Change Address

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State Senate District 46

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    Shannon O'Brien

  • Niki Sardot

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?

Campaign Phone (406) 274-3805
Campaign Twitter @Shannon4Montana
Campaign Instagram http://@shannon4montana
We need to learn to work together in a respectful manner to find solutions. Specifically, I hear about the environment, health care, mental health, housing and taxes. The common denominator that can solve all of these problems is high quality education, including early care and education. I have served as dean of Missoula College, education policy advisor to Governor Bullock and was a high school teacher and have seen first hand how the spirit of a child and community grows when we invest in our youngest citizens. More than anything though, people are tired of divisive politics. We simply need to focus on our similarities, not our differences. I will do my homework and bring people together, keeping my ego in check to solve problems.
Although this is a very complex issue, simply put: we need to take courageous action to limit our carbon footprint. Governor Bullock just released the Montana Climate Solutions Plan which convened experts and concerned citizens representing diverse backgrounds and interests to identify actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and find innovative ways to address the needs of workers and communities in transition. We need to find responsible methods to manage our phenomenal natural resources in sustainable ways. With representation of bright and committed public servants and citizens at the table, learning together, we will continue in the right direction, for this and future generations.
There are so many opportunities to address the issues of inequality facing women. First, we need to look at the urgent issue of missing or murdered women and human trafficking that takes place in our communities by increasing capacity for law enforcement to prevent and investigate these crimes, and fund mental health adequately.

The momentum of equal pay for equal work work needs to be continued and lastly, the childcare crisis needs to be addressed. In 2019, Montana taxpayers and businesses lost $86 million combined due to absenteeism specifically due to the childcare shortage.
I have been in public education or education policy for over 25 years. The research is clear: investment in high-quality pre-k is not just what's good for kids, it is the most responsible use of taxpayer dollars when you break down the return on investment: 13% minimum. In their earliest years, children develop 700 new neurons per second! As a teacher, I saw this first hand, as policy advisor to the Governor, I did extensive research in this area of policy. Montana businesses and taxpayers lost $86 million in 2019 due to lack of childcare based on a recent report from UM BBER. Montana is one of a small handful of states that does not invest in our youngest children. We can do better.
Montana, as a frontier state, has such quiet beauty and at the same time we have incredible challenges of reaching people to provide basic services such as healthcare. The most important thing is that we need to continue working together to continue the forward momentum of bringing broadband to remote areas and protecting those with pre-existing conditions and skyrocketing insurance premiums. As dean of Missoula College, our team addressed the nursing and healthcare worker shortage in rural Montana by providing labs and internships in critical access areas. When we are able to work together, and agree that access to high quality healthcare is a basic right for the dignity and well-being of our communities, we will find the solutions.
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