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State House District 64

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    Brian Gabriel Popiel

Biographical Information

What are the most important challenges facing our state and how do you propose to address them?

Which solutions to climate change do you think are most important and most feasible for Montana?

What, if any, specific steps will you take to address inequalities facing women, especially women in minority populations, in our state?

What should state government do, if anything, to provide an equitable, quality public education for all children pre-K through grade 12?

What should our state do over the long term to ensure healthcare access for all?

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Campaign Phone (406) 579-1362
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The biggest challenge facing Montana is undwinding the damage done to our state as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has put a huge strain on government and private budgets, on our safety nets, and on our sense of shared community. Montana needs reasonable, balanced leadership as we try to address all the issues Covid has laid bare. It is also going to take thoughtful outreach across the aisle with moderate members of the opposing caucus in order to ensure that we balance the budget in a responsible and compassionate manner.
First, we can stop the taxpayer backstop of fossil fuel generation such as the purchase of Colstrip 3 & 4 for $1. In the current market, utility scale wind and solar with battery backup has reached parity with all but the cheapest natural gas plants: the Montana Legislature needs to get out of the way and ensure that wind and solar developers are competing on a level playing field with legacy and stranded fossil fuel assets. Montana also needs to work with utilities to ensure that our power grid is modernized in order to handle the challenges of more intermittent power supplies such as wind and solar, as well as to encourage the development of baseload renewables, such as geothermal and biomass.
One of the biggest challenges women face is a lack of opportunities in higher wage occupations-all too often occupations dominated by women are lower wage & status than similar professions occupied by men. We need to ensure that there are ample opportunities for women to enter high paying blue collar jobs, such as construction and extraction as well as white collar jobs like finance.

Women in minority populations face twice as many challenges: while Montana has undertaken a number of positive steps towards its tragedy of murdered indigenous women, the next legislature is going to need to work with the AG & governors office to ensure that those efforts produce real results.
Montana has a long history of excellence in its public schools. In order to maintain & improve on that excellence, the most important thing we can do is to continue to invest in great teachers and quality facilities. The state needs to empower local school districts to offer competitive compensation packages & school environments, including equalization for communities that can’t pay for those things themselves. This is increasingly important as the divide between urban and rural school district threatens to grow, and is likely to accelerate as many of Montana's natural resource jobs & the local property taxes they provide decline in the future.
Undoing Medicaid expansion will be a top priority for a significant number of legislators. The most important thing is to defend the existing program. Furthermore, its critical that the Legislature exercise appropriate oversight of the DHHS to ensure that Medicaid isn’t a second tier offering, but an ‘insurer of choice’ for patients, doctors, and hospitals. Parallel with that, Montanan needs to ensure that our critical access hospitals continue to address the unique challenges of providing health care in our rural areas. Undermining Medicaid expansion both threatens the patients who need care as well as the organizations that provide that care in our rural communities.