My run to be your state senator for Senate District 32 began on a cold February afternoon knocking on voters’ doors. Since then I have spoken with several thousand voters and have learned a great deal about the issues important to them. Voters are not happy with the continual rise in property taxes. At the same time, they expect the delivery of essential government services. The solution can be found in a comprehensive review of our overall tax structure.

Almost 100,000 additional Montanans now have health insurance since Medicaid was expanded in 2015. Voters appreciate the importance of access to affordable health care and think we should re-authorize expanded Medicaid in 2019. Nearly all recognize the importance of our public schools to our state’s future. They want to ensure we adequately fund our public-school system and maintain the high-quality education we currently offer.

Many Montanans have been affected by the cuts in the 2017 special legislative session that reduced services for mental health, and our disabled community members. They want those needs met. Voters love our public lands. Like me, they want to hold on to every acre and ensure proper access to those lands. They oppose the transfer of federal lands to the state because they don’t want to take on the immense management costs – and they recognize the risks. They don’t want five elected officials (i.e., the State Land Board) deciding what lands we keep for the public.

Despite the acrimony in national politics, Montanans still share many of the same core values and know how to move beyond differences to create enduring solutions. The message I received at your front door is clear and well defined. With your vote on Nov. 6, I will deliver that same strong message as your state senator.

Pat Flowers

Belgrade