Lack of response to ‘false allegations’ leads rancher to choose Kuntz

Letter to the Editor
Thursday, October 18, 2018
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Ray Kuntz and Matt Wald are running for Montana’s 22nd Judicial District representing Stillwater, Carbon and Big Horn counties. In hearing them speak, I am struck that we cannot go wrong with either man. Their answers are constitutionally-based, thoughtful, and demonstrative of their intellect and love for the law.

However, I came into the room with a bias. As a fourth generation ranching family, we tend to lean towards Wrangler jeans, a nice hat and all the ethics that go with it. I favored Wald’s clear agricultural roots. I watched the camaraderie between the two men and it was refreshing. These are two good men.

But once the campaign began, Wald’s supporters came forward with false allegations against Kuntz of donating to one party and thereby not being impartial (there is a Helena Ray Kuntz who was the actual culprit). A similar attack came forward in the Big Horn paper criticizing Kuntz for his long-term relationship with Judge Blair, a shared mentor that both men speak publically about.

Judges should not be politicians. They are elected to be impartial and exhibit integrity, equity and fairness. Especially given the friendship between the two men, I expected Wald to publically refute the false allegations. To fail to do so reflects the dirtiness of partisan politics, which by definition calls into question Wald’s caliber as a judge. Not everyone who wears a hat gets to be called a cowboy. It is earned and reflective of a set of values and integrity; that your word is good and you will stand up when something is false.

Wald’s silence cuts deep. I will be voting for Ray Kuntz this election because a judge is not a politician. They need to be deeply committed to truth and integrity – to speak up when something is false, especially when silence disproportionately benefits yourself. Hat or no hat, I vote for the man.

Which brings me to the Tester/Rosendale race. As Montanans, we are fiercely independent and we expect that in Washington. What drives Democrats crazy about Tester is that they can’t count on his vote. He votes for Montana and not along party lines. For Montana agriculture, the backbone of our state’s economy, this is vital. Seventy-five percent of our wheat is exported internationally and China is our sixth most important customer. China’s retaliatory tariffs against Trump’s trade wars have already cost Montana wheat growers a 20 percent reduction in prices. As the only farmer serving in the U.S. Senate, Tester understands firsthand the ramifications to agricultural policy and Montana’s economy. He is the fifth most conservative Democrat in the Senate and is the eighth leading senator to introduce bipartisan bills.

To back Trump at the cost of Montana is inexcusable, and that is exactly what Rosendale has promised to do. I take Rosendale at his word and I will not be voting for a man who will sell Montana to policies that cripple hard-working Montanans. I stand with Tester, and his capacity to honestly represent Montana and our unique economy on the national stage.

Jael Kampfe, fourth

generation Montanan

Lazy EL Ranch,

Bearcreek

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