Ryan Zinke

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Opinion: Hoping for the best from new Interior secretary


As U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke prepares to serve at the helm of the Department of Interior, he will be in a position to oversee more than 500 million acres of federal lands. During the Montana congressman’s confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, he reiterated his desire to be a “Teddy Roosevelt conservationist.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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At Interior, Zinke should embrace stewardship


Secretaries of the Interior are called to be public stewards. On behalf of all Americans, they oversee our great national heritage of forests, grasslands, fisheries, national parks, wildlife, waterways and mineral wealth. U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, if approved for his nomination to that post, will have the opportunity to prove himself in the long line of great stewards that have preceded him. I wish him well, but there is cause for concern. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Schweitzer: Values unite us, issues divide

The guv

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer showed up on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning to talk about prospects for the Democratic Party. Schweitzer’s name has been tossed around as a possible Democratic candidate to replace Ryan Zinke in the U.S. House of Representatives if Zinke is confirmed as President Trump’s secretary of the Interior. The speculation hasn’t come from Schweitzer, who has kept quiet about his political prospects since early talk about a run for president ended with a couple of ill-considered remarks to the National Journal in 2014. Given how the 2016 race played out, those remarks seem almost comically innocent. But Schweitzer publicly apologized and talk of his candidacy dried up. Continue Reading →

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Tester seeks input on Obamacare

Jon Tester

Has the Affordable Care Act made your life better? If so, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., wants to know. Tester has set up a website to gather input from Montanans about what the ACA, better known as Obamacare, has done for them. The goal is to thwart plans by Republicans to repeal the law once Donald Trump takes office as president. “I know our healthcare system isn’t perfect,” Tester said in a news release. Continue Reading →

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Travel allegations against Zinke resurface

Ryan Zinke

Ryan Zinke’s travel violations while serving with Navy SEAL Team 6 were more serious than previously reported, an online news source reports. Zinke, now a member of the U.S. House, has been nominated to serve as secretary of the Interior under President-Elect Donald Trump. The Intercept, founded in 2014 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, reports that Zinke continued to travel improperly after he was forced to repay $211 in travel expenses for falsely claiming that he was traveling to Montana to scout for training locations. The trips actually were to visit his mother and to work on repairs to a house he planned to live in after retirement, Intercept reporter Matthew Cole wrote. “The offense would normally have been serious enough to have ended Zinke’s career, but senior officers at SEAL Team 6 did not formally punish him,” Cole reported. Continue Reading →

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Spencer may seek Zinke’s House seat

Ryan Zinke

Richard Spencer, Montana’s most visible white nationalist, is considering a run for the U.S. House seat now held by U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., the Huffington Post reports. Zinke has been nominated for secretary of the Interior in the Trump administration. If he is confirmed for the job, a special election to replace him probably would be held early next year. Spencer is from Texas and spends a lot of time in Virginia, but he claims Whitefish as his home. He said he would run only if he thinks he could win, but he noted that his entering the race would draw national attention to him and his movement. Continue Reading →

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Zinke’s mixed, or mixed up, record on environment


To say that Ryan Zinke has a mixed record on the environment may sound like saying that pouring a shot of tequila into a gallon of orange juice makes a mixed drink. U.S. Rep. Zinke, R-Mont., is the apparent nominee to serve as secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. His confused record on public lands, climate change and America’s energy future is drawing predictable outcries, but he may turn out to be the most environmentally sensitive member of President Trump’s cabinet. True, that’s in part because Trump is filling top jobs with people who tread around the environment like a fresh cow patty. The secretary of state nominee has spent his career with a company that funded climate skepticism. Continue Reading →

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Opinion: ‘Entitlement’ critics, please meet Jane Doe

Consider the case of Jane Doe.

Politicians, pundits and other smart alecks make me peevish whenever they bloviate about “entitlements.”

And more annoyance is just around the corner as campaign noise gives way to policy debate. How the entitlements arguments proceed is an open question. Paul Ryan, speaker of the House of Representatives and anti-entitlements smart-aleck-in-chief, favors reductions; President-elect Trump has been coy. (more…) Continue Reading →

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TPM: Zinke serving in ‘Snow Job Caucus’

Ryan Zinke

U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., has been placed in the “Snow Job Caucus” by Talking Points Memo. The caucus, according to TPM, consists of members of Congress who have used “Word Salad to Avoid Giving a Position” on House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan to replace Medicare with some sort of private insurance and voucher system. Zinke “told a TPM reader that there was no plan to phase out Medicare, therefore he does not support a plan to phase out Medicare,” the liberal web site reported. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., was placed on the “We’ll Get Back to You:” list of those “whose offices were caught unaware, or claimed they would pass on constituents’ concerns.”

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., was listed as opposing the Medicare changes. TPM disputed Zinke’s claim that there is no plan to replace Medicare: “What Zinke’s office says isn’t true. Continue Reading →

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Taking potshots at 2016 election


An old newspaper joke says that the job of editorial writers is to go onto the field after the battle is over and shoot the survivors. The election is over; let the shooting begin. ♦ Cheapest shot: Democrats ran ad after ad pointing out that Greg Gianforte comes from New Jersey, as if failure to be born in Montana disqualifies candidates for public office. (more…) Continue Reading →

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