Election Guide '22

The candidates and issues on Montana's 2022 ballot

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Matt Jette
2022 Republican candidate for U.S. House District 1 (West)

Matt Jette

High school government teacher, professor

Matt Jette, 49, relocated to Missoula in 2021 after previously living in Florida and Arizona. He is a teacher at Sentinel High School and also teaches in the political science department at the University of Montana. He has earned degrees from the University of Montana, Harvard University and Arizona State University.

Jette previously campaigned for public office in Arizona. He ran as a Republican in a 2010 bid for governor and registered as a Democrat to run for Congress in 2012 before switching his status to independent.

Jette has listed his policy priorities as health care reform, economic adaptability and improving education.

This biography was compiled with information from Jette’s campaign website, news reports, and a recent phone interview with the candidate.

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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?
Matt Jette:

On the one hand, what is at stake in this election is the recovery of the American mind and the protection of the American ideal and experiment. On the other hand, it is the health of an economic system that moves America together, an education system that is built of instilling virtue, and a health care system that provides quality care to all Americans that is of concern. What is at stake? I will argue it is the American mind itself; that is, there is real anger, frustration, and fear among people and, as a result, we have been focused on what divides and fictitious problems of the past and what we fail to do then is properly prepare for the challenges of tomorrow. Rights in America are to be protected, but the necessary obligation to do that well comes by way of proper education and citizenship.

Q2: Do you believe Joe Biden was legitimately elected president in 2020?
Matt Jette:

Yes, without question. The winner-take-all electoral system, one built on monied interests, 24/7 news cycle, and vanishing competitive districts, have helped perpetuate the feeling that when one loses, one is robbed. This cannot be the case, for the focus on these conspiracy theories will eventually bring down our representative democracy from the inside and we, with this miscalculated belief that we are defending it, will in fact, be destroying it.

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?
Matt Jette:

More and more Americans are finding it more difficult, due to a changing economy that demands more education, provides less income, and demands more time, to stay afloat. Added to that are health care concerns, namely paying for services. We need to address the industry of providing good health care by examining proper incentives to ensure quality, discuss health care in a larger context to properly examine access, and treat health care as an issue with major trade-offs to address costs. I will explore options that provide for more choices.

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

Housing is such a complex issue and has been for decades. From zoning restrictions and requirements and the duration of time and number of steps required to build new or improve existing homes to a changing economy that allows greater mobility (placing greater strain on certain markets), housing is falling victim to increased costs, lack of innovation, and bad public policy that has exacerbated the problems, not alleviated them. We will need to address the number of barriers for builders, explore new technologies in building plans and resources, and address how best to adapt to an economy for which “place” is being redefined.

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?
Matt Jette:

Yes, climate change is a major issue and one of the most important for obvious reasons. With that, we have made some grave errors. First, the issue must include a discussion on sustainability. Second, we must acknowledge that everyone sees the issue, but some properly see that there does not exist the proper infrastructure, proper technologies in place, and the proper incentives to make substantive change. We must begin this process by changing the way we think about the issue by addressing how we speak about the issue. We are not ready for a Green New Deal, not because many do not want it, but because we lack the infrastructure to do so. We must first begin there and with those actors already involved in providing energy and sustainability.

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.)
Matt Jette:

Yes. The debt, let alone economics, is complex and those who merely state it is a tax-and-spend issue, do not fully understand, or at least appreciate, the complexities that come with economic discussion making. Trade-offs are at the root of any economic decision. To pay down the debt, the government can cut spending, but that will have ripple effects throughout the economy. I would be in favor of that, with the assumption we have the proper feedback mechanisms and infrastructure in place to respond. Government can tax for the money (not likely in a representative democracy), print money (not likely due to the fear of inflation), or it can borrow (which it currently does, mainly due to the fact most do not understand how this system works). As such I would like to explore more MMT, cutting programs and replacing them with a UBI, and cut or reconfigure certain programs and departments that have over the past several decades failed (i.e., Department of Education).

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?
Matt Jette:

Federal lands are essential to maintaining the health, beauty, and goodness that is Montana and America. We are seeing private interests restrict our access to public lands, placing additional regulations on how they are managed, thereby squeezing more local farmers and ranchers. We are seeing these lands leased or sold for private interests, but at our expense. We are seeing the federal management of public lands become ill-suited to meet the wants and needs of local communities. Yes, I would discuss transferring some federal lands back to the states, for I hold to the belief that local control, and history provides us with plenty of examples, is far more advantageous than control from a distance. Forest, land, and water management, sustainability, resource utilization, and other important issues are in sum best addressed locally.

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?
Matt Jette:

I began my return to Montana speaking out against what I believe to be an increasingly disastrous education system here in Montana; and, I have been in conflict with several of the major actors in the field. Many problems exist and must be addressed. For example, students today are lacking the skills to read, write, and to think. They lack the wonderment and the curiosity to succeed in a quickly changing economy, and once lost, they are nearly impossible to restore. Education is hijacked by special interests, including education programs and boards that have monied interests to prevent good and very qualified people from entering the teaching field, unless they pay them for their services. We are now focused on ridiculous concerns because we fail to see what education has become and what it ought to be. That is, we must focus on aiding our students to become better people, better citizens, and better prepared to meet the unique challenges of an increasingly complex economy.

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?
Matt Jette:

I support Roe v. Wade, period. Do I believe we can lower the number of abortions? Indeed. The question is how. Yes, one can unwisely and incorrectly overturn the rights of women, but that merely changes the manner in which women will have abortions, often in unsafe and unhealthy environments. I believe better education is needed, better programs warranted to encourage, not discourage, giving birth, and a better system of support once a baby is born. For those who wish to outlaw abortion, I understand your point of view, but I fail to understand how your method or policy decreases the number of abortions. We need to finally move forward and have a better discussion, with participants who are serious about the goals, not merely concerned with winning votes.

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

We have appropriate restrictions, regulations, and laws in place regarding firearms. We need to adhere to these laws first, before discussing additional legislation. Much of the discussion on firearms has become hyperbolic and unconstructive and it does not help the case in which after another tragic shooting, instead of having a national discussion in a time of crisis and pain, we instead focus on guns. Something is changing in our society and I think it falls squarely on the immature manner in which voters, particularly elected officials, talk with one another, with how voters see one another, and how voters fail in their obligation to know the issues and vote well. I say this because much of our difficulties rests in showing future generations that we have failed in our own obligation, so they too then expect to fail in their own obligations.

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?
Matt Jette:

Marijuana can be considered in the same category as alcohol and cigarettes. That is, there should be restrictions, penalties for misuse, and appropriate taxes on marijuana. However, I think the same restrictions we have placed on smoking should apply to cannabis as well. So, yes, I support removing cannabis from the federal government’s Schedule 1 controlled substance list.

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