Dale Mortensen (yes his cousin is the iconic bronc rider) has announced his candidacy as a Republican for the newly created HD 44 in the Billings Heights. Sandy Wong is running as a Democrat for that office.
The announcement was made at a meeting of the Midland Empire Pachyderm Club (an educational group of the Republican Party) of which he is the current president.
During his announcement Mortensen quipped that he was delivered by the wife of Charley Pride when Charley lived in East Helena. He said the first president he could and did vote for was Ronald Reagan. His political experience includes a one-year stint as a field representative for then-Congressman Denny Rehberg.
Candidate Mortensen started his career in law enforcement with the Bozeman Police Department, then transferred to the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Department, then to the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Department. For the last eight years he has been a private investigator.
Talking of government growth, Mortensen referred to his father’s career working for a solution to the brucellosis situation in Montana. He said reasonable solutions have been proposed but always stymied by “bunny huggers.” And though a satisfactory solution remains unfound after decades of research, the bureaucracy dedicated to the problem as grown dramatically.
Mortensen favors the development of natural resources rather than tax increases and feels that using our state lands to drive the exploration and development of oil and gas production could provide jobs, tax revenue and infrastructure development.
He is a longtime member and supporter of the National Rifle Association, and when asked about his dedication to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Mortensen replied, “shall not be infringed” is not difficult to understand.
To other questions Mortensen replied:
Do you support the Common Core Educational Curriculum: “I do not believe in Common Core or any intervention of the federal government into our local education decisions. I have far more faith in the school board elected by the people of Billings than bureaucrats thousands of miles away coming up with one-size-fits-all solutions.”
Should the Legislature meet every other year just to repeal statutes and rules? “Sure. Why not?”
Will you compromise on legislation you favor or are you willing to let it die and lose it all? “I will not compromise towards liberalism. If I am in the majority, I should not need to cross the aisle to find support.”
What function of government, no matter how large of small, would you be in favor of totally eliminating? Mortensen answered, “The problem stems from the fact that the Legislature only looks at requests for new funding. We need to take a look at existing programs and have them prove their worth. Any duplication should be eliminated and not just rolled into other programs. That is the only way to actually reduce the size of government. It is called ‘zero-based budgeting’ and I would favor that as our new policy.”