By Kay Braddock
Three Republican candidates are vying for the state senate district 20 seat, which covers all or portions of six counties from Dawson to southern Powder River and Carter Counties. With no Democrats running, the June 8 Primary Election results will determine who will serve in the four-year term state senate seat.
Although Carol Lambert’s name will appear on the Republican ballot, Lambert announced several weeks ago in a letter addressed to area newspapers that she was dropping out of the race due to family health issues.
John Laney lives in Miles City with his wife Candy. The couple has two grown children, 27-year-old Stephanie and 24-year-old Brian and two grandchildren.
Laney’s father, who was born and raised in Miles City, moved the family from California to Miles City when Laney was 12-years-old. Laney graduated from Sacred Heart High School in 1975. He previously worked at Pine Hills Youth Correctional, KATL Radio and has currently served as the executive director of the Miles City Area Chamber of Commerce for the past four years.
Laney points to an act rather than react philosophy that he says needs to be implemented at the legislature.
“My biggest and almost sole purpose for running is economic development,” Laney said.
Laney recounted Montana Department of Commerce’s decision to let go of five regional development officers, including one officer located in Circle. The department opted to have the office centrally located in Helena.
“I guess that’s what tipped me over the edge and made me decide to run,” Laney said. “If they think so little of what we’re doing over here, that they don’t even keep somebody around, that doesn’t speak well for our future.”
Ensuring the economic viability of smaller communities is not only important to each small community, Laney said, but to larger eastern Montana communities like Miles City.
“Every time a little town goes it’s secondary income that we lose too,” Laney said.
Eric Moore lives in Miles City with his wife Lea and their two children 9-year-old Maci, and 6-year-old Andy. Moore, a Colorado native, attended Montana State University, studying agriculture business. He moved to Kansas where he worked for Continental Grain Company for three years. Moore returned to Montana and has lived in Miles City for the past 15 years. He is co-owner of Solaris Feeders.
Moore illustrates his primary issue points as three legs in a stool. Promotion and defense of agriculture is one issue Moore hopes to address if elected.
“All of the old hands that the people who have been in the legislature over the last 20 years will tell you that there’s not near as many boots under the desks as there were 20 years ago,” Moore said.
Moore stressed the importance of representatives understanding agriculture issues.
“There’s a lot of people who make a lot of really bad policies with regards to how it affects agriculture and they do it just simply because they don’t know anything about it,” he said.
“Americans, and Montanans to a lesser degree, but still are, are just woefully ignorant of where there food and fiber comes from,” Moore said, noting most are just uninformed about how current legislative decisions may affect producers.
Addressing Montana’s business climate and economic development is another concern Moore wants to handle, in particular concerns over Montana’s current tax and regulatory environment.
He points to the energy development occurring in Northern Wyoming and Western North Dakota.
“We’ve got the same natural resources,” Moore said.
With an expected $200-400 million deficit in the next biennium, Moore’s third concern is getting the state’s fiscal house in order.
Ray Roerick was raised on a dairy farm in central Minnesota. He served in the U.S. Air Force for eight years. Having developed a lifelong career in all aspects of the water well industry, Roerick moved to Billings in 1995 where he worked for 2M Company, a wholesale water well parts company.
He and his wife have lived in Broadus for the past 12 years. Together they have six grown children and 23 grandchildren.
“I’m a very conservative person,” Roerick said. “I do not like government intervention into our lives.”
“I strongly oppose taxing our natural resources,” Roerick said.
Roerick points to Montana’s need to have a more friendly business environment.
“We need businesses. We need jobs,” Roerick said. “The future of Montana, as far as I’m concerned, is our youth.”
All three candidates expressed a favorable view of responsible development of the Otter Creek Coal tracts in eastern Montana.
Published June 2, 2010