Guest view: Montana Conservation Voters' primary choices

Guest view: Montana Conservation Voters' primary choices

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With another election on the horizon, Montana Conservation Voters has set its sights on protecting Montana’s outdoor heritage for future generations by making some key statewide endorsements.

Our organization’s nonpartisan political action committee has been hard at work reviewing and carefully considering candidates who would serve on the Montana Land Board. Our state’s top five elected leaders serve on the Land Board, which makes critical decisions that affect our public lands and the resources in them. We invite all candidates to seek our endorsement regardless of political affiliation.

In recent days the MCV Action Fund has officially endorsed Bryce Bennett for Secretary of State, Shane Morigeau for State Auditor, Melissa Romano for Superintendent and now Raph Graybill for Attorney General.

Raph is the only candidate in the race, Democrat or Republican, who has taken direct action representing Montanans in court—and winning—to protect our public lands, to safeguard Montana’s premier conservation program (Habitat Montana) and to defend the Montana Constitution, which includes our right to a “clean and healthful environment.”

As a lifelong hunter, I deeply value Montana’s incredibly successful Habitat Montana initiative, which uses a small portion of hunting licenses to fund conservation easements and land purchases of key habitat, as well as hunting and fishing access. These funds are then leveraged by federal and private matching dollars to fund habitat projects across the state, benefiting farmers and ranchers like the Stensons in southeast Montana. Raph fought for them in a battle with the Land Board and ensured they could stay on their multi-generation ranch.

In his role as Governor Bullock’s Chief Counsel, Raph has also protected our state against out-of-state polluters, he’s taken the Trump Administration to court and won to keep dark money out of politics, and he consistently worked to guarantee all Montanans continue to have an outdoor heritage that is the envy of other Americans.

MCV has also endorsed Monica Tranel in her bid for the Montana Public Service Commission, siding with her long experience and deep expertise in protecting Montana ratepayers. Tranel and Graybill are in primaries against strong conservation candidates Dan Carlino and Kim Dudik, respectively. While MCV made these endorsements after careful deliberation, the qualities of Dan and Kim made for relatively tough choices—and that’s something to celebrate for the state’s conservation-minded voters.

Finally, MCV has endorsed two longtime champions in two key federal races: Governor Steve Bullock in the race for U.S. Senate, and former state representative Kathleen Williams in her second bid for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

We’re excited about these endorsed leaders, and we are confident all of them will protect our outdoor way of life, defend Montana’s Constitution, and advocate for the voting rights of all Montanans.

Jock Conyngham, of Evaro, is the board chair of Montana Conservation Voters.

Jack Conyngham of Evaro is board chair of Montana Conservation Voters.


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