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State House District 96

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    Loni Conley
    (Dem)

  • Kathy Whitman
    (Rep)

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) 471-1985
Campaign Email loniconley2020@gmail.com
Nationwide, COVID-19 has highlighted the economic disparities so many had refused to acknowledge for too long. The ripples of this pandemic have left many Montanan’s without employer sponsored insurance options and choosing between trying to afford marketplace plans or pay for housing. The affordable and attainable housing burden in our state continues to worsen as housing costs sky rocket in response to so many people with economic means seeking COVID relief within our state. I am on several local housing research committees to try and identify future plans. I believe housing cost issues need addressed at all levels of government. Access to housing and healthcare are related, we need to recognize this and work towards healthy living goals.
Unfortunately, a push for cleaner energy solutions will likely only be driven by economic pressures and resources. Therefore, I support incentivizing cleaner energy producers and decreasing tax breaks and subsidies for coal, oil, and gas production. Transition to cleaner energy will not happen overnight and needs to take workforce retraining into account. We can’t reverse the climate changes already in progress due to fossil fuel usage, we can carve a better path forward to mitigate future effects.
First of all, I support voting women from minority populations into boards, councils, and politics. We need their voices heard in order to give better representation to the make-up of our state and adequate voice to issues. Secondly, we need to examine how to provide resources to prevent any more missing or murdered indigenous women. This can be achieved through open communication with tribal entities, local agencies, law enforcements and non-profits. At the root of all issues is the need to empower and encourage other women towards individual success. I also hope to eliminate pay gaps by gender and race by making sure we hold employers to responsible to ethical business practices.
Montana lags behind other states who already have public pre-k education. It’s time we start providing this resource to help our working families and provide safe spaces for children to learn and grow. Pre-K should be a part of the education budget in our state. As parents, grandparents and neighbors of children in K-12 it’s our responsibility to vote for adequate school funding in our local districts. At the state level, continuing to provide free school meals for those in need is crucial, especially as we are just beginning to see what will be a huge rise in struggling families and homelessness in all corners of our state.
Our state Medicaid expansion must remain in place and national repels of the Affordable Care Act must be prevented. Coverage exists for many individuals who would otherwise have no insurance options if these resources are repealed. Furthermore, pre-existing conditions should never exclude a person from eligibility for a healthcare benefit plan. In our modern economy people change jobs frequently for various reasons, employees should not forfeit all they have paid into an employer sponsored plan, year-to-date, when switching employers. COBRA insurance is not affordable to practical for most people, we need to find a better portability method for health plans. For continuity of care, health plans should be tied to the person not the employer.
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