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Politics Former Montana Representative Alan Doane

Published on March 5th, 2017 | by Thompson


Republicans whine, Democrats solve problems

At the Glendive Ranger-Review’s candidates forum, I saw firsthand how Republicans and Democrats approach governance. In short, Republicans whine about all the things we can’t do, and Democrats provide solutions for all the things we can’t do.

All I heard from Republicans Alan Doane and Steve Hinebauch was how we can’t fix problems, and all I heard from Democrat Mike Ruddy was how we can. Doane went as far as to say that as long as there’s coal in the ground we should dig it up and burn it instead of accepting the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan will shut down Colstrip, Montana.

“We should be proud to harvest from our Earth,” he said, adding that he couldn’t see how hydroelectric power isn’t green energy. Well, it’s not green energy because building a dam displaces animals from their habitats for good, and many hydroelectric plants utilizing reservoirs release methane into the air — the same greenhouse gas released by natural gas drills and fracking, which destroys our ozone, warms and raises our waters and produces more volatile weather patterns.

“We’re not going to run these things with fairy dust and unicorn horns,” Doane said. Republican candidate for Montana Senate District 18 Steve Hinebauch was equally pessimistic.

“I don’t see how we can save the planet when (China’s) building plants faster than we can shut them down,” he said, adding later that the state “doesn’t have a funding problem” but a spending problem. Again, providing no solutions to the monetary issues facing the state, and not stating one specific cost he would cut.

Ruddy did something neither candidate could. He provided a solution, and while it wasn’t articulated as well as it could have been, the solution is viable. Research into molten salt reactors has taken off for good reasons. MSRs run at higher temperatures than water-cooled nuclear fission reactors, and can be used to dispose of nuclear waste, such as those nuclear arms sitting in leaky silos more than 50 years old out at Malmstrom Air Force Base. Oh yeah, and nuclear reactors are safer than coal-derived energy. According to Forbes, producing one petawatt hour (quadrillion watt hours) of energy using coal kills 170,000 people. Nuclear energy production is responsible for 90 deaths per petawatt hour.

Instead of bitching about losing the one thing Montana relies upon for revenue, Doane could have used his time in office looking into solutions that Ruddy provided on stage. And while Doane and Hinebauch were well-spoken on-stage, Ruddy was the only one that seemed remotely optimistic, because he actually had real answers to the questions asked.

Ruddy also thought performance standards for politicians would be a good idea, and I agree.

“Instead of saying no, it can’t be done, and asking for money, find ways it can be done. If they can’t find a way to get it done, they’re not being effective,” he said.

Mike Ruddy will get my vote this November, and if you care about the condition of your Earth and children’s future, he should get yours, too.

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About the Author

When Thompson isn't busy writing for Go Gonzo Journal, you may find him drunk at the movie theater with Professor Heinous or stirring up trouble in a bar with his attorney. Thompson also enjoys skiing, hiking, camping, and watching and betting on baseball and football.

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