Valley Views for Dec. 22, 2021
Consider Gary Buchanan
One of the first lessons I learned on becoming a state legislator was to make it as easy as possible for other legislators to agree with me. I saw how those who demonstrated both competence and good will were taken seriously and achieved the greatest success in accomplishing their goals.
Several decades ago, there were relatively few ideologues intent on imposing their own narrow ideas of how things should be done. Now we sadly see that there are many more elected officials who self-righteously attempt to impose their sometimes-extreme and narrow governing philosophies. One of those is Montana Congressman Matt Rosendale.
I have found Matt to be friendly and congenial in the few times I’ve crossed paths with him. In his public role, however, he has aligned himself with the fringe “Freedom Caucus” whose members are among the least influential in Congress. They are acclaimed only for their fanatical refusal to work with other legislators with whom they disagree.
With one of the smallest legislative delegations in Congress, Montana’s congressional delegation must always be working for Montana, and not for the benefit of Trump or any other outside influence. I’ve had both former Democratic Congressman Pat Williams and his Republican counterpart the late Ron Marlenee tell me that when Montana last had two Congressmen, the two of them actively represented Montana interests together. They actually were able to accomplish more for our little state, largely because they represented different political parties, and therefore a broader network of congressional colleagues. Sadly, though, their bipartisanship was a quarter of a century ago.
Now the people of Montana’s new eastern congressional district have an opportunity to replace their ineffective representative in Congress with an independent problem-solver who has a lifelong record of successfully working with others to get things done. Few other congressional districts in the country this election year will have this opportunity. Independent candidate for Congress Gary Buchanan has impressed most of us who have known him over the decades as someone who should run for public office. I think he might have run before now, but Gary has always been greatly respected by those of us who have known him as an independent thinker, and that has kept him from aligning with either political party.
Gary has told me that these turbulent and troublesome times have now impelled him to enter the political arena. He believes, and I strongly agree, that his brand of principled and balanced judgment, coupled with the people-skills he has honed over the course of his successful careers in private business and administrative government, uniquely qualify him to effectively represent Montana in Congress.
Numerous opinion polls show that people across the country are now identifying as independents in greater numbers than ever before. That points to a possible re-alignment of political parties, and I am one who believes that is coming. Much is at stake, now, and much is uncertain. Gary Buchanan offers a real and positive choice to central and eastern Montanans. Montanans are famously independent-minded people. Here’s a rare opportunity to elect a Congressman who is, too. This choice might not come again.
Bob Brown is a former MT Secretary of State and State Senate President.