From March 8 edition of The Madisonian

Wagner still ignoring needs of constituents

Dear Editor,

Isn’t it sad that with all the issues facing Montana and House District 71 that Mr. Wagner would still rather focus on the Birther Bill instead of what the issues are facing not only this house district but the State of Montana. If Mr. Wagner had been doing his job, Sheridan would have a much needed sewer project going; the Varney Bridge project would be started. These two projects were at the top of the list and all they needed to be funded was support from our representative and it didn’t happen. Look at the economic benefits the Ruby and Madison Valleys missed out on.

There are other issues like the wolf, brucellosis, MSTI, sportsman issues, and the list goes on. Wouldn’t it be way more productive to be supporting the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Twin Bridges than worrying about whether or not the President has a birth certificate. Just think of the economic lift this would bring to Twin Bridges and all of southwest Montana. We certainly need all the help we can get.

Representing ones own ideology instead of representing the people must stop.

Ray Shaw

Candidate HD 71


Far right politicians looking to revise history, ignore intent of Constitution

Dear Editor,

Our House District 71 representative and others who aspire to far-right ideology love to cite our U.S. Constitution as supporting their contempt for our federal government. They report that the founding fathers wrote the Constitution to restrict the power of government and protect state’s rights. Wrong, as usual.

The Constitution can be understood in the context of what it replaced and why. It superseded the Articles of Confederation, which granted broad authority to the states, and left a weak national government. The articles termed the fledgling United States “a firm league of friendship,” leaving it without a framework that would keep the several states in a union, a necessary system of central authority. The founders recognized, after Shay’s Rebellion, after there was no way to pay for the Revolutionary War, after each state wanted to print their own currency, that the articles were unworkable and a threat to the survival of a nation.

Recklessly, the articles declared, “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence and every power, jurisdiction and right which is not by the Confederation expressly delegated.” Very few powers were delegated to the federal government. The Confederation, resting only on good faith of the several states, had no power to collect taxes, defend the country, pay the public debt, let alone encourage trade and commerce. The resulting chaos led to the movement in 1787 to draft a new governing document, the U.S. Constitution.

Tea-party activists miss that point of our history when they cite the 10th Amendment. The founders stated “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the State respectively, or to the people.” It was intentional that there were far fewer powers left for the states. The truth is that the Constitution, as written and amended, represents the most important expansion of federal power in American history. The founders were advocates of replacing the Articles of Confederation and designed the Constitution as a document to establish the supremacy of the federal government. The 10th Amendment amounted to a sop to mollify the anti-federalist bloc that was trying to block ratification of the Constitution.

The anti-federalists are still here and still trying to dismantle portions of both the U.S. and Montana Constitutions to suit their anti-government ideology. See the record of the misguided 62nd Legislature, which attempted so many unconstitutional proposals: to nullify juries (as Rep. Wagner again boasted about in his recent news release), to nullify powers of local government, and absurdly, federal government through their “coordination” legislation.

Right-wing activists, including state and local representatives, seek to impose a re-interpretation of our Constitutions. Pretending to “love” our Constitutions while attempting to nullify their intent is hypocritical and self-serving. Please be an informed voter and challenge these wacky and revisionist ideas.

Pat Bradley

Twin Bridges

Working towards solutions at the Ennis School District

Dear Editor,

This is a letter to announce my candidacy for one of the open trustee positions on the Ennis School Board and to discuss the issues I believe are the most pressing and challenging. I have outlined six issues below and have also commented on my views of each situation. The first three I will address as a whole.

1.     The need to improve relations between the public and the school board

2.     Attorney General’s opinion letter regarding the funding of the new school

3.     TRS findings regarding the contract and payment of benefits to Doug Walsh

To say there is a lot of discord in our community surrounding these issues would be an understatement. The only way to get to the end of this is going to be to involve ALL interested parties in a clear and respectful dialogue. There are many differing opinions, but each person’s opinion needs to be heard and considered if we are going to reach a civil and acceptable solution to the problem at hand.

This is not going to be an easy or painless process, but few things worth doing are. It is going to require the participation, cooperation, civility and respect for other’s opinions.

There is currently too much finger pointing, blaming, interruption at public meetings, and general hostility toward our neighbors. This needs to stop. Immediately. Let us set a good example for the students to follow by being respectful of differing opinions, resourceful in our solutions, and inclusive of all interested parties. We must channel our anger and frustration into resolve and fortitude as we work toward comprehensive solutions to these problems.

4.     Recruitment and hiring of a new superintendent

This process is currently being undertaken by the school board and will hopefully be concluded before the election on May 8. I am sure the school board would welcome all community comments as to what requisite qualities will be necessary for our new superintendant to possess. I believe the new superintendant will need to have strong leadership, the ability to listen to all parties, and the courage to make difficult decisions.

5.     Continue to improve our school through the support of our teachers and faculty to give the students every opportunity to succeed

I believe Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Hilton are to be congratulated for providing leadership and focusing on the education and development of the students in their charge, especially in light of the current school board/community environment. The many teachers, coaches and other volunteers must also be commended for their hard work and dedication. It is my hope that we can solve the issues facing us and once again move the focus of the school board to providing the best education and development experiences for the students.

6.     Implement a plan for the future of the Adult/Continuing Education program in Ennis.

The community and the board need to decide what kind of program we want to build. With the funding and local knowledge available, we should be able to have the finest Adult/Continuing Education program in the state. To work toward that goal, we need a plan to get there, starting with an operating budget for classes, a concrete and achievable set of goals for the program, and a vision for where the program is heading.

I thank you all for your continued support, consideration and hopefully your vote in May.

Josh Vujovich

Candidate for Ennis School District Trustee

Why do we need a Madison River Recreation Plan?

Dear Editor,

With very broad and controversial information/surveys and no real clarity of who we are managing the Madison River for, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is plowing ahead with their Madison River Management Plan.

In this day of big government management, where the “process” seems to be failing socially and financially every time we turn around, do we need another agency to govern our recreation? This community and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks both seem to be a little short on budgets these days. Is it sound economic policy for Ennis and the surrounding area as well as Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to manage the Madison River based on perceptions and supposed social conflicts in which our local wardens have failed to produce documentation of?

Based on their own information, this plan took flight Sept. 30, 2011 from negative responses of two surveys:

Roughly 20 resident, self-proclaimed, “avid fisherman” who received a random mail out survey in region 3 (encompassing a huge 8 county area)

Roughly 20 landowners who were disgruntled with the number of fishermen they encountered on the river near their property.

Yet in these same surveys 80 to 100 percent still answered that the “over all fishing experience” was very acceptable or acceptable. Based on Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks surveys and their own admission that they could have gathered more and better information before they rush into a management plan, one can find themselves asking the question, why?


Todd France

Blast and Cast Outfitters

Chris Gentry

Madison Foods



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