Election Guide '22
The candidates and issues on Montana's 2022 ballot
Sweeney, 62, died unexpectedly May 6, after primary ballots had been finalized. If he wins the Democratic primary posthumously, state law and party rules require the Montana Democratic Party to hold a nominating convention to select a new general election candidate.
Sweeney had served in the Montana Legislature since 2019 and had previously been an Anaconda-Deer Lodge county commissioner. He had said he was running this year to give Montana voters an alternative to incumbent Rep. Matt Rosendale.
This biography is based on public records and MTFP coverage following Sweeney’s death. Sweeney is unpictured here at the request of his family.
On the issues
When elected, I will show up and work in a dignified, bipartisan manner. Senator Tester will accomplish even more great things for Montanans if there is a Tester/Sweeney team working in Congress for all of us.
The Constitution is a beautiful document and, while it is frequently referred to, it is too often ignored. Article II, Section 1 prescribes the process for certifying the presidential election and it is quite clear as to how this is to be done. Still, nearly 18 months after the 2020 election, the former president and others in Congress believe the Constitution wasn’t followed? Not so. I promise you I understand and will adhere to both our Montana and U.S. Constitution. I believe this will facilitate restoration of Montanans’ faith in American democracy. In Congress, I promise no goofiness, no grandstanding on cable news, no tweeting for attention, and no attempts to turn our friends and neighbors against each other.
Spending in our country on health care is 19.6% of GDP. Government, if you include Medicare, Medicaid, VA, the Federal Employee Plan (FEP) and state sponsored employee health plans, approaches 50% of all health care purchases. The Affordable Care Act (ACA-Obamacare) has provided, roughly, 100,000 Montanans with new coverage and many millions of U.S. citizens across the country now have health insurance.
As your U.S. HD2 congressional representative, I commit to improving the ACA as well as focusing on both health care costs and premiums.
I will vote to reduce the costs of prescription drugs, including insulin, and for legislation that requires Medicare to negotiate the lowest possible price with drug manufacturers.
Our military veterans and their families need better access to health care. I applaud Senator Tester’s commitment to veterans and I will be a good partner in Congress to help him continue this important work.
I’ve worked in real estate for many years and understand the importance of people having access to affordable housing. I will work to leverage and expand the use of federal programs that are available today. Programs that include low income housing tax credits, tenant-based rental assistance programs, public housing operating fund and capital fund, Choice Neighborhoods, HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), National Housing Trust Fund, Capital Magnet Fund, the Rural Housing Service programs, and Qualified Opportunity Zone Designations.
Montanans should hold their locally elected officials, city and county managers, and economic development officials accountable for leveraging the opportunities that exist today to achieve more affordable housing for all. As a member of Congress, I’ll work with all 42 counties in the district and our tribal nations to be certain that the work is being done in Washington D.C.
I worked in fisheries for 30 years in Montana. As an avid hunter throughout my life, I’ve seen firsthand the impact of drought, changes in wildlife behavior, and other dramatic impacts of climate change.
Collectively, we need to follow verified science and determine the best course of action. Energy production in Montana is starting to include significant sources of renewable energy from wind, solar, and hydroelectric sources. This development ensures that Montana will continue to be a leader in energy production and exportation well into the future as reliance on fossil fuels wanes.
I will promote federal policies and resources to retrain workers through our community colleges, for the energy economy to come. Our farmers and ranchers need investments in water resource projects which Matt Rosendale consistently votes against. Climate change is enemy number one to Montana’s water resources.
Yes. Reining in our federal debt is a priority. A big part of that is reducing the influence and power of lobbyists in Washington D.C.
American millionaires and billionaires are not paying their fair share. The skyrocketing national debt and the lopsided tax obligations combined with inflation are pushing families, farmers, ranchers and businesses dangerously close to the financial cliff. We must bring the tax burden in this country into balance starting with reducing the loopholes.
Also, corporations that need our nation’s infrastructure to survive must start paying their fair share to maintain airports, roads, bridges, and to expand broadband. It makes sense that these companies pay a much greater share of the cost of building and maintaining our country’s infrastructure.
Reining in government spending should never come at the expense of our military, veterans, or their families. Nor should it be taken from public education, Medicare, or Social Security.
We need to protect and guarantee access to public lands for Montana hunters, anglers, and recreationists. This means not letting out-of-state millionaires buy up land and block access to public lands.
When elected, I will work with federal land managers to ensure that access to public lands is protected and expanded where possible and practical. Also, I will require every payment in lieu of tax (PILT) dollar owed to the state of Montana is paid on time and expanded where appropriate.
The Taylor Grazing Act has provided grazing on public lands for Montana livestock producers for the past 80-plus years and has worked very well for Montana’s agriculture industry by providing for improved range land conditions and conservation. Transferring federal lands to states, especially Montana that has so many millions of acres of federal land within, puts a huge financial burden on the states and is not financially feasible.
It is important to realize all of our public schools, especially in rural Montana, are the heart of our communities. It is vital for our teachers and administrators to know that we support them and the value of their work. Public education is the great equalizer. We need to make sure that all Montana students have access to a free and appropriate education and that any legislation pushing for private school vouchers is stopped. Private schools can pick and choose their students. Public schools educate every Montana student. Teachers, administrators, and school boards need to know that they are supported and valued.
Low teacher pay is the single most important issue facing Montana public education. Montana teachers’ pay consistently ranks among the lowest in the nation, making it very difficult to attract and retain qualified teachers. We must prioritize and empower teachers by ensuring education is as financially rewarding as it is professionally and personally satisfying.
In my 63 years living in Montana, I have yet to meet one person who isn’t pro-life. A woman’s autonomy over her own body is hers alone. I believe the privacy laws in Montana’s Constitution, which protect an individual’s right to make their own medical decisions.
While there are some politicians in the Big Sky State who view our Constitution as a “socialist rag,” this thinking is limited to the far-right fringe. Forward-looking politicians view a woman’s right to choose in the exact same way as former Republican First Ladies Betty Ford and Barbara Bush: it is simply a woman’s right to decide.
I have very strong feelings regarding the federally guaranteed right to abortion access. As I stated earlier, our Montana Constitution has wonderful language and, based on what SCOTUS is apparently preparing to do, reverse Roe v. Wade, Montana needs now more than ever a teammate for Senator Tester so we can enact legislation that will make abortion access the law of the land.
I support the Second Amendment. As an avid gun owner, I know that with gun ownership, comes personal responsibility. We need to reduce burdensome bureaucracy in the federal system and enforce the federal regulations regarding firearm ownership that already exist. We need the laws that have been passed and that are already on the books to be enforced; these laws are intended to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. Any discussion relating to firearm ownership and changing federal regulations should also include a discussion of our nation’s need to adequately fund mental health.
Yes. Recreational marijuana use is currently legal in 18 states; generally, states lead the way in prompting our federal government to make smart changes to archaic, out-of-touch federal laws/regulations. A significant majority of Montanans favor legalization of recreational marijuana use. When I am the representative for HD2, I will work with Senator Tester and with like-minded Republicans and Democrats to create new federal regulations that better reflect Montanans’ views as they relate to the draconian and punitive characterization of cannabis use as a Schedule I controlled substance violation — that characterization is simply ridiculous.