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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

John Driscoll 2020 Election Questionnaire

John Driscoll

Montana Public Radio is gathering information on all statewide primary candidates to publish as a resource for our audience. We asked all the statewide candidates to respond to the following questions via email, limiting their answers to 300 words per question. These are their unedited responses.

U.S. Senate candidate John Driscoll:

What is my full name as it will appear on ballots?

John Brian Driscoll

What is my age?

73 years

Where do I live?

Helena, Montana

What is my educational background?

I graduated from Hamilton High School, Gonzaga University, Columbia University School of International Affairs and Institute of Latin American Studies, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, University of Montana Graduate School of Business, and the U.S. Army War College.

What is my current occupation?

As an author and grandfather, I am a Grandfather Storyteller.

Why are you running for the U.S. Senate?

I place protecting and defending our United States Constitution above my own well-being, personal loyalties or loyalty to any political party. I have the personal mental determination to check and balance our President, regardless of party, as required by the separations of powers in our constitution. It was obvious to me that our incumbent U.S. Senator Steve Daines felt comfortable not calling witnesses for the senate trial to remove President Trump. I cannot abide that sort of political behavior, clearly a whitewash, when it comes to protecting and defending our constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.

I hope Montanans will vote for me for duty, honor and country. Those committed by their conscience to support Donald Trump, will hopefully feel a duty to their conscience to insure he will be checked and balanced after he no longer needs their support, especially if he flip-flops on matters of abortion, gun rights and personal liberties. Those committed by their consciences to oppose Donald Trump, will hopefully honor our constitution’s structure for working across party lines if he is re-elected, by voting to change the interpersonal chemistry of the United States Senate’s Republican caucus. Those who remain aloof from party politics, or simply dislike politics in general, still care deeply for the fate of our country. Hopefully they will see me as an option because they sense the truth of Republican Abraham Lincoln’s insight, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

What makes me qualified to be a U.S. Senator?

I’ve been fortunate to earn a solid educational preparation for work in our government, and have gained extensive experience working in a legislative environment as a legislator, Legislative Majority Leader, and Speaker of the Montana House of Representatives. Then for twelve years as an elected Montana Public Service Commissioner I learned how to work with a staff of qualified professionals, helping me to understand and regulate the trucking, rail, water, telephone, natural gas and electricity industries of Montana. I was given special opportunity to understand complex regional and national electricity issues which can be both challenges and solutions related to Climate Change. As a Montana National Guard Cavalry Troop Executive Officer and Tank Company Commander I’ve been deployed to positions of responsibility in our State Mental Hospital at Warm Springs, our State Prison at Deer Lodge, as well as with large forces of personnel and equipment to forest fires. Fires are familiar to me from years of work as a Wildland Firefighter, including smokejumping. As a Major and Lieutenant Colonel, responsible for the Montana Guard’s Operational Security and the 163rd Separate Armor Brigade’s Intelligence capability, I worked in low-key fashion with local, state, and federal law enforcement to counteract Right Wing Terrorism in Montana. During my active military duty years I served as a Strategic Military Intelligence Analyst in support of the 82nd Airborne Division and 3rd Special Forces Group, a Senior Armor Captain assigned to the Commander of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment for its REFORGER mission to the 1-k Zone in Europe, and as a Colonel in the Pentagon, working for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the months following 9-11, I served in the National Military Command Center as Deputy Team Chief for one of the Crises Action Teams executing Operation Noble Eagle and Operation Enduring Freedom.

What are three policy issues that distinguish me from incumbent Steve Daines?

1. I hold protection of our U.S. Constitution above self, personal loyalty, or political party.

2. Within three months of being sworn in as Montana’s next U.S. Senator I will complete a preliminary investigation into the facts associated with recent U.S. cancellations of POW-MIA Recovery Operations. Montanans deserve to get to the bottom of what’s happening. The issue is time sensitive because, according to the website of the National League of POW-MIA Families, four months ago our operational counterparts in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam already doubted our seriousness about POW-MIA recovery. Remains of 1587 American Service members are unrecovered.

3. I consider the problem of Graft to be the greatest challenge to healing our country. Graft is the unscrupulous use of public office, including accepting large campaign contributions that imply special access and policy making pay-back. The defined line against Graft, which I want codified in federal law, would be to accept from a single donor no campaign donations totaling more than the filing fee for the office being sought. For the U.S. Senate that ceiling would be $1740. The penalty would be disqualification from being a candidate.

What are the greatest issues facing Montana that have gone unsolved by elected officials and how would you address them?

The growing spread between the wealthy and the poor, even at full levels of employment, needs to be addressed. The widening income spread will eventually lead to violence. We now experience more than 5 discretionary homicides per 100,000 population, compared with Canada’s less than 2. Mexico’s discretionary homicide rate of more than 20 may be where we are headed if we fail to take corrective action. Even though incomes will remain vastly differentiated, we need to co-ordinate universal access to quality health care, encourage affordable housing to become sufficiently available, and offer, according to ability, sufficient quality education.

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