23 US Representative Ryan Zinke, first-term Republican, travelled 1000 miles to make a whirlwind bus trip through the state on October 12-14. He met with interested local residents in the Fallon Library meeting room on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.
By Sherry Phebus Vogel
The first issue addressed by Zinke detailed how he voted in favor of HR 702, a bill to lift the crude oil ban. It passed on a bipartisan vote of 261-159. He stated, “Ending the self-imposed sanctions against exporting our own oil is a no-brainer. It will create thousands of Montana jobs and will lower gas prices.” He also said, “The bill would affect foreign policy by keeping Russia and Iran in check.”
Zinke’s prognosis concerning the Keystone Pipeline: “It isn’t sunk yet. It will be signed in, although the next year and a half will be tough.”
Zinke demonstrated resolve in opposition to President Obama and bureaucrats when he referred to them as “those who have hijacked the US Constitution.”
A chunk of the 20-minute Q&A period was spent fielding questions dealing with VA medical care. Zinke stated, “The VA will not benefit by just throwing more money at it.” Instead he stated, “This is more of a management problem.”
When the Times asked the congressman to share “three concerns, other than oil-related issues, that are on the minds of people from eastern Montana, he replied, “Water, water, water.” He was referring to concerns regarding Montana’s paddlefish population, irrigation water disputes affecting tribal treaties, and groundwater studies dealing with coal mining. He also mentioned immigration concerns on the US/Canadian order along the Hi-Line of our state.