Archive for March 10th, 2010

by Pete Talbot

Knowing nothing of Melinda Gopher before the forum, I was impressed by her depth, her knowledge of the issues and, mostly, her passion.

When asked why she hadn’t filed yet and why her campaign was, at this point, lower key than the other two candidates’ campaigns, she responded, “I’m building intrigue.”

I wouldn’t call her the “winner.” All three Democratic Congressional candidates showed their strengths but Gopher gets the inspiration award. And, of course, any one of the three would be so superior to our current Congressman.

Dennis McDonald talked about his credentials, his ranching experience, his support from organized labor and his ability to work across the aisle. He also emulates the Schweitzer/Montana populist style in his campaign persona.

Tyler Gernant billed himself as an outsider — a young newcomer who touts “life experience over political experience” and “represents everything that isn’t Washington.” He called himself “the anti-incumbent.”

This was the first forum to be held where all three candidates attended. It was sponsored by the Missoula County Democrats and about 75 people showed up for the 90 minute presentation.

Gernant seemed to me to have the tightest policy proposals, from taxation to trade to the deficit. A Republican fellow I ran into at the forum said the he was the most impressed by Gernant, for what that’s worth.

McDonald had a strong opening stump speech. He’s the party’s highest profile candidate and is adapting to his role. But he also wasn’t above questioning the party status quo — he had problems with the Tester wilderness bill and was aggressive on health care reform.

Gopher talked about growing up on Hill 57 in Great Falls (I’d never heard of it — doesn’t sound like one of the Electric City’s most prestigious neighborhoods). The sixth of seven children, she called herself a “scrapper.”

All three were strong pro-choice supporters. All three opened with jobs being a priority. All three expressed disappointment with our current energy policy.

And all three were gracious toward each other, although Gopher, sitting in the middle, said with a smile that she was ready to take on Rep. Rehberg, “as soon as I dispatch these two guys sitting next to me,” which got a chuckle.

Here’s some other info I gleaned: Gopher said she wanted to “steer the Democrats back on track.” McDonald made local references to the closing of Smurfit and Macy’s — always a good move. Gernant touted a pay-as-you-go policy to rein in debt.

Gernant spoke of this being a “transformational time” to change how business is conducted in Washington, and that he’s poised to take on the challenge. He said it’s time to “move away from divisive politics” and become actively involved in finding solutions.

McDonald mentioned that he’s visited all 56 counties in Montana, shaken a lot of hands, and his work effort and “lifetime commitment” to Democratic policies make him the best candidate to take on Rehberg. He also said his main platform would be “empowering people.”

Gopher advocated for single-payer health care, tackled immigration reform and disparaged our continued role in questionable wars. She also called herself “the most improbable candidate.”

A final note. As I’ve said time-and-time again, I am not a reporter. If you want more accurate quotes, a more objective view and more depth, tune into MCAT’s channel 11 on Sunday, March 14, at 8 p.m. for a replay of the event.

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by jhwygirl

Cities around the U.S. are getting creative in attempts to score one of Google’s test sites for ultrafast broadband service.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. blogged…

Let me stop there. The Mayor of Memphis blogs to his community. It’s a simple wordpress site, just like the this one here. Just want to make sure ya’all take notice of that…and, come to think of it, didn’t Engen, in a past life, write for a paper?

Getting back on subject….

The Mayor of Memphis is going to his city and asking them to submit YouTube video. He talks about his vision of the impact superfast high speed internet would have on his city.

Topeka is renaming itself Google for a month,

Goodness, the pressure.

Do we need to put a Google up there on the hill?

Hasalyn Harris? We know you do film….I think you should do something humorous.

Jill Valley? You are assigned the perspective piece.

Who else can we call out here? Councilperson Jason Wiener? I’m thinking someone should put you on camera. Just about everything I hear you say is gold. Maybe get with Jill Valley. Mayor Engen? – you’d be great with Hasalyn’s piece.

Pete Talbot? You’re assigned a 7-10 minute YouTube – maybe a comparative piece of Missoula and Seattle? Go with the coffee, kayak, bike commuting and hiking the hill kind of stuff. The scenery – the people? You might even have some Seattle in your archives, no?

Any other ideas out there folks? Chop chop – get after it.




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