©2020 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana
The next Governor of Montana will have to protect all Montana citizens against additional federal encroachment set in motion by the CSKT Compact and left completely unresolved by the Daines bill.
We are convinced that one of the reasons Senator Daines hurried to submit his flawed, un-vetted legislation was to politically “take it off the table as an issue” for not only his campaign, but state level campaigns as well. Let’s evaluate how well that worked out for the Senator:
- Immediate anger from real County Commissioners, legislators, ranchers and farmers in western Montana, who he promised for years that he would never submit this bill under his watch.
- Brought even more opposition in with the transfer of the Bison Range…although that might have been intentional to mask the destruction promised by the CSKT Compact…to get people to accept that monstrosity.
- Realization by thousands of Montanans that the Daines bill did not protect anyone’s water rights but the CSKT, despite its glitzy title and false press promises.
- Generation of hundreds of letters from Montanans to the President warning him about the potential loss of a republican senate seat due to displeasure with Senator Daines efforts, and tens of letters to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs who will hold a hearing on this bill sometime this summer.
- Generation of hundreds of insulting form letters back to Montanans by Daines and Gianforte, creating further division and distress.
- Made it more difficult for his republican buddies AG Tim Fox or Congressman Greg Gianforte to win the Governor’s election because the stench of the CSKT Compact and their support of the Daines bill hangs around their necks too, and the only one who stands for Montana is state Senator Dr. Al Olszweski
- Cemented the Senator’s reputation as being captured by and representing only Indian tribes, and at our expense, out-pandering Governor Steve Bullock for the Indian vote.
How’s that for the “strategy” of “taking it off the table”?
He did get the money he wanted though, and he will win his primary but maybe only by a squeak, especially compared to how much Steve Bullock wins by. That is a number to watch.
But what about the general election?
Even Trump might not be able to save him, as his bill opposes every single priority of President Trump’s America First agenda. Native Americans are also American citizens.
But imagine coming to a rally in Montana and everybody booing Daines, Gianforte, and Fox? Would they dare to embarrass the President that way?
The only way out of this mess is to withdraw the CSKT Compact/Daines bill. But even with that, is it too late for Senator Daines to retain his seat?
The following was sent to newspapers state-wide last week.
The Compact and the Candidates
Regardless of one’s position on the CSKT Compact, and no matter the fate of the Daines-Tester CSKT Compact in Congress, there are several remaining compact-related issues that the next Governor of Montana will face. These issues involve protection of the water rights of all Montanans against additional federal encroachment set in motion by the CSKT Compact and unresolved by the Daines bill (S. 3019).
In problem-solving, Albert Einstein stated that “We cannot solve our problems using the same thinking we used when we created them”. In my opinion, this insight rules out AG Tim Fox and Congressman Greg Gianforte. The CSKT Compact was developed under AG Fox’s watch, and neither recognize that there were or are any problems with the CSKT Compact. Both are avid supporters of the Daines-Tester bill, which only adds more problems onto the original CSKT Compact.
The only gubernatorial candidate that recognizes the work still to be done on the CSKT Compact at the state level, regardless of the Daines bill, is Dr. Al Olszewski. He is not part of that old thinking that produced these problems, and instead would bring fresh, creative, courageous, and unifying leadership to protect the water resources and citizens of Montana.