DINNER HELPERS — From the left are Parker Larson, Riley Yeager, McKenna Arvidson, Riley Larson, Jette Pruttis and Jaggar Hofstad. In the back are Congressman Steve Daines, Naomi Yeager and Blake Larson. All are the Pondera 4-H Shooting Sports youth who helped pick up plates and serve dinner at the Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner at the Pondera Golf Course on Friday. I-O Photo by Buck Traxler
By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
Friday evening Republicans from four counties attended the annual Lincoln-Reagan dinner at the Pondera Golf Course.
State Senator Llew Jones SD-14 took on duties as the M/C for the evening with the featured speaker being newly elected Congressman Steve Daines.
The Congressman has ties to Conrad with his grandfather being born here. He told the diners, “I’m enjoying the job, you know that Montana has the largest seat in the country.”
He noted, speaking on the national debt, “The Chinese own $1.3 trillion of our debt, we owe them $1.3 trillion.”
While he gave out that information, there was no solution to bring the debt down.
Border reform, he told the people is a big issue and congress will be working on that in the next 90 days.
Bill Gallagher from the Public Service commission was on hand as well.
Jones asked if he would like to say a few words and Gallagher replied, “Good evening ladies and gentlemen.” Chuckling, Jones said, “That’s a few words.”
Cynthia Johnson read a letter from Cory Stapleton who is running for the U.S. Senate.
On hand was Senate candidate Champ Edmunds HD-100 in Missoula.
He served in the U.S. Navy as a submariner. He has a degree from the UofM-Missoula in Accounting and Finance and when not serving in the Legislature, he is a banker, specializing in loans to Montana veterans.
He said he is running for the Senate because, “Washington needs a new direction. We need to get our government back to basics.”
Jones said there was a balanced budget in Helena and the legislature would not leave without one, as time for the session rapidly winds down. He also talked about being a target for ‘dark money’ for campaign ads. A special steak dinner was created by Doctor Dick Kinyon and the tables were bussed by the members of Pondera 4-H Shooting Sports youth who also led the Pledge of Allegiance. The invocation was done by Ted Kronebusch.
It wasn’t known at the time of the dinner that Sen. Max Baucus (D) was going to retire and not run again for office after 40 years.
Baucus has a history of voting with corporate interests, taking millions from Wall Street, insurance companies and lobbyists.
That leaves the door wide open for former Gov. Brian Schweitzer to toss his bola tie into the ring.
The political season just got a lot more interesting.