Okay, folks. First up, Will Hammerquist, Democratic candidate for HD
To begin with, Hammerquist is a native of the Flathead valley. His parents moved to the area in the 1970s. His father started out working on a ranch, then later got into the building business. His mother, a nurse, initially worked in the hospital in Browning. They settled in Creston, where Will grew up. He attended Flathead HS, and then Montana State with a degree in economics and political science.
Hammerquist has an interesting resume. During college, he was a student lobbyist for MSU students; afterward, no doubt influenced and abetted by his father's building business, he was director of member services for the Montana Contractors' Association. After his stint with the contractors, Hammerquist joined the campaign staff of Lt. Governor John Boehlinger, and later served in the governor's office as a policy adviser. His latest gig is with the National Parks Conservation Association,where he serves as program manager for the Northern Rockies regional office, where he's been instrumental in protecting the North Fork of the Flathead River from Canadian oil, gas, and mining activity.
The thrust of his campaign? Jobs.
In case you're not from the Flathead, the county has been struggling with joblessness. According to the Flathead Beacon, joblessness is down from its record-setting mark in March, but obviously double-digit unemployment (which fails to include the long-term unemployed) is a problem.
Hammerquist is campaigning around job creation, proposing ways to bring startup business to Flathead county, find workforce training money, and incentives for keeping money in the local economy. In a short telephone interview with Hammerquist, Will mentioned using more of the in-state lending program money for small business lending (much of money is currently invested in the bond market, which shows lower return than on local business investment). He also stumped for a "made in Montana" campaign, similar to the "Jersey Fresh" campaign.
And he favors giving local and small businesses a break or vacation from the state's business equipment tax.
In short, he knows the needs of his community, and is thinking about concrete ways to address problems.
Don't let the website of his opponent, Derek Skees, fool you. On the site, Skees depicts himself as a reasonable, apolitical "statesman." Nothing could be farther from the truth. A fund-raising letter sent by Skees reveals that he thinks he was "called by God" to run for political office. He's also a member of the divisive and ueber-partisan Tea Party coalition, on whose survey, Skees revealed that he thinks he has a special mission to be a legislator, and besides Ron Paul, the "most influential human being in his life" is the vituperative Father Coughlin of the 21st century, Glenn Beck. Cowgirl also has video of Skees distributing "The 5000-year Leap," which James Conner describes as "Willard Cleon Skousen's notorious tome that's become a bible for the teabaggers."
In the Leap, Skousen argues that the U.S. Constitution is based on the Bible, not on Enlightenment philosophy as most mainstream historians contend. Glenn Beck, like Skousen a Mormon, wrote the forward to the current edition of the book, which is popular among those teabaggers who favor making the U.S. a theocracy.
According to the Northwest Montana Patriots, Skees "...teaches a class on the 5,000 Year Leap and the U.S. Constitution every week to a large group." On his campaign's website, Skees promises to "...measure every aspect of my office through the Founders Basic Principles (Skees' link to The Leap) and vote only to their measure."
If setting up an American theocracy is your cure, Skees is your man.
But then, as Hammerquist himself says, "whacky-ism doesn't create jobs."
Donate. Now. I've set up a LiTW Hammerquist page, and created an easy goal: $300.
This is easy. You folks could do this in your sleep. Three hundred. Donate what you can: five bucks, ten bucks, fifty bucks.
The second, for the Missoula-bound: Will's having a fundraiser in the Garden City on Wednesday. Here's the info from the info:
What: Will Hammerquist for Montana House Event
Date: Wednesday, July 28th
Time: 6:00 PMPlease
Hosts: Kevin & Jodi Hammond
Matt Leow & Sarah Cobler
Ellie Boldman Hill
Three Facts about Will:
~Endorsed by MT Conservation Voters
~Not Accepting any PAC or Corporate Funds
~Works for non-profit conservation organization
Email me for location and other information.