Plains Economic Development Corporation
Senator Steve Daines came to Baker on Aug. 8 to visit with constituents and hear Montanans’ concerns about a variety of issues. A group of approximately 15 people met with Senator Daines at the American Legion. It is a priority of Senator Daines’s to meet with constituents in all 56 Montana counties every two years. The last time Senator Daines came to Baker was approximately one year ago to tour Baker Lake while it was still empty.
One of the most pressing issues facing Montana is the widespread use of meth in the state. While meth has been a growing problem in Montana for years, there has been a shift in the type of methamphetamine being used. This meth is purer, cheaper, more addictive and more potent. The difference in this “new” meth is where is it manufactured. Traditionally, meth was being cooked locally. Now meth is imported from Mexican drug cartels. Statewide, meth offenses are up 313% from 2012-2016 and make up about 95% of federal drug prosecutions. Senator Daines believes that by securing the United States’ southern border, we can reduce the impacts of the meth epidemic in Montana. He stated “We are a northern border with a southern border problem.” While it is important to prevent the drugs from entering Montana, Senator Daines also emphasized the need for quality recovery services for meth-addicted individuals. He was key in adding a provision in legislation that allowed mothers to keep their children with them, with supervision, during their recovery period because they have found that reunification with their children is one of the great motivators to stay clean.
Senator Daines also discussed the importance of the oil industry both to the community of Baker and to the global economy. He attributes the supply of oil provided by American oil fields, in combination with President Trump’s sanctions on Iran, a nation highly dependent on revenues from Iranian oil production, for the current stability in oil prices. Without the influx of Iranian oil in the world market, American oil prices are able to remain consistent. The Senator notes that because of the sanctions on Iran and their inability to sell their oil, they are unable to fund Iranian terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has resulted in those organizations decreased strength in the Middle East and increased security for the nation of Israel.
Another topic addressed during the meeting was the issue of gun control and the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Senator Daines was briefed by Christopher Wray, the Director of the FBI earlier this week about the shootings. This briefing included the preliminary information gathered about the shooters themselves and their ideological beliefs. He noted that the extreme views of the perpetrators resulted in the senseless deaths of numerous people. It is the position of the Senator that gun control is not the answer for addressing mass shootings. Senator Daines stated that he will always “stand up and fight for Montanans and their 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”
The meeting concluded with Senator Daines thanking each of the attendants for their time and promising that he will continue to fight for Montanans in Washington, D.C.