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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Kathleen Williams On Kavanaugh, Impeachment

Kathleen Williams speaks at a fundraiser in Bozeman last Friday
Corin Cates-Carney
Kathleen Williams speaks at a fundraiser in Bozeman last Friday

Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress Kathleen Williams held a fundraiser in Bozeman late last week. It was at the home of some supporters on the southside of town. And before the drinks and food and speeches got set up and going I sat down with the candidate to catch up about the campaign and recent news in politics.

Corin Cates-Carney: Kathleen, thanks for sitting down with us at Montana Public Radio.

Kathleen Williams: Of course, yeah. My pleasure.

CCC: We're speaking at the end of a week that contained a contentious hearing in the U.S. Senate over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the US Supreme Court. What are your thoughts on what happened in those hearings?

KW: You know, I've been traveling so much that I saw some clips of him testifying. This isn't - Supreme Court nominations are the Senate's role, the House is not involved with that.

CCC: You're running for the House against incumbent Republican Greg Gianforte, but as someone going to Congress have you watched enough to decide if, even though you may not vote on the nomination, do you support the pick of Kavanaugh?

KW: I don't have an opinion on that. I will say that I'm concerned about how politicized the Supreme Court has become. The idea that whoever- the President nominated someone and the party in charge waited until, you know, left that slot vacant, is a long term change in how we select justices, and the Supreme Court is very critical and we just need to make sure that it's less political as possible.

CCC: During the Kavanaugh hearings, maybe it was during the time that you were listening or not, but Democrats pressed the judge on if he thinks a sitting President can be prosecuted for a crime, and one of Trump's former attorneys has pleaded guilty to illegally trying to influence the 2016 election campaign by paying women money to keep them quiet. He said that this was at the direction of President Trump, then candidate Trump. Do you think that Mr. Trump committed a crime there?

KW: I'm looking forward to the results of the Mueller investigation. I want to see it all in a package, all summarized and concluded, and if there were crimes committed we'll need to hold people accountable.

CCC: Some Democrats are, even before that investigation over, calling for the impeachment of the President. Is that something that you see as a valid course?

KW: Again, I'm running against Gianforte, not the President. I want to wait until the Mueller investigation is done and we have the facts that we can lay out in front of us.

CCC: When looking at how another Democrat in Montana is campaigning, Senator Tester has used his ability to pass bills in Congress that Trump signed as a way to appeal to Trump voters. Do you have kind of a tangible olive branch that you can offer Trump voters that would help them vote for you, instead of Congressman Gianforte, who agrees with the President in nearly everything he says?

KW: Yeah, I mean, I guess what I can offer is what I've been talking about on the campaign trail. Is someone who's a true public servant, who has served this state for 24 years, has passed legislation in the state legislature. Who works with people of all political stripes, who - one of the reasons I'm running is because I'm concerned about the hyper-partisanship and the inability of people to work with each other. And I have those skills and I'm committed to that.

You know this mono-statement of "Trump voters," I don't think it's that simple in Montana. I think Montana has people who do their research, and they evaluate the political landscape. Montanans think carefully about these issues, and they know that it's important to have a diversity of representation.

CCC: Is there anything else going on in our campaign that you think's important for voters in Montana to know right now?

KW: As many people know, we had a roundtable public meeting on wilderness study area issues, because my opponent wouldn't do it, and that was extremely well received, and proved that Montanans certainly had the capability to have a civil discussion about things that they care about, and learn from each other and, even if they're passionate about issues. We're going to do three more of those coming, I believe those are next week. So we hope people are going to tune in for that.

We're going to do one on Social Security, one on Medicare and one on health care.

CCC: Kathleen Williams, thanks for taking the time.

KW: Thank you.

Williams roundtables on Social Security, Medicare, and Healthcare will be held in Bozeman, Livingston and Billings, respectively, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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