Montana Lawmaker Responds to Constituent

by Cowgirl

[Click. Dial tone.]

That’s how a state senator reportedly responded to a bedridden constituent in need of major surgery who contacted him recently to express her support for SB 395, a bill that would provide private health insurance for 70,000 working poor in Montana –think restaurant workers, hotel staff, and ranch hands.

Nancy McCampbell called every member of the Senate Public Health Committee-including Sen. Fred Thomas–earlier this week to tell her story and ask that the bill be passed. Ms. McCampbell recounts the following to me, about her experience and her conversation with Thomas:

“I got a part-time job at Safeway, LOST my health insurance, THEN got cancer last April. There was a six month gap before the Safeway health plan kicked in.  I’m on a waiting list for heart surgery at Stanford but I can’t even afford to GET to Stanford, and have no where to stay, once I get there. I certainly can not afford to travel, every year, for an annual checkup, 2,400 miles.  I was telling him my story, I was very polite, he seemed to be listening until the subject of cost and numbers came up and he said he had to go. I said “Please, I only have one question for you. Do you care, if I live or die?”


“One word Mr. Thomas, yes, or no?

Bigotry doesn't become him.

Sen. Fred Thomas R-Stevensville

Thomas’s response? According to McCampbell, he hung up in her face.

It’s shocking and sad that a legislator would treat a constituent this callously.  Kudos are due to Ms. McCampbell and the thousands of Montanans like her who have urged the legislature to do the right thing and support the bill to use federal funds to purchase private insurance for working poor Montanans.

Now a bill that is very similar to SB 395, Liz Bangerter’s HB 623, seems like the health care bill that is getting the most support. This bill will provide access to health care for up to 70,000 Montanans by using federal funds to purchase private insurance. While this is a compromise, it is also a huge victory. The House could receive the bill as early as today- please call or email the Capitol at 444-4800 and leave a message for your representative asking them to support HB 623.


29 Comments on "Montana Lawmaker Responds to Constituent"

  1. How disgusting that this man couldn’t be bothered to here from a Montanan in need of health care. Makes me sick. Fred Thomas comes across in the legislature like he’s trying to help Jason Priest and Jeff Essmann seem more human. I guess being human all day was just too much for him… Good for this gal for having the courage to make these calls!

  2. It’s the Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence.

  3. I’m sure Sen. Fred simply thought he was auditioning for a role in Grumpy Old GOPers – but he won’t get the part if he can’t deliver some sulfurous cussin’ before hanging up.

  4. Grandma Jeannie | April 19, 2013 7:51 AM at 7:51 AM |

    Thank you Nancy for having the courage to speak up and for your work on this issue on behalf of the thousands of people across the state who will lead healthier, happier, and more productive lives when this passes! When will we know the outcome of the vote?

    • It’s not over until the skinny lady sings. The session is over, on April 26th. Steve Bullock, is fighting hard for this (Our Governor) and he HAS to sign the budget, so he could actually call in, a special session. You can watch it “Live Stream” today. I’ll get think link, if you don’t have it! Thank You, I was ‘leery’ but now glad that M.C. Talked me into sharing my story!

    • Failed, but still in Committee. You can listen to it @3:00pm today. Here. “Health & Human Services” And yes, call! You can send EVERY Committee member a message, with one phone call. Once it hits The House, or Senate Floor, just “5”.

    • Senate Public Health Welfare & Safety – Room 317
      Audio Only April 19, 2013 –

    • Thank-You. Kind of scary! VERY liberating!

    • “When you watch the news tonight or pick up a paper tomorrow, there’s a good chance that people will be talking about who won and who lost in the legislature today. They’ll say that the Republican leadership “won” because they used a procedural trick to stop the will of the majority of legislators. They’ll say that those who worked together to find compromise “lost.”

      “But no matter what anyone says, the winners aren’t a handful of folks in this building. The real winners are the residents of New Jersey and Arizona who will now get to use Montana taxpayer dollars to improve the care of people in their states, while we get nothing”

      “And the losers aren’t the Democrats and Republicans who worked together and found a workable compromise”

      “The losers are the 70,000 Montanans who would have had access to quality, affordable care – but now will be forced to go without”

      ~Governor Steve Bullock~

  5. He just follows the Ebenezer Scrooge philosophy. The poor had better die and decrease the surplus population. Republicans love Eb before those darn ghosts taught him about human empathy.

  6. Fred, like most tea baggers in my neck of the woods and probably throughout the universe, is somewhat of a chickenshit. A bully, has “issues” or whatever you want to call it. Something to for those of us who worry about sticking our necks out to remember. Bullies back down when you stand up to them. They only roll you if you (collectively in Fred’s case) let them.

  7. Trust me on this, Fred has always been this way. He’ll talk a great deal about ‘service’, and run for any political popularity contest. But the second you request a bit of that service, or even a little help, he gets a deer-in-the-headlights look, and turns from human to mannequin at the speed of light.

    • I was naive. Someone asked me “Why would you call him?” I was checking for a “Heart-Beat” He didn’t have one.

      • Oh, I’m certain that he has a heart-beat. It must have quickened considerably when he got phone calls from Goldman Sachs and Governor Racicot about helping to crush Montana Power. He faded away after Montanans found out what paying ‘market rates’ for power was all about, and the former CEO of MPC was getting death threats.

        To this very day, I cannot believe that cowardly asshole was elected to the Senate by some of the same people he helped screw over so egregiously.

  8. Well “Medicaid Expansion” died in Committee, where good Bills, go to Die! Can’t say, I am that upset. The Bill was so butchered, they were going to PRIVATIZE Federal Funds? Sound familiar? Social Security? REALLY bad idea! So, I guess I have to move, to a State that won’t *KILL* me. Thanks for all of your support. I’ll be writing an OP-ED, for “The Wall Street Journal” when, and “IF” I return from Stanford, in one piece. Watch for it!

  9. “What if we no longer called it Politics, just called it your Life?”

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