Democrat and Republican Share Opposing Views on Montana Issues
Tuesday was Democracy in action on KGVO’s Talk Back program with representatives from the Montana Democratic Party and the Missoula Republican Party on the show.
First, Robyn Driscoll, chair of the Montana Democratic Party, spoke in support of President Joe Biden and his handling of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“I am a firm believer that the United States’ response to that has been powerful,” began Driscoll. “President Biden has been working with international leaders assembling the most powerful united group of allies to support a fellow democracy. It seems to me like Putin is being pushed into a corner and he's trying to figure out a way out.”
Driscoll also slammed Montana Congressman Matt Rosendale for his failure to vote in favor of funding for Ukraine. KGVO related its conversation with Rosendale, in which he and two other Republicans refused to support the bill as long as the southern border remained out of control.
“His explanation is utter baloney,” she said. “That’s that's apples and oranges. You can support Ukraine and still make your point about bringing forth legislation or voting in favor of other legislation that that doesn't even match up. It makes me even more angry that he would give that as a reason.”
Driscoll was asked about a recent news story on KGVO in which County Commissioner Josh Slotnick stated that market forces could not be trusted to help Missoula build affordable housing.
“When the median price of a home in Montana and in the largest cities basically is about $500,000,” she said. “The average person cannot afford that and the person who is coming here to work at the Yellowstone Club, there's no way that they can afford that either.”
She expanded on the topic of affordable housing.
“It's obvious that there's a housing crisis, and the market has not delivered the number of affordable homes that the state needs,” she said. “Therefore local governments and communities should have the right and the power to enact their own zoning after listening to their constituents, just the same as local governments should be able to enact their own COVID policies.”
As a counterpoint to Driscoll’s comments, Chair of the Missoula County Republicans, Vondene Kopeski, volunteered to fill in for the ailing State Republican Chairman Don Kaltschmidt. Kopeski addressed Driscoll’s enthusiastic support of President Biden.
“I can't imagine how tough it was for her to say that Joe Biden is not a weak president when his numbers are as low as they are,” began Kopeski. “I was speaking to someone yesterday that was saying, ‘I'd really, really like to know who the 30% of the United States voters are that approve of Joe Biden’. Nobody can approve of the situation when gas prices are what they are, what they can approve of a president who was turning his back on what's happening in Ukraine.”
Kopeski then provided her own opinion of County Commissioner Josh Slotnick and the Democrats currently in office in the city and county of Missoula.
“We have current county commissioners who, whether you believe they're trying or not, and I don't, have created the problem that they're now saying they don't know how to solve,” she said. “It is because of the policies of the current county commissioners who have operated this, the City and County of Missoula as a free for all for anybody that wants to come here and have taxpayers pay for them. For years and years and years, they have created the problem that Slotnick is now saying he can't solve.”
Kopeski wrapped up by promoting Missoula Republican candidates running for office.
“I was at a meeting about a week ago and heard that the felony crime in Missoula is up 69 percent,” she said. And you're going to be hearing more from Republicans about this in the upcoming election. People have to step forward. We are stepping forward. We filed 27 Republicans for office in Missoula County yesterday. It's our intent to get every one of them elected.”
The interviews with Driscoll and Kopeski provided an opportunity for KGVO listeners to hear the viewpoints of both major parties.
Click here to listen to Tuesday's Talk Back program.