Election Guide '22

The candidates and issues on Montana's 2022 ballot

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Gary Buchanan
2022 independent candidate for U.S. House District 2 (East)

Gary Buchanan

Billings financial advisor
Active candidates in race

Buchanan, 73, is a Billings businessman who founded Buchanan Capital with his son Todd and wife, Norma, in 2002. He has served in economic-development roles in state government under both Republican and Democratic governors. He helped create the Montana Department of Commerce and served as its first director under Democratic Gov. Ted Schwinden and led a major effort to reorganize state government under Gov. Marc Racicot, a Republican.

Buchanan has also served on the Montana Banking Board, Montana Board of Investments, Board of Crime Control, Montana Chamber of Commerce Board and Montana PBS Board.

This biography is based on materials supplied by Buchanan’s campaign and coverage by the Billings Gazette.

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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
Matt Rosendale (R)
$1.6M
$727k
$1.1M
Gary Buchanan (I)
$86k
$35k
$51k
Penny Ronning (D)
$47k
$43k
$5k
Sam Rankin (L)
No FEC filings on record
$0
$0
$0
Mark Sweeney (D)
$96k
$27k
$69k
Skylar Williams (D)
$4k
$4k
$48
James Boyette (R)
thru 5/25/22
$2k
$6k
−$3k
Kyle Austin (R)
No FEC filings on record
$0
$0
$0
Roger Roots (L)
No FEC filings on record
$0
$0
$0
Samuel Thomas (L)
No FEC filings on record
$0
$0
$0
Charles Walking Child (R)
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?
Gary Buchanan:

Montana's concern about the integrity of our system and the negativism of our two-party system is one of the main reasons I filed as an independent. The other principal reason I am in this is Matt Rosendale's refusal to back Ukraine. In a recent national Harvard poll, 58% of Americans would support an independent if faced with a Trump/Biden rerun. As a member of Congress, I would oppose any attempts to limit access to vote. It is time to quit attacking local election officials who have done their damndest to provide fair elections.

Q2: Do you believe Joe Biden was legitimately elected president in 2020?
Gary Buchanan:

Yes, fair and square. In Montana, Republicans won fair and square. Yet we have whining winners who are claiming election fraud in their own victories.

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?
Gary Buchanan:

No American should be bankrupted by illness. My experience on the two largest hospital boards in Montana tells me we cannot weaken Medicaid and Medicare, nor The Affordable Care Act. The ACA is imperfect but helps thousands of Montanans. I do think some hospitals have become obsessed with new construction and need to pay more attention to doctors, nurses, and other caregivers. It is also time for Montana lawmakers to quit attacking our caregivers.

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

According to the NYT over the last two years, Americans who own their own homes have gained more than $6 tril in housing wealth. As a capitalist I see this as a factor of supply and demand. Wonderful for owners but tough for first-time homeowners and renters. In Montana this has led to very serious problems for university, hospitals and student recruitment. One of the solutions would be for joint federal, state, and local cooperation on housing. Section 8 housing assistance should be expanded. A lot of Montanans live in modular, mobile, and manufactured homes and pay rent for the land they stand on. Several of these "parks” have been recently purchased by a Utah-based corp that has raised rent and offers very poor service. One near me has dealt with serious water issues not resolved by out-of-state management. It's time for FNMA to stop providing cheap financing for such corporate efforts to monopolize dramatic rental increases. Incentives should be directed to homeowners to actually buy their parks as they do in Livingston.

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?
Gary Buchanan:

Climate change is already here and complicated. The U.S. should continue to rejoin and be a significant supporter of international climate organizations. The Ukraine war has shown us that we are not prepared yet to move quickly to non-fossil fuels. We need to increase drilling in the U.S. to help. We cannot let Ukraine tanks and support vehicles run out of gas, nor the American consumer. In Montana we need continued and expanded efforts from the feds and state to install charging stations. We have to stop the world's largest beef producer, JBS, from buying cattle in Brazil which come from illegally deforested lands. Utilities like NorthWestern Energy have to allow net metering efforts to alternative energy producers.

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.)
Gary Buchanan:

The only area we seem to have bipartisan agreement is that deficits only matter when the other side is in power. An independent would be able to call that out. Federal revenue could be vastly raised, not by raising taxes, but by eliminating myriads of tax rates and loopholes for wealthy individuals and corporations. I think the internationally supported 15% minimum tax rate is a start and would bring money from profitable corporations who are paying nothing. On the other hand, I disagree with the progressive move to cancel student loans debt. A loan is a loan, not a grant. Restructuring is one thing. Elimination is not right. Like the Wall Street Journal has stated, the repeated extension and "temporary pauses" have cost over 100 billion in money Congress has not appropriated. Universities and colleges have to be more responsible about encouraging students taking on debt. This is true particularly at the graduate level — borrowing tens of thousands of dollars to obtain jobs that pay little is irresponsible.

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?
Gary Buchanan:

Federal lands should stay in the hands of the federal government. Just the total cost of recent forest fires should sober up those who want to transfer federal land. Montana cannot afford future fire control by itself.

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?
Gary Buchanan:

The cost of attending college has been increasing at a rate second only to health care. We need more financial literacy on student debt. We have to better educate our student borrowers. I learned while leading our government reorganization that the local school is a Montana shrine. It should be kept as local as possible — state and federal government should stay the hell out of banning books and forcing partisan education policies on local schools. I am proud of our local Yellowstone County Schools and how they behave on their own. I would encourage higher rural educator pay and expand broadband internet capability.

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?
Gary Buchanan:

I believe strongly in everyone's right to privacy in their personal lives. Montana's 1972 Constitution grants an explicit right to privacy and on that basis The [Montana] Supreme Court ruled 7-0 in 1999, that a woman has a right to choose up to the viability of the fetus. While I am pro-choice, many of my friends and supporters are pro-life. One of my closest pro-life friends and I agree; decisions should be between the woman and her doctor. As grandfathers, we also agree that our adult granddaughters should make their own decisions in following their own conscience.

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

I support the Second Amendment. My grandson fills his family's freezer every season and I have given him some of my sporting weapons. We have to remember why the Second Amendment passed. It provided for the state to raise militias for general defense and protected frontiersman homes and families. The Second Amendment was not designed to establish heavily armed radicals like the Oath Keepers to overthrow our government. I support stronger background checks and decreasing access to firearms to criminals and bad actors. I would not embarrass Montana, as did Matt Rosendale, who is in federal court accused of accepting $400,000 in illegal contributions from the NRA.

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?
Gary Buchanan:

I did not vote for legalization of marijuana, but Montanans overwhelmingly voted for this. I think we should accept the vote and allow local governments to sort out how to follow the majority vote. I do believe the federal government should remove cannabis from the Schedule 1 controlled substance list. Banning it, is like the prohibition, contrary to state laws, including Montana, and would not solve any problems.

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