Senate District 29’s Big Anti-Gay Obsession

tinfoilcapitol 2A rumble between two Republicans infamous for their anti-gay remarks will soon be underway in the Sweetgrass, Columbus, Park City area, where two TEA Party hotheads are going to tangle for state senate in a very conservative district. Rep. Joanne Blyton (R-Red Lodge, birther) has also filed for the seat.

The first candidate is state Rep. David Howard, chair of the House Human Services Committee, a man who has scoured the internet for world’s least credible anti-gay propaganda sites and furiously posted them to his Facebook page, night after night.

Here is his latest post:

Howard fbHoward’s post links to this article.  Howard must spend a lot of time on such sites–his Facebook page is dedicated almost entirely to anti-gay postings. (And occasional donkey porn apparently.) Even as the rest of the world has started to finally realize that marriage equality and recognition of committed loving relationships is an important civil right, the Republicans anti-gay propaganda just keeps getting more embarrassing.

Rep. Howard is also on the record saying he believes a Civil War is imminent. He also believes that “the godless liberals are forcing America’s kids to be sitting ducks” for mass murderers, and that medical marijuana leads to death. And it just gets wackier–and creepier.

Howard is expected to face TEA Party Sen. Jason Priest in the primary, although he has yet to officially file. Priest is the lawmaker who was forced to apologize for anti-gay remarks he made on his Facebook page, the Billings Gazette reported.  Priest used his “hateful, homophobic talk” to argue his dislike for paying taxes.

Jason Priest anti-gay remarks

Priest worked with a group of America’s most far-right activists who are pushing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to do away with our union as we know it--a constitutional amendment that would allow states to nullify federal laws by a vote  2/3 of state legislatures. Montana State Senator Jason Priest (R-Red Lodge) is one of the movement’s leaders.  Priest says:

“Montanans are a liberty-minded people and I will proudly sponsor the Article V application for the Repeal Amendment in the Montana Legislature to send a clear, strong message to Washington that we are a sovereign state with Montana-made solutions to today’s challenges.”

Priest had been listed on the movement’s website among the dozen or so leaders of the amendment, but the site has suddenly been taken down now that Priest is in a race for GOP leadership against Ravalli County TEA Partier Fred Thomas. Billings Sen. Jeff Essmann (R-TEA Billings), is running for house and seeking a house leadership position.  There is no non-TEA Repub in the running for GOP leadership at the time of this posting, although Sen. Llew Jones has been mentioned as a likely leader for his abilities to work with all sides.

The concept of nullification was a key feature of the most extreme legislature in Montana history–nearly a dozen bills to declare federal authority “null and void” or unenforceable in Montana were introduced by Republicans during the 2011 session.  However, Democrats and moderate Republicans joined forces to defeat the nullification bills time after time.  Governor Schweitzer called the bills “anti-American.”

Priest has drawn national attention before.  Speaking to group of Tea Party followers, apparently unaware of a running camera, Priest said,

“I live in Red Lodge where I’m that guy that nobody agrees with, and I don’t mind. I have to talk to them about things that are important to them in ways that aren’t offensive to them. That’s a good lesson to learn. I would rather tell them they’re insane… Is that camera on?”

Priest has also taken heat for making his considerable wealth from the medical debt of people who can’t afford health care.

An interesting letter to the editor was published in the Billings Gazette during the 2011 legislative session which asks about the conflict of interest incurred by state Senator Jason Priest. Priest sponsored a bill that could reap financial benefits for the medical debt collection industry he comes from.

For years Sen. Priest was the CEO of a company that specialized in collecting unpaid medical debts owed to hospitals.   The LTE reads:

State Sen. Jason Priest is the founder and president of Medipent, a New York company that relies on the huge mountain of personal debt generated by our broken health care system for its existence. Yet, as a representative of the people, he aligns himself in opposition to health care reform — a program that intends to eliminate the debt that sustains him and his company. How is his involvement not a conflict of interest?


14 Comments on "Senate District 29’s Big Anti-Gay Obsession"

  1. IMHO, this post is just another manufactured kerfuffle to distract from real failings. We have a Democrat president, a Democrat controlled senate, 2 Montana Democrat senators, a Democrat governor, and a BIA that does nothing while people starve and freeze. Meanwhile take teacup and declare the tempest a priority. How about actually serving people that need help desperately?

    • The conversation has lurched so far right that the dems you name CAN’T support gay anything. I know that isn’t exactly ringing endorsement for the average MT voter. Gays are paying the price of keeping other issues on life support – like health care, food stamps, foreign aid, etc. But I predict that people will one day wake up, realize they made a huge mistake (it may be when their gay son loses a job or gets assaulted in broad daylight, unfortunately) and vote these hatemongers out of office.

  2. Today is 41 years since #RoevWade. Women must be free to make their own medical decisions without gov't interference— Steve Bullock (@GovernorBullock) January 22, 2014

  3. RJ Dunkle and Dallas Erickson seem like a couple of real stand up guys too. Very intriguing to see mouth breather Howard running against Priest in the primary. I take it the ATP money is backing Priest because he is one of their main flunkies but Howard is no slouch in that department either.

  4. Wow, what a choice between these two ‘gems’ of the GOP, especially the healthcare vulture, the High Priest of Red Lodge
    and his vendetta against the working poor who are just trying
    to get by, like the thousands in his own district and hundreds I’m sure without any healthcare at all.

  5. Hmm
    Continue Montana Tax Holiday for qwik pump-out oil wells? Montana Keep on selling cheap coal to China?
    Tax softly big money?

    As soon as say YES. YES. YES
    To above then you have lost
    The field for this political season

    The field of partisan operations also co-operations, I try to avoid military metaphors.
    Obvious solution! Shorten the election cycle to 3 or 4 months.
    Let Citizens re-visit the Cost also
    Benefits of Public Finance of Primary
    Also General Elections.

    So far looks like such a travesty that SATIRE looks to be necessary!
    Remember, we are all manipulated,
    Eg. Ecocide and genocide on both ends of the proposed KXL, no pay into safety fund, Bakken crude in pipeline has to pay, dilbit much more dangerous that crude oil,
    And they coul have thickened or sleeved under the Missouri below Fort Peck, or staffed that pump house w
    Person, instead of remote controlling
    3-4 thousand hp pumps instructed to maintain per inch pressures over 1200
    Pounds, all way to tax free zone foreign owned Dilbit Refineries in Nederland, lo land Texas seaports
    For export to Europe, Africa, and South America.
    Similar could be said of coal trains and oil trains,
    Yes, Montana used to be progressive and to use citizen initiative.
    Yes the Thomas vs Essman vs Priest
    The Tea Party vs the Me Party

  6. Is seems they are all unclear what they are running for:

    The email exchange captured in the SCN is priceless.

    • Agreed – the Stillwater County News piece is a must-read.

      • It’s odd that the SCN reporter chose to end all of Howard’s comments with an exclaimion point! Also, did anybody notice the extra leve of creepiness with RJ Dunkle’s comment on Howard’s Facebook. I wonder if he was alone in his room when he read the article over and over again.

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