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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Scott Tuxbury 2020 Election Questionnaire

Scott Tuxbury

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.

State Auditor candidate Scott Tuxbury:

What is your full name as it will appear on the ballot?

Scott “Tux” Tuxbury

What is your age?

60 years old

Where do you live?

My current primary residence is Missoula

What is your educational background?

B.A. Insurance and Risk Management, University of Iowa

What is your current occupation?

Manager of an insurance underwriting business

Why are you running for this particular public office?

My desire to run for the office of Montana Auditor (Commissioner of Securities and Insurance) originates with my extensive background in all three areas the Auditor is responsible for: Insurance regulation, securities regulation, and a vote on the state’s Land Board.

The decision to run was difficult. I am not a politician, have never run for office and have no designs on a career in politics. I didn’t join the race until late in February—barely three months ago. When I looked at the other candidates in this race, I knew it was important to have a candidate with the experience to do the job, who truly wants to serve, rather than simply use this role to seek another office.

After 40 years without it, we need someone in this office with the expertise to work with insurers, regulators, and policy makers to ensure Montana consumers have access to insurance services they need. The Auditor enforces complicated laws and transactions, and must have the ability to carry out those duties and earn the trust of Montanans. The same goes for the Auditor’s duties as a member of the Land Board. I’m in the race because I can provide leadership in these areas.

What makes you qualified to hold this office?

Because the Auditor’s office plays a critical role in determining choices Montana insurance consumers have, I believe my nearly 40 years of experience helping those consumers makes me uniquely qualified among the candidates. I have traveled extensively throughout the state, and have helped farmers, ranchers, outfitters, daycare providers, and other small businesses get the insurance they need. When the right product didn’t exist, I helped create programs for people who might not have been able to get insurance.

As instructor of Montana insurance law, ethics, business insurance and personal insurance, I have the knowledge and credibility to carry out the Auditor’s regulatory responsibilities. I’ve also held a securities license. I’ve been in Helena testifying on these issues, and have worked with policy makers and regulators. My background led to my being appointed to the Montana Guarantee Association Board (which oversees insurance companies that have gone bankrupt) by Commissioner Rosendale.

My perspective of growing and running a business here is important. I have owned and operated a Montana business for 30 years that now does business in all 50 states and employees 35 people. I understand the challenges and rewards of doing business here.

Finally, I feel the Land Board is an especially important element of the Auditor’s role. Again, I have experience with public land use and management that the other candidates just don’t have. The Land Board makes decisions that impact communities, and we must thoughtfully consider how they impact those communities. As a licensed guide who has led horse packing trips into the Scapegoat, Bob Marshall and other wilderness areas, I understand the value of public lands and the importance of protecting them and managing them effectively for future generations.

What are three policy issues that distinguish you?

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

First, I would clarify by saying we have many unresolved issues. Of those that are within the jurisdiction of the Auditor/Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, I believe these are most important:

  1. Community outreach and Education - This topic has been a key position of mine from the outset—not a recent campaign marketing add-on. My extensive background in insurance education will enable me to implement an outreach program throughout Montana. Education for consumers will go a long way toward stopping problems before they begin. Education and outreach will help reduce fraud, which is a significant objective of mine. It is one thing to talk about punishing those who commit fraud against Montanans; it’s another to actually implement programs to prevent it.

  2. Competition - Montana needs financially stable, reputable insurance companies, and I want to enhance the competitive environment by actively bringing in insurance companies with proven track records. I’ve seen the financial impact on Montanans from poor decisions, a lack of competition, or taxpayers paying for a company bankruptcy.

  3. Although not specifically a policy issue, my pledge to serve in this role and this role only sets me apart and has a significant impact on the effectiveness of the Auditor. I will not seek another office while serving the taxpayers of Montana; I will dedicate my energy fully to the Auditor’s duties. I will be on the front lines fighting for Montana citizens each and every day—not looking for an office in Washington, D.C.

    1. Cost and availability of insurance - Our costs are significantly higher than surrounding states and this is one of the greatest issues we face. There is no “silver bullet” solution, and it will take diligence, knowledge, and expertise to address the challenges associated with costs. We have a vast array of knowledge here to deploy, and I will build a coalition of citizens, private businesses, and regulators to address the issues. We need all parties at the table to attack important issues, and I will bring those parties together to create a long-term plan.

    2. Fraud - It is too simplistic to believe we can solve the problem of fraud by chasing after those who commit the crime. While catching and punishing fraudulent actors is important, the real goal should be to prevent it before it happens. We can do that through a comprehensive outreach program to those most likely to be impacted. It’s much more effective to educate our elderly to be aware of excessive fees on investments, or how to properly purchase homeowner’s insurance, than it is to try to chase their money down after it’s gone.

    3. Land Board - Service on the Land Board is an important role, and one I would treat with great respect and devotion. The unresolved issue I see boils down to this: How to balance the needs of individual communities impacted by land board decisions and provide the maximum revenue for our public schools. I would look at each decision that comes before the land board and consider all the stakeholders. Public access is certainly one of the unwritten goals; however, how does it impact the tax base in the local communities? We must effectively manage our state lands for timber production, wildfire prevention and weed control, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each decision must consider the stakeholders and compounded impacts.

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