Kathleen Williams brings Solutions Tour to Polson
POLSON – Democrat Kathleen Williams, a candidate for the state’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, spoke to about 45 people at Sacajawea Park in Polson last Monday as part of her statewide Solutions Tour. She’s in a close race against Montana State Auditor Matt Rosendale for the seat, soon to be vacated by Rep. Greg Gianforte, who is running for governor.
Williams told the crowd her team has tallied about 78,000 miles crisscrossing Montana during her campaign. Her stop in Polson was part of her 2,000-mile, six-day, 26-town Solutions Tour.
She travels in a camper with her dog, Danni, spending nights in public parks and campgrounds and visiting with voters in outdoor settings. Her travel choice is emblematic of her commitment to “keep public lands in public hands.” And during the coronavirus pandemic, “it’s how I stay safe,” she said.
Williams, gesturing to the backdrop of Flathead Lake, touched upon her own background – a 37-year career in natural resources and conservation with an emphasis on water planning and policy.
“Water really is the liquid gold of the West,” she said. “Part of why I love working in water is you have to bring really diverse interests together to find win-win-win solutions to really difficult situations.”
Williams leaned on the skill of consensus building during her three terms in the state Legislature. “I love the challenge of bringing people together and working with people of all political stripes to focus on issues important to Montana.”
She enumerated the three main issues that Montanans have told her matter the most: fixing healthcare, spurring economic growth and protecting Montana’s outdoor heritage.
Williams said her family taught her the “values of hard work, public service and making your own way.”
As the daughter of a World War II veteran and the wife of a Vietnam-era veteran, who died in 2016, “I feel a very strong commitment to veterans and service members,” she said. “I want to make sure they have the opportunities they’ve earned and that we’ve promised them.”
Her mother developed early-onset Alzheimer’s when Williams was just 11. “My father and I became her caregivers for eight years until she died, so I know what a healthcare crisis can do to a family.”
She supports improvements to the Affordable Care Act that would include allowing people 55 and older to buy into Medicare, and advocates allowing the federal government to bargain with the pharmaceutical industry to lower drug prices. The latter move alone, she said, could save $11 billion annually.
“We need a leader in Congress who can go there, be strategic, be frugal, be focused, cut through hyper partisanship and get results,” she said of resolving the healthcare impasse.
Williams is also a major proponent of campaign finance reform and has refused to fund her campaign with money from corporate political action committees. She’s adamant that politicians need to meet face-to-face with their constituents.
“I really want Montana to have a higher standard for this office,” she said. “It’s the people’s house – that’s why the terms are so short. And you need to meet with people, you need to know that you’re representing all of Montana – not just the people who voted for you, not just your wealthy donors.”
If elected, she vowed to return “honesty, integrity and stateswomanship, in my case, to our lone seat in Congress.”
Learn more about the candidate at kathleenformontana.com.