transparency in the budgeting process so that we can hold our elected officials accountable when they throw away our money.  To that end, we need to make a comprehensive budget available to the public over the internet.

But you know, the truth is, that all of these things can’t hold a candle to the most effective way to reduce our budget deficit, and that is to grow our economy and create jobs.  As we saw in the 90’s the most effective way to close the budget gap is to ensure that everyone’s working and contributing to our economy.  Only then will we see our economy gain the strength it needs to take us out of these deficits.

And for Montana, the best way for us to create jobs and grow our economy is to invest ourselves in the new energy industry.  And by that, I mean one that is based on clean, renewable and sustainable sources of energy.  Montana has such huge potential in terms of wind, solar, bio-mass, bio-fuels and even some geothermal across the state.  But in order to realize our potential, it’s going to take an investment in a smarter and expanded power grid to ensure that we can transport that energy in an efficient manner.  It’s also going to take an investment in our education system to ensure that we can perform the research and development necessary to fully harness these new sources of energy.

But if we want to make these changes we have to change who we send to Washington.

Since Dennis Rehberg took office in 2001, he’s managed to enact only three of his sponsored bills, and all three of them were to name federal buildings.  Which, when you think about it, means that we pay this guy $170,000 a year, and what do we get for it.  Well, on average, he’ll name one federal building for us every three years.

But you know what, you don’t have to take my word for it, just ask his Chief of Staff.  In fact they did just that.  Last cycle, they asked him what Rehberg’s greatest legislative accomplishments had been in his, by then, eight years in office.  And he listed off a resolution congratulating the Carroll College football team on a football championship and, this is no joke, a resolution wishing the city of Billings a happy birthday, which we later found out died in committee.

We have a right to expect more from our Congressman.  We have a right to expect a Congressman who will work towards the next generation instead of the next election.  So that is why today I am here to ask for your support in this campaign.  Because together, we can kick a lazy Congressman off his couch and create opportunities for Montana’s families and small businesses.  Thank You!

 

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  1. gag me

    Oh yeah, I am pumped. My only concern is a lack of community organizing in his resume, otherwise I am all in. This guy real had what it takes.

  2. problembear

    i would try using correct english and your sarcasm lacks originality…. but who knows… with practice you might get there gag.

    but keep it up. just think of all the fun we will have watching you hone those skills to a fine edge.

  3. gag me

    good won, I mean good one. I’m not sure how to spell it. If I had better english would that mean you might actually add something informative to the debate instead of attacks on grammar. By the way I was serious, this guy is awesome, hope he wins the primary. I am just trying to figure out who to give money to, Tyler or McDonald? Any thoughts?

  4. Lizard

    hi tyler, my fake name is lizard, and i’m a cynical sonofabitch.

    in your speech you mentioned that amazing surplus we once had, and claim to have learned a few things about economics, so i’m curious, do you think the neoliberal policies of bill clinton were good for america?

    do you agree with his financial deregulation, which included repealing glass-steagall, NAFTA, welfare reform, and the corporate giveaway known as the telecommunications act of ’96?

    i only ask because of a deep personal belief that until democrats can address their own party’s betrayals to their constituents, i am unable to be enthusiastic or supportive of their candidacies.

  5. petetalbot

    For those who are curious or still sitting on the fence, there will be a forum on Tuesday, March 9, for the three Demo candidates: Gernant, Gopher and MacDonald (although Gopher still needs to file to be taken seriously, IMHO).

    The forum is sponsored by the Missoula County Democrats and will take place at 7:30 p.m., at city council chambers, 140 W. Pine St.

  6. Bijou

    Fence sitters: Tyler Gernant. Being a personal friend, I know a lot about this guy. His work ethic is unparalleled. He’s no pushover: he speaks his mind. He’s extremely smart. He is focused and knows what he wants – he told me when he was in law school that he was going to run for this position. I have rarely seen him socially since he announced his candidacy – he is buried in his mission. Jhwy’s speculation about McDonald’s uneasiness is right on. McDonald has gone as far as to offer Tyler a position on his campaign! and continues to eye him, not so surreptitiously. Vote for Tyler, for all of Montana.

  7. problembear

    i am no fence sitter. my vote is for Gopher. no man is going to unseat rehberg in this state, but the right woman just might be able to. that is why gopher is my choice.

    also, i have had it up to here with people who “know the ropes.” in politics. we need to throw “the ropes” in a fire pit and burn them. what we need are people with common sense and a sense of integrity and someone who knows what it is like to fight for their survival.

    give me someone with courage and passion over someone who knows the ropes any day.




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