Well I must admit my wife is right about me. I procrastinate and don’t always follow through in a timely fashion. With that being said I would like to submit the following as the first of the slightly belated candidate profiles.
I have decided to start with one of the least understood races in Montana which is the office of Public Service Commissioner. In our area the candidates for the District 1 seat on the PSC are Republican Travis Kavulla and Democrat Don Ryan. Both candidates are from Great Falls and this district extends from Great Falls to the North Dakota border encompassing 19 counties and the cities of Havre, Shelby, Lewistown, Glasgow, Glendive and Sidney. Current District 1 Commissioner Greg Jergeson has termed out and cannot seek re-election. The PSC oversees energy, Telecom, water/sewer, transportation and pipeline safety.
Why is this race important? These are the guys that set our energy policies and I don’t know about you but that affects a big portion of my pocketbook. The former Senator from District 10 Don Ryan is claiming (like most candidates) that he will be a strong voice for Montana. He advocates we “use all of our resources, coal, gas, wind, solar, geothermal, bio-mass and water to become the energy supplier to the nation, Just how, he doesn’t elaborate on. What throws up the flag of caution with me on supporting Don Ryan was the recent endorsement of Ray Peck. Ray said it is important to the voters that Don has been a life-long Democrat because he claims that considering this fact Don would have voted against SB390 which you may recall deregulated the power industry. Is that really so Ray? Don’s brother Bill did vote for de-regulation so who is really to know? Then, as if it wasn’t bad enough to secure the endorsement of Ray Peck along comes current PSC commissioner Greg Jergeson in a letter to the editor last Monday saying Kavulla was recruited to run for this office by none other than the “outspoken and ultraconservative” Republican commissioner Brad Molnar. Considering that Molnar and Kavulla’s primary opponent Jerry Black served in the legislature together and are friends I highly doubt the truthfulness of that statement. What Jergeson fails to mention in his glowing endorsement of Don Ryan is the fact that he himself recruited Scoby Democrat Julie French to run against Ryan in the primary because he detested Ryan. Funny how being the final guy with the big D on your forehead all of a sudden makes him now the best choice.
I listened to a stump speech given by Mr. Kavulla where he was talking about his campaign and the fact that he has logged over 24,000 miles working to get this job and when Mr. Ryan was asked why he hasn’t been working hard to get this position his response in the Billings Gazette was that he has a 7 to 5 job. What is that job you ask? Mr. Ryan is the assistant to his wife in the operation of a daycare in Great Falls. It would appear to me that Mr. Ryan may be qualified to discern the difference between “Huggies” and Pampers” but how is he really qualified for this post? It looks like what is really happening is that Ryan is just seeking a “position” to get away from the ”little darlings” in his wife’s business.
Just for an example of his mind set let’s take a look at some of the bills Mr. Ryan sponsored in his career in the Senate. He sponsored an excise tax of 5 cents per can on soda in the 2005 session, he introduced a bill (SB2) in 2007 which would have mandated that all restrooms open to the public must have paper towel dispensers instead of the air dryers, and on and on with similar such nonsense. Now all of a sudden Don wants you to think he is on the side “of the people” even though he attempted to add costs to the consumer at every turn.
What about the “other guy”? Travis Kavulla is a graduate of Harvard and I first noticed him when the City of Great Falls Electric City Power joined with the group attempting to build the Highwood generating plant. Every time I heard Mr. Kavulla speak he talked with authority and knowledge of the subject. I will confess though that I doubt he knows one damn thing about diapers or paper towel dispensers. This race is so lopsided it is nearly embarrassing for me to even try to compare the lackluster Ryan to Kavulla. Below is a clip of a Kavulla campaign ad. You be the judge