Grant recognizes that access to quality affordable medical care is essential for a healthy, prosperous life and is the foundation of vital communities. Parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) help many people in Montana to get health insurance, either for the first time, or the first time in decades. In town after town, Montanans are coming forward to tell Grant that without it, they would not be alive today. The ACA also provides essential support for rural hospitals, ensuring that all Montanans have access to care in their own communities. Rural hospital administrators are telling Grant that without it they would not be open. Community medicine helps attract and retain small businesses, teachers, a local workforce, and the next generation of farmers and ranchers. These benefits are threatened by undermining the ACA, by seeking to return to the previous, failed health care system.
Instead of partisan politics, Montanans need predictability and a Congress that will work to fix the ACA where it’s broken, while protecting its core mission of making high quality healthcare more affordable and accessible at every step. Grant knows that the best way to find common-sense fixes to the ACA is to bring people together around shared Montana values. Common ground for doctors, nurses, small business owners, and patients together means protecting the things we value most, changing the things that aren’t working, and all sharing in the benefits of healthy Montanans.
Montana’s public lands, stream access, and outdoor heritage are unrivaled in our country and the envy of the world. They are an economic engine and essential to our way of life. Many Montanans live and work here specifically because they value wide open and wild places, and traditions of living on and working with the land. Our great outdoors are as critical to the economy as they are to this heritage, contributing up to $6 billion dollars in consumer spending every year and attracted talented doctors, teachers, and entrepreneurs from around the country.
Access to public land is also one of the greatest assets Montanans leave to future generations. As a former director of two different Montana land trusts, Grant has worked for over a decade to protect working farms and ranches, to expand access to recreational opportunities, and to improve wildlife habitat. Grant knows better than anyone that public lands and private land stewardship are Montana foundations, and that protecting public land is a core Montana value.
As a product of public education, Grant knows first-hand the positive economic and social impacts of a well funded public education system for all Montanans. He opposes any policy that would divert funding from Montana public schools to private institutions. He believes that regardless of how many children people have, whether they have any at all, and what choices families make about their own educational plan, every member of our society must contribute to public education.
As a scientist, Grant understands how important it is for students to have the benefit of a quality STEM education. If the United States is going to continue to lead in creating jobs and confronting some of the biggest challenges facing us as a country, we need to increase our investment in STEM and focus on improving the quality of our education system. What we shouldn’t be doing is slashing funding for scientific research and early education—or allowing the cost of higher education to grow out of reach.
Good education brings benefits to communities and the whole state when our investments return capable, skilled, well-informed children who are prepared to enter the workforce and lead us in the future. Public school funding belongs in public schools. Public schools support communities large and small, giving everyone the opportunities afforded by a good education. Grant believes that when public schools do better, all of Montana does better.
Equal Pay for Equal Work
Every person deserves a level playing field in the workplace and the certainty that a hard day of work will be rewarded fairly. The fact that women in Montana still only get paid 70% of what men are paid in the same position is unacceptable. Montana is also facing a looming workforce shortage, with businesses struggling to find qualified employees. When qualified and capable people know they will be fairly compensated for their effort, they will be more likely to enter the workforce, strengthening the economic foundation of our communities.
In addition to promoting laws that support equal pay, empowering workers in traditionally female and low-wage careers, such as caregiving and service, to negotiate for fair wages and benefits helps workers regardless of whether they are men or women. Grant supports legislation that increases transparency on wages in the workforce and that allows collective bargaining, which are both critical steps toward equal pay for equal work.
Campaign Finance Reform
Grant supports comprehensive campaign finance reform that will increase transparency, overturn Citizens United, and get excessive money out of politics and political campaigns. There is no question that Montanans have opposed corrupt billionaires from using their wealth to influence our elections for decades, and Montana leads the nation in election transparency laws. This is one of many examples where Grant believes that Montanans have great solutions that can be shared with the rest of the nation.
Grant believes that you shouldn’t have to be wealthy or tied to corporate interests to run for office, and wholeheartedly supports legislation that will ensure that all citizens have the same voice in government. Our nation was founded on the ideal of fair representation, and the principles of free speech that underlie campaign spending law must, and can, be reconciled with that ideal.
Investments in Infrastructure
Infrastructure like roads, bridges, and drinking water systems plays a key role in Montana’s health, safety, and economy. So does infrastructure that positions Montana for the economy of the next decades, such as broadband internet and electric transmission lines capable of handling distributed generation from wind and solar power. When infrastructure fails, or even just falls behind, communities can’t keep up in the global marketplace. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, our state scores a C- in infrastructure, making Montana less able to compete for new industries or retain existing ones. One of the basic tasks of Congressional delegations is to make sure that necessary investments in infrastructure are made by the federal government, with the right priorities on projects that serve the greatest needs and have the highest impacts.
As a former engineering geophysicist, Grant has actually evaluated infrastructure in his professional career, and can use that experience to team up with contractors, employers, community groups, and government at all levels to secure the needed funds to improve our roads, bridges, water systems, and more. His experience in building public-private partnerships also helps him to be creative and innovative about addressing the most urgent infrastructure needs in a competitive funding environment.
Funding for Scientific Research
Federal funding for research and development has dramatically decreased over the past five decades, going from almost 10% of the budget in 1968 to approximately 3% in 2015. Investing in research has always kept the U.S. at the forefront of scientific discovery and innovation, inspiring Americans to pursue careers in STEM fields and attracting top talent from around the world. If we want to continue to remain competitive in this global economy we have to prioritize funding basic and applied research.
Failing to do so will mean missing the benefits that come from advancements in medicine, energy, and information technology; more concerning, it could also diminish our strategic capabilities, particularly in terms of supercomputing and cyberwarfare. In Congress, Grant will fight against any attempts to further cut funding for research, and will work to increase such funding in future budgets.