Tester vote highlights the fact

that health centers are essential


Thank you, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, for ensuring that one in 10 Montanans will continue to have access to essential primary healthcare services in Community Health Centers.

Montanans have long benefitted from Jon Tester’s leadership in the Senate, and most recently in the passing of the federal budget. As I reflect on and try to learn from the recent passing of the federal budget, I continue to read about Tester’s successful battle to secure two years of funding for Community Health Centers that serve over 100,000 Montanans. To me, this stands out as the latest demonstration of his commitment to an essential component of a successful society — the health and wellbeing of citizens.

I write as a Montanan, a health care consumer, a Community Health Center patient, and someone who works in support of the health center mission in rural and frontier Montana communities. For myself and my family, my neighbors and fellow community members, I appreciate Sen. Tester’s attempt to work closely with the other Montana delegates to agree together to vote to protect these essential primary care services.

While I was excited and warmed to see photos and news stories ahead of the budget vote of Sen. Tester, Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte working together publicly to pledge their support for Community Health Centers and essential healthcare services, I was surprised and disappointed when Daines and Gianforte broke their commitment and voted against health centers (among other important services) at the end of the day. I value Senator Tester’s investment in understanding that there are far reaching negative impacts to a community, state and nation when the health of all people is not prioritized, and the exponential value and benefit to society when it is.

Jon galvanized with his vote that health centers are essential in supporting health in our communities, by providing access to high quality medical, oral and behavioral healthcare, treating and preventing disease for all. He recognizes that health centers are working with patients as partners to achieve their health goals, while coordinating care and resources to more fully address overall health of the patient. This healthcare approach helps to achieve better health outcomes, reduce cost to the healthcare system, and allow people to focus less on illness and more on families, their work, and their community.

Because of this, it is vital that health centers continue to be funded beyond this two-year mark.

Senator Tester’s actions to protect health centers spoke louder than other’s words. He continues to earn my vote.

Lara Salazar


May the most constitutionally

honest candidates win the election


We are closing in on another election cycle and the behavior of many, if not most, of the Democrat legislators at our recent State of the Union Address seemed to indicate they hate President Trump more than they applaud American economic successes during 2017. A recent editorial, “Coping with it all” by someone named Pepper (Feb. 8, page 4) gives us another look at this attitude. The first paragraph includes, “Everything I care about is under attack by the regime in power.....all, all are in danger of being torn to shreds. Trying to keep up with the litany of horrible news is like drinking from a fire hose spewing toxic waste.” The writer included the usual liberal progressive concerns of separation of church and state, LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, environmental abuses and, of course, racial justice. And ended with the call for political action to “ our country from its present nightmare.”

I am sorry Pepper is so distraught. Life is good and getting better every month all throughout America. It would be great to be able to talk to him and help him understand all the good that is happening every day, but it really sounds like he just wants to believe he is a victim and wants to be a martyr in some sort of battle. We have a lot of work to do and there are a lot of people, even in good times, that need help and many aren’t yet sharing in the growing prosperity, but a lot of progress is in motion. It looks like GDP national economic growth will reach 5 percent by this June, which will help all of us, no matter our station in life at the moment.

Libertarians and conservatives, like me, are elated American unemployment is at a 45-year low, black and Hispanic unemployment at all-time lows, the recently passed tax reform is already bringing overseas money back, announcements for new manufacturing plants to be built on American soil and bonuses and raises to American workers announced by nearly 300 companies already. I also really like the Trump administration’s repeals of various illegal unconstitutional Obama administration policies such as the Clean Water Rule. A 2015 Government Accountability Office investigation concluded the EPA’s use of Thunderclap (a social media tool) to promote the Clean Water Rule “constitutes covert propaganda” and violated federal law. Obama didn’t stop his EPA from continuing to violate the law, but President Trump is taking care of it now.

I also appreciate President Trump throwing DACA back in the laps of Congress to finally deal with needed immigration reforms and forcing Congress to deal with Obama’s illegal DACA pronouncement rather than just further compound the problem with illegal pronouncements of his own. I understand liberal progressives really don’t care much about constitutional laws, at least from an originalist interpretation of the constitution vs. a fluid relativist changing view of morality and mores.

Fundamentally, it seems our differences are that liberals want to control the actions of everyone, (i.e. where/when we can pray, where/when we can have guns, and what kind, if at all, payroll rules, land use rules on other people’s private property, carbon emission rules, etc.).

Conservatives just want everyone to adhere to our laws on the books, respect each other’s constitutional rights and stay out of each other’s business, starting with our 1st Amendment right to prayer and 2nd Amendment right to self defense.

And that is what will make the next election important, as well as fun and interesting.

The Republican Party is definitely not Tea Party fiscally conservative as I would prefer, but the Democrat Party seems to have moved so far liberal progressive left (Sanders, Warren and Harris socialist left), that we are set up for one side to win and the other to lose pretty big (maybe Hugely?) with this next round. And the two parties are so diametrically opposed in ideology that the concept of electing “middle-of-the-road, reach-across-the-isle” types won’t be in the cards.

May the most constitutionally honest candidates win and continue to help President Trump make America great again!

Larry Stephenson

Paradise Valley