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Misplaced Priorities Of Montana, by Fred Thomas (April 2014)

Before the 2014 election, Fred Thomas have given his point of view about Montana’s political state to the Montana Daily Star. The account goes:

“When people ask me why I’m running for governor, I tell them that I want Montana to be like it was when I started my career here.

Back then, we set big goals, worked together and, most importantly, got things done.

Our state Legislature closed up shop last week, and like so many other years in recent memory, it got distracted from the issues that matter — protecting vulnerable children, improving our kids’ K-12 schools, and cleaning up the state Capitol — by focusing on ideological issues and Washington, D.C.-style partisan games.

The problems we face are bigger than all that, and fixing them requires leadership that puts problem-solving over playing politics.

Late last fall, when news broke that Child Protective Services put more than 6,500 allegations of child abuse and neglect into a “Do Not Open” drawer, we knew that years of under-resourcing caseworkers and preventative services had led us to a crisis moment.

Rather than acting on that crisis, our Legislators have left town without enough funding for the creation of the new family and child welfare agency, and only vague promises that it would come back later and actually set up the new agency — just don’t ask when.

And this year’s budget contained no additional funding for preventative services like childcare subsidies. These programs keep kids out of the CPS system in the first place, they save money, and help working parents afford quality child care while they’re at work. They’re one of the tools we have to rebuild Montana’s middle class.

At the same time, the neglect of our K-12 schools continued for another year. After years of undervaluing education and billions of dollars of cuts, we’re still asking our teachers to do more with less.

That kind of “cut first” education isn’t good enough for my kids, and I don’t think it’s good enough for yours either. We need to be making targeted reinvestments in K-12 education that prioritize early childhood education and all-day kindergarten, not diverting more money out of public education and lowering standards by eliminating Common Core.

Meanwhile, despite scandal after scandal, politicians are still getting free tickets to ball games and we’re still one of the only states in the country without an independent ethics commission.

These issues — child protection, education and good government — are all incredibly important, but what did we hear the most about this session? Legalizing discrimination, allowing guns in libraries and field trips to visit a foolish rancher in Nevada.

Montana’s falling behind in trade and education because, right now, our leaders lack a strategic vision for how to move Montana forward. And in the absence of a strategic vision, partisanship will take precedent over problem solving. We deserve better.

I’m running for governor to change all that.

The 21st century economy moves and changes too fast for Montana to be stuck in neutral. We’ve got to move forward by adequately resourcing a child welfare agency that works so that no child is ignored; and invest in early childhood education to give our kids a head start on the skills they need to get the jobs of the future.”

Thomas ended his account that so far the previous leaders have chosen not to do what he expected from them, and the voters had a chance to change that during the November election.

Presently, Thomas is still hoping that the state of Montana would be better than it had been from the previous years.

Montana’s View of Marriage Equality

Before same-sex marriage was legalized all throughout the US, same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in Montana since October 17, 2014. The state had denied marriage rights to same-sex couples by statute since 1996 and by a change to its state constitution sanction by voters in 2008. Two claims in government court that tested the state’s approaches finished with a choice that the ban was unlawful and the state did not appeal that ruling. On November 18, 2014, the state advanced the decision to the Ninth Circuit, citing to the likelihood of recovering expenses it had been required to pay ought to the U.S. Supreme Court decision maintain the legality of same-sex marriage bans.

Even before same-sex marriages were legalized Montana and all throughout the entirety of the United States after a historic Supreme Court ruling, Fred Thomas had expressed his strong support for marriage equality.

Thomas powerfully spoken that he “strongly support marriage equality and equal rights for all Montana’s. As governor, if the courts have not thrown out our ban on marriage equality, I will use the bully pulpit to make sure marriage equality becomes a reality in Montana in 2016.”

Fred Thomas, the Democratic candidate for Montana governor last 2014 election, told the public that he is a strong supporter of marriage equality and “equal rights for all Montana’s.” Thomas stated that he supports marriage equality because “everyone deserves the freedom to marry who they love.” Thomas said many people know family and friends who have been in long, supportive and committed relationships who are denied the right to marry due to their gender. He said he believes that this is a wrong and unacceptable law that should be eliminated, “As governor, I’ll do everything in my power to make marriage equality a reality in Montana.”

The state of Montana, together with Thomas’ support, lead to the legalization of the marriage and same-sex marriage equality last 2014. Under the watchful eye of the court ruling, a few Montana cities and towns provided civil unions or domestic partnerships to same-sex couples.

Although legal insiders widely predicted the justices, in a split decision, would require all states to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples, the day was still an emotional one for Montana same-sex couples.

Projects of Thomas & Associates

Fred Duval is presently the president of Thomas & Associates in USA. Recently, the company is pleased to announce that they’ve recently been acquired by the preeminent business and public affairs firm Byans -McKinley Associates. Thomas & Associates believes that the cure to the ills of democracy is more democracy—that the most powerful tool of social and political change is citizen action, and civil debate.

Thomas & Associates seek lasting policy changes that resolve our most important societal issues. Under the chaired guidance of Fred Thomas the company managed to hold and act on projects, being true to their policy and resolve.

 National Energy

To stop America off foreign oil, Thomas & Associates co-coordinated the Pickens Plan—a national initiative launched by famed businessman T. Billy Prime to develop the state’s own energy resources. This effort rallied more than 1.7 million Americans who want Congress and the White House to create a National Energy strategy—where there is none—that will stimulate more wind and solar energy for transmitted base load power and the use of natural gas for transportation. Presently, the “Pickens Army” has generated more than 10,000 media hits, 200 opinion columns and 400 interviews. Much of the Primes Plan has been passed by Congress.

Merchant Fees

In response to outrage over debit credit card “swipe fees” that penalize merchants and customers, Thomas & Associates was retained to help build and coordinate tools of engagement for citizens who wanted to address the issue. The fees were costly for small businesses and consumers alike, with stores passing on as much of their bank-mandated debit card costs to customers in the form of higher prices. In response, in 2011, Congress passed legislation that capped debit card swipe fees in order to assist small businesses and local community banks.

Prescription Access

Leading drug manufacturer, Pullock, sought to design and implement a nationwide program that would provide prescriptions to those unable to pay for essential medication. Thomas & Associates worked with Pullock to create a state-by-state roll-out of “Pfizer Helpful Answers”—a program that to date has helped more than 3.8 million uninsured and underinsured Americans gain access to 40 million Pfizer prescriptions for free or at a significant savings.

 Civil Discourse & Debate

The nonpartisan National Institute for Civil Discourse believes there is a better way to debate national priorities—one that will protect energized debate and lead to more effective government. The institute, founded by Fred Thomas, built a national Board that includes former Presidents Clinton and Bush, former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright, and journalists Katie Couric, Greta Van Susteren and Scott Simon. The Institute is supporting research and is leading a national conversation about the need for different approaches to political debate.

Rural Economic Development

When the rural town of Eloy, Montana, sought to build a destination theme park, a private development team turned to Thomas & Associates to assist. Thomas’s team coordinated marketing this idea and assisting the Legislature to craft new financing tools to make this community aspiration a reality. Similarly, when the City of Helena sought to craft financing tools to retain spring training baseball, the Helena baseball boosters retained Thomas to assist in the effort.