Election Guide '22

The candidates and issues on Montana's 2022 ballot

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Al Olszewski
2022 Republican candidate for U.S. House District 1 (West)

Al Olszewski

Former Kalispell state senator, orthopedic surgeon

Olszewski, 59, is a former state lawmaker and orthopedic surgeon. He grew up in Montana and is a resident of Kalispell, where he lives with his wife and family. Olszewski will appear on the ballot as “Al ‘Doc’ Olszewski.”

Before entering politics, Olszewski served 13 years in the U.S. Air Force as a surgeon beginning in the 1980s. He served three consecutive terms in the state Legislature, first as a representative in 2015 and later as a senator.

Olszewski unsuccessfully campaigned for the Republican nomination for governor in 2020 against eventual winner Greg Gianforte and former state Attorney General Tim Fox. His campaign issues include conservative immigration policies, increased election security and reducing government spending and inflation.

This biography was compiled with information from Olszewski’s campaign website and legislative archives.

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Reporting on this candidate published by the Montana Free Press newsroom.
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Campaign finance

Based on reporting required by the U.S. Federal Election Commission. See individual candidate pages on the FEC website or the FEC's race summary page for more information. The FEC summary page may include candidates who haven't filed for the ballot in this race with the Montana secretary of state.
Candidate
Raised
Spent
Remaining
Ryan Zinke (R)
thru 3/31/22
$2.5M
$1.3M
$1.2M
Cora Neumann (D)
thru 3/31/22
$1.2M
$388k
$878k
Al Olszewski (R)
thru 3/31/22
$678k
$313k
$365k
Monica Tranel (D)
$675k
$409k
$266k
Mary Todd (R)
$168k
$61k
$107k
Tom Winter (D)
thru 3/31/22
$95k
$79k
$16k
Mitch Heuer (R)
No FEC filings on record
$0
$0
$0
Matt Jette (R)
No FEC filings on record
$0
$0
$0
John Lamb (L)
No FEC filings on record
$0
$0
$0

On the issues

The material shown below was solicted from candidates via a written questionnaire in May 2022. Responses were limited to 1,000 characters and edited lightly for punctuation and spelling. Responses have not been exhaustively fact-checked. Send questions to Eric Dietrich at edietrich@montanafreepress.org.
Q1: Polls indicate many Americans are concerned about the integrity of the nation’s democratic institutions. Both as a political candidate and as a potential member of Congress, what can you do to promote Montanans’ faith in American democracy?
Al Olszewski:

In the Legislature, I passed the referendum to stop ballot harvesting — which was overwhelmingly approved by voters. I have always been, and will always be, an unwavering supporter of requiring photo ID to vote, ending same-day voter registration, ending ballot harvesting, and having closed primaries. Unfortunately Ryan Zinke voted not once, but twice against requiring photo ID to vote. That is a matter of permanent public record, and he cannot run from that fact. In Congress, I will stand with the House Freedom Caucus to accomplish the policies which the majority of Montanans and Americans support — starting with ensuring that states have control over the administration of their elections, not the federal government as is proposed by Nancy Pelosi.

Q2: Do you believe Joe Biden was legitimately elected president in 2020?
Al Olszewski:

No.

Q3: The cost of health care is a concern for many Montana families. What federal action would you support to improve the U.S. health care system?
Al Olszewski:

If Congress is going to be serious about restoring freedom in health care, we have to start by firing Dr. Anthony Fauci. Secondly, abortion is not health care and government should not fund Planned Parenthood or any other abortion provider. Third, we need to hold Big Pharma accountable for the harm they knowingly commit against Americans and depoliticize the FDA. Only then will we even be able to begin to see meaningful change.

We also need a clean repeal of Obamacare, which was a promise the last majority did not follow through on. Health care freedom is not the same as health care choice. Identifying and repealing further burdensome federal regulations which take a provider’s attention from the patient and drive the cost of care and medications up.

Finally, we need to open up the insurance marketplace and allow competition across state lines. Ryan Zinke voted against free market competition across state lines and for forcing people to purchase health insurance.

Q4: Housing costs are an increasing concern for many Montanans. What federal action would you support to promote housing affordability in Montana?
Al Olszewski:

That is largely a state and local issue and regulatory and tax reform can help aid in that process. At the federal level we need to open up our forests to harvest the timber we need to construct homes. It is also hard to own a home when you cannot afford fuel and energy costs. This requires using Montana energy sources to provide baseload power and increase the production of oil and natural gas from our state.

Q5: To what extent do you see climate change as an urgent issue? What if any federal action would you support to mitigate its effects?
Al Olszewski:

Man-made climate change is a hoax. In his confirmation hearing, on the record, Ryan Zinke opposed President Trump‘s position and agreed with Bernie Sanders when pressed on this issue.

Montanans and Americans, not radical environmental groups which sue for profit, are the best stewards of our land and the environment. We will be well served by ending federal subsidies for hobby projects like wind and solar which often completely fail in extreme conditions and lead to rolling blackouts as we saw in 2021.

Mining Montana coal, building pipelines, expanding hydropower, adding nuclear to our energy portfolio, and responsibly extracting our vast natural resources will not cause climate change as alleged by extremists.

Q6: Do you see reining in the federal debt as a priority? If so, how should that be accomplished? If you support new taxes or spending cuts, please identify specifics about who would pay more or what budget areas you’d cut. (We assume that working to minimize waste, fraud and abuse is a given.)
Al Olszewski:

Bottom line: We cannot seriously address this issue without passing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, which I have long supported.

In Congress, I will oppose earmarks, never vote for an unbalanced budget, and will never vote to increase the debt ceiling. Rather than going through the correct appropriations process, Congress has been governing by crisis and passing temporary measures to keep our bloated government running. Additionally, there are numerous government programs which are still running despite not having been re-authorized by Congress. This is a practice that needs to end immediately and will save billions of dollars.

Passing term limits will also help end the power brokering which has gotten us in the mess we are in. Special interests rely on earmarks and favors from longtime lawmakers they know they can control. I am proud to have signed the U.S. Term Limits Pledge.

Q7: What do you see as the most important priorities for the management of federal lands in Montana? Should the federal government consider transferring some federally held land into state ownership?
Al Olszewski:

The federal government has failed Montana in properly managing federal lands in our state. This has led to catastrophic wildfires that destroy our clean air, pure water, and abundant wildlife. They have forced Montanans off public lands by blocking off our access to over 20,000 miles of public access roads and crippled “Made in Montana” responsible natural resource production. As a state senator, I supported the Public Access to Lands Act and will support state control and greater access to Montana’s public lands for all Montanans. Montanans know how to best manage public land, natural resources, and wildlife — not federal bureaucrats.

Q8: What do you see as the single most significant issue facing Montana’s public education system, and what if any federal action would you support to address it?
Al Olszewski:

We need to fund schools, not systems. With local control and school choice, parents can have a greater say in the curriculum their children are taught. This will help do things like eliminate critical race theory from being taught. Furthermore, eliminating the U.S. Department of Education will be one of the greatest long-term steps in eliminating wasteful spending, administrative and bureaucratic overhead, and indoctrination of students.

Q9: In the event Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, would you support federal legislation that either guarantees abortion access or that, alternatively, establishes legal protections for life beginning at conception? What specific provisions would you like to see included in future federal abortion law?
Al Olszewski:

Life begins at conception. I will always protect life from conception to natural death. As a freshman legislator, Ryan Zinke voted nearly 70% of the time with the pro-abortion group NARAL. Unlike Ryan Zinke, my voting record shows I have supported life and opposed abortion 100% of the time.

Q10: What changes, if any, would you like to see to current federal regulations regarding firearm ownership?
Al Olszewski:

The Second Amendment is very clear. Our right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon. I also believe we need constitutional carry so our citizens have the right to bear arms without a permit. This is why I have an “A” rating from pro-Second Amendment groups like the NRA and MSSA. Ryan Zinke openly opposed Montanans owning the .50 caliber rifle which would be a direct violation of the Constitution.

Q11: Montanans voted to legalize adult marijuana use in 2020. Do you support removing cannabis from the federal government’s Schedule 1 controlled substance list?
Al Olszewski:

Yes, but it should be a Schedule 2 drug and states should have the right to regulate it.

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