Lincoln-Reagan Republican Dinner hosted in Fort Benton
February 26, 2020
On February 16th, the annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner was held at the Montana Agriculture Center in Fort Benton. The event began at 12:30 in the afternoon, and almost every Republican candidate was there. This year they served appetizers at a buffet table instead of the usual dinner. Many people came and enjoyed the speeches, along with getting to know our Republican candidates.
The State Representative and the State Senator opened with short but well-thought-out speeches. Afterward, the first of many auctions began. Many great things were sold, including a painting of the twin towers after they fell and a patriotic quilt.
Next, the 2020 Candidates for U.S. House Representatives spoke, keying us all in on their hopes and goals for the upcoming election season.
Joe Dooley began with a glance into how he grew up. He was raised in Dillon and joined the political race because of the agriculture prices. He said, " Farm country is in trouble; we need more cowboy boots under the desks in D.C." Joe would also like to see free-market principles and much better healthcare for our fellow Montanans.
Corey Stapleton was previously our Secretary of State. He also became a Naval Officer after graduating from Great Falls High. He would like to point out that he is "from Montana and for Montana." His speech was short but quite well given.
Debra Lamm was; next, she also gave a shorter speech. However, hers was more about what she sees in herself, and why she thinks she makes a great candidate. Debra is fighting for freedom, just as hard as she fought for education these past years. She says, " We need a strong Republican woman in congress."
Matt Rosendale served previously as state auditor and, while doing so, brought back Medishare to Montana. In his short speech, he talked more about his plans for the upcoming years. He would like to see lower rates for healthcare, and he says, "Promises made, promises kept."
Next, we moved on to the 2020 Republican candidates for governor.
Greg Gianforte began by telling us about his newborn grandchild and thanking his wife for being there. His speech was filled with jokes and a short story that moved the room. Greg told us that he had been a Montana businessman his whole life, and he says that we need a businessman as our governor. He has made more high wage jobs in Montana, and that is also his goal for the next term. " I am committed always to defend life, as it is precious. And I will always defend our 2nd amendment", he says.
After him came Tim Fox. He began by thanking everyone for coming and giving us a summary of the basketball game the night before in Fort Benton. Tim Fox has been our Attorney General for eight years now. He feels like he is ready to move up the ladder with the support of Montana. He wanted to point out that he will keep his promises.
And finally came Dr. Al Olszewski. His family homestead on the other side of the Highwood Mountains. He is an orthopedic surgeon in Kalispell, and his goal is to keep legislative agencies in check. He wants to bring the legislative branches back into balance. He spent years fixing and putting broken soldiers back together. He thinks that health insurance hurts his patients sometimes more than what is physically harming them.
The two candidates for Attorney general spoke next:
Austin Knudsen says that you need quite a bit of experience as the top law enforcement officer. He gave some statistics showing that since 2013, crime rates have grown exponentially. Austin is
running has a 5th generation Montanan, and has been the county attorney in eastern Montana. They deal with a lot of Methamphetamine, and he says that it is the biggest reason for the crime increasing. He wants someone with experience to be an Attorney General.
John Bennion would like to say that he is the first pro-life and pro-2nd amendment. He says that we need an experienced candidate and not a career politician for an attorney general. John says that we need someone who knows what the Department of Justice does. He thinks they need to focus on a mission instead of just jumping from job to job. "What are we going to do about the crime rate?" He wants to fix the government overreach, not only local government overreach but also our country's government. He wants to say that he is the most pro-life candidate in the race, and he wants to fight for it.
Our Republican candidate for State Superintendent this year is Elsie Arntzen. She believes in fighting for the children and believes that not everyone has to go to college. She wanted to remind everyone of what it was like to go to school. Elsie wants to bring back more tradition than before. Math, reading, science, etc. she says that she loves her job and wants to lead children in the right direction.
The Republican candidates for Secretary of State this year are Bowen Greenwood, Scott Sales, Forest Mandeville, and Christie Jacobson. They all gave short, but well-written speeches about how they aim to help Montana grow as a state.
And the two republican candidates for State Auditor are Troy Downing and Nelly Nicol. Troy is a Christian, a veteran, a husband, and a republican. Nelly has had over 20 years of insurance experience; she was also raised in a marine corps household. Both want to decrease health insurance rates and see Montanans quit struggling with debt.
All three County Commissioner District #1 Republican candidates were present and gave short but sweet speeches on how they can fix our roads and help with the A.P.R. Free-Roaming Bison problem. The three candidates consisted of Rick Darlington, Daren Shuster, and Beau Pegar.
Last but not least, a representative from Steve Daines read a letter from him, addressed to the audience. He gave news about how President Trump had beat the impeachment trials. He told the audience about the new trade deals with our country's allies. "Our economy is booming, and I.S.I.S. is gone"- a quote from the letter read to the audience. His message made quite the impact on the room; there was cheering and clapping.