Here’s a great read for anyone following Montana politics, as Congressman Steve Daines (R-MT) sits down for an in-depth interview with Indian Country Today Media Network. In the piece, he tells Native voters: “Whether they vote for me or not, I’ll be voting for them back in Washington.”
Here’s an excerpt:
Daines readily admits that Republicans don’t always do the best jobs at reaching out to tribes, and he wants to change that, modelling good behavior for his peers. In an interview with Indian Country Today Media Network, he explains his current Indian-centric economic focus, delves into his state’s recent Indian voting controversies, and he explains his Cobell land buy-back legislation.
We are fighting for the concerns of Indian country, a lot of which focuses on economic development. Crow has a 50 percent unemployment rate. Chairman Old Coyote told me his first three priorities are jobs, jobs, jobs.
ICTMN: Both you and Sen. Walsh have told me now how important it is for actions to speak louder than words when you work on behalf of tribes. Both of you are implying that you will take more action for tribes than the other candidate. How can you promise that you will really do more than Sen. Walsh?
Well, I think it comes down to actually getting bills moved through committee. I spent 28 years in business, and I look at results. We need to get results for these tribes. We’re starting to make some progress with the Crow Tribe, working on their natural resource issues. They want to continue to develop their natural resources. Philosophically, I believe in standing up for the rights of the states and standing up for the rights of the sovereign tribes. I see those as parallel philosophies. I fight on behalf of the state of Montana every day, but I also fight on behalf of the sovereignty of Indian country and tribal nations.
As Daines reaches out to Native American voters, another Montanan talks about outreach with younger voters.
State Rep. Daniel Zolnikov (R-Billings) was listed to Red Alert Politics’ “30 Under 30:”
What must elected officials and others in positions of leadership do to make a right-of- center message resonate with the Millennial generation?
As an elected official, it is my job to share a message with other members of my generation in a way that is obtainable, applicable, honest, and without rhetoric. On Facebook, I posted each bill I voted on and why I voted on it. Even my least politically involved friends read my posts and told me they felt like they had some type of understanding of what was going on.
I believe our generation can tell the difference between an authentic message and an empty stump speech. We are sick of politicians who act perfect and feel like they have the right to judge their fellow man. I am not perfect, no one is. We are tired of the negative messaging and the politicians who play the political game, not knowing that the political game is really playing them. We want to see someone truly stand for a cause until successful or defeated.