One of the most hotly contested races in the western United States is for the newly restored Western U.S. Congressional District which features three candidates; Republican Ryan Zinke, Democrat Monica Tranel, and Libertarian John Lamb.

Tranel appeared on our Talk Back show on Thursday and had the newly expanded phone lines slammed for the entire hour from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

One of the first topics was about the ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ which purports to save money on medical expenses, but Tranel said one glaring exception was help for diabetics with their insulin, which she blamed on Republican opposition.

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“The new ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ allowed Medicare Part D to negotiate drug prices and the proposal to have insulin it would be part of that and be reduced, as (the caller) suggested, was in there and the Republicans rejected that,” began Tranel. “So I mean, obviously we have to get more votes. You know, we have a member on my team who has Type One diabetes, something you live with your entire life and you can't live without insulin. This is just about money. They are just using our pain for profit and that's wrong.”

Tranel provided her view of the fentanyl crisis in Montana.

“With respect to the fentanyl itself and how it's getting here, it's being smuggled,” she said. “A large portion of that from the data that I read was it's over 70 percent of the people who are operating are already legal citizens of the U.S. What is happening with these drugs coming across the border is about smuggling. It's about the cartels.  It's getting these substances here illegally and we do need to solve that problem.”

Tranel said she and Libertarian John Lamb have been holding debates and forums all over western Montana.

“Our campaign has asked to do debates in all of the 16 counties and in the two reservations, and we've done three so far,” she said. “We did one this week at Pablo at the Salish Kootenai College. So, thank you, Tracy McDonald, and the College for hosting that, which was really more of a forum. We did a debate here in Missoula County, and we did a debate in Madison County hosted by the Madisonian.”

Aside from one debate in Missoula, Tranel slammed Republican Ryan Zinke for not being a part of the other debates scheduled.

“I believe in representative democracy and that means that I represent you and I need to know who you are,” she said. “Zinke has told us how much he values us because he has not shown up. He doesn't value our voice. He doesn't value Montana. This is a stepping stone for something else, a way to get a paycheck from Conoco Phillips from his lobbyists, friends, and from his rich boy buddies. This is not a job to serve the people of Montana, otherwise, he would be showing up and he's not.”

Zinke will be on the Montana Morning News Show on Friday morning from 7:10 to 7:20 a.m.

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