*This week a 5 minute video update with Sen Fielder from the Montana capitol can be viewed at: <
Investing in Independence
By Senator Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls, MT
Just like farmers, we reap what we sow. This age-old"law of the harvest” never changes.
Sadly, in much of rural Montana many families are suffering from poverty and hopelessness. Although we are literally surrounded by a world of natural wealth, we can’t access it. In Northwest Montana we have abundant precious mineral deposits, vast timber lands, and endless outdoor recreation opportunities.
But the bulk of these resources are locked up on federally controlled lands.
And since the federal government doesn’t pay property taxes on the 29 million acres they own in Montana, our taxable land base is that much smaller. Needlessly, local governments are strained and our region consistently tops the state’s poverty and unemployment charts.
Bad government is the single greatest obstacle to freedom and prosperity, while good government can be a tremendous facilitator of opportunities. Here in rural America, we have the knowledge and ability to put our abundant natural resources to work in a manner that balances environmental quality with economic productivity. We simply lack the political knowledge and courage to do so.
Whiles some clamor for me to invest my time in expanding welfare programs for the able-bodied, my efforts in the legislature are geared at real solutions to the poverty problem. I am investing in independence by working to remove bureaucratic barriers, restore hope, and unleash opportunity so Montanans can live free and prosper as self-reliant individuals. I want able bodied people to have access to better paying jobs, not a lifetime of poverty driven welfare.
It should never be our goal to place able-bodied people on welfare.
Offering welfare instead of opening opportunities for good paying jobs does not encourage self-reliance or facilitate prosperity. On the contrary, it dangerously increases dependence on government and diminishes the
motivation to provide for oneself. These tendencies have a stark history of destroying individuals as well as entire societies.
This is perhaps the greatest philosophical difference between Republicans and Democrats. I believe we can do better as independent, self reliant individuals. And we must if we are to thrive as a society in both the short and long term. I am working on a number of pieces of legislation to pump up the economy and protect the life, liberty, and property of Montanans. If Democrats choose to work with me, there is no limit to how much good we can do.
There are many efforts I am engaged in, including protection of data privacy, prevention of child sexual assault, tax relief, reforming healthcare, controlling invasive weeds in our waterways, defending people’s property and water rights, expanding self-sufficient energy system opportunities, and resolving the major shortcomings of the CSKT Water Compact.
Restoring access, health and productivity on public lands remains extremely high on my list as it may be the single most tangible thing we can do right now to enhance the freedom and prosperity of rural Montanans. Here are a few snippets of the public lands related legislative efforts I am working on this session:
Public Lands Package:
· strengthen local citizens control over public land management decisions
· improve public access, environmental health, and economic
productivity on our public lands
· provide relief to counties adversely impacted by federal land ownership
· aid counties in incorporating local objectives into state and federal land use plans and actions
· fully fund payment in lieu of taxes (PILT)
· develop long term plan to transfer certain federal lands to the state
· maximize scientific integrity as relates to environmental policy and regulation
I can not promise it will be easy, but investing in independence is definitely worth the effort.
While the legislature is in session over the next few months, please catch my daily updates and connect with me at www.jenniferfielder.us, find me on facebook at www.facebook.com/jennifer.fielder.522, or leave a
message by phone at 406 444-4800.
The entire Montana legislative process can be followed online at leg.mt.gov/css/default.asp
Thanks, and God Bless,
Senator Jennifer Fielder
Montana State Senate - District 7