My first involvement in politics was as a protestor. In 2011 I joined the Occupy Wall Street movement and also protested the federal raids of Montana medical cannabis dispensaries. The corrupting influence of big money in politics affects virtually all other issues and I believe in the political rights and speech of all human beings. I am motivated by the principles of Equality, Liberty and the right to Pursue Happiness.
After the 2011 session I realized how much local politics affects our freedoms, environment and economic well being so I decided to learn everything I could about state government. I asked a security guard at the Capitol if anyone was hiring and was eventually taken to the Chief Clerk and hired as a Committee Aide for the 2013 session. In 2015 I returned as a Word Processor and in 2017 I served as a Committee Secretary. After losing my race for the MT House last election I worked for the Montana Conservation Voters canvassing for local campaigns and candidates and then worked as a medical cannabis lobbyist during the 2019 session. I also used that opportunity to testify for other issues I care about like overturning Citizens United and fighting for Native American issues. I have been committed to gaining the skills needed to be an effective leader.
While lobbying for medical cannabis I successfully requested HB 598 to better regulate the medical cannabis testing laboratories. And worked with Republican Rep. Mike Hopkins who represents half this Senate district to get that bill passed into law and better protect medical cannabis patients.
I also testified on bills to allow qualifying probationers and parolees to use medical cannabis, to study the economic impact of Montana's reservations, to legalize recreational cannabis, and to oppose citizens united.
Montana is famous for our great outdoors. We also rely on Tourism and Agriculture to drive our economy. That is why I support building animal bridges and underpasses to protect our terrestrial wildlife and planting shade trees along and covering canals to protect water quality and our aquatic wildlife. I also support net metering and support for those looking to install green renewable energy systems in their homes.
Cannabis should be legalized for recreational adult use and the majority of taxes from it should go to City and County governments to alleviate property taxes. We can protect freedom and provide revenue that doesn't push up the cost of owning a home or paying rent.
Big money from entrenched interests hinder good government at every step. Fossil fuel lobbyists and their donations stop us from investing in renewable energy and modern energy infrastructure. Health insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyies ensure that we have the costliest health care in the world. Arms manufacturers keep us involved in wars older than some of the soldiers fighting in them. If we can ban corporate donations and clarify they are not people we can take control of our democracy.
My father's ancestors have called Montana home for eons. I take pride in my culture and the history we have with the land and animals. This connection drives me to always think of the world we are creating for future generations. If elected I will be a strong advocate for the first Montanans.
Missing and murdered indigenous people, especially women, is a crisis that needs our full attention. Progress was made last session but more must be done. Jurisdictional issues in particular need sorting out.
Buffalo have special meaning to Natives in Montana and Tribal efforts to restore them should be aided not hindered by the state.
Natives in Montana also have respect for fish. Protecting their habitat and providing connectivity is vitally important. Healthy rivers and streams benefit all Montanans.
My tribe, the Little Shell band of Chippewa Cree Indians, recently achieved federal recognition after more than 100 years of petitioning. Now that we are a federally recognized tribe we can buy 200 acres to serve as the nucleus of a new reservation. Since my cousin Gerald Gray is the current chair of the tribe I am perfectly situated to be a liaison between the tribe and state. If elected I will be the first member of the Little Shell Tribe to serve in the legislature.
Montana currently has 7 reservations yet the majority of Natives live in our larger communities. As a Little Shell Tribe member living in Missoula I hope to be an advocate for this under represented group of first Montanans.
Montanans for Progressive Revolution
Rep. Rae Peppers- sponsor of Hanna's Act
Western Montana for Our Revolution
Tara Walker Lyons- inspiration for Tara's law
Mark Anderlik- President, Missoula Area Central Labor Council
More to come
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