By Ian Powell-Palm
For those of you who think that Senator Daines is the only politician from Montana who’s guilty of egregious displays of misogyny, you are sorely mistaken. There is another Montanan politician with a penchant for silencing his progressive female colleagues every chance he gets. That man is Alan Doane, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
While Senator Daines gained national infamy in February for telling Senator Warren to take her seat, Alan Doane made a mess of his own on Thursday, March 23rd, whilst he was overseeing the hearing for Senate Bill 305. It was during this hearing that Doane used every bit of his power as chairman to prevent Democratic Representative Ellie Hill from speaking. As someone who was present in the audience during the hearing, believe me: the sight of Doane openly attempting to silence Hill was enraging. Montanans need to know what a flaming misogynist the man who just voted to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Montanans truly is.
Doane’s attacks on Hill occurred multiple times: the first came about thirty minutes into the two-hour hearing when Hill proposed that the SB 305 proponents who’d traveled hundreds of miles in order to testify be allowed a longer time to speak. Doane had minutes before ruled to limit the time on proponent testimonies despite the fact that dozens of county commissioners had made their way to Helena to explain the necessity of SB 305 with facts and personal knowledge, both of which are sorely lacking in the Montana GOP. This was obviously an occurrence that Doane wasn’t expecting. Therefore, he gave the remaining proponents a script to say: their names, where they were from and a yes or no to whether they supported SB 305. When Hill proceeded to call out Doane over his piling four separate house and senate bill hearings on top of one another altogether in a day, the chairman attempted to cover up his motives for destroying SB 305 by falsely claiming that it wasn’t his fault that the hearings of four bills had all been placed together in such a way. That was a lie. Hill then requested that the House Committee vote to give the proponents more time to speak giving Doane and the committee the opportunity to vote down her request. It was then that another member of the committee, who’s name I didn’t catch, came forward in support of Doane and stated that Hill was only trying to cause offense by correctly calling out Doane for his foolish piling together of bills. Doane then went on to tell Hill to “please not turn the hearing into a show with her yelling out of turn.” Seriously, that’s what he said. Hill’s impassioned plea that proponents who’d traveled hundreds of miles to be in Helena for the hearing receive just a bit more time to state their testimonies was nothing more than “yelling” to Doane because it was coming from the mouth of a progressive woman on the committee. Disgusting.
When Hill proceeded to call out Doane over his piling four separate house and senate bill hearings on top of one another altogether in a day, the chairman attempted to cover up his motives for destroying SB 305 by falsely claiming that it wasn’t his fault that the hearings of four bills had all been placed together in such a way. That was a lie. Hill then requested that the House Committee vote to give the proponents more time to speak giving Doane and the committee the opportunity to vote down her request. It was then that another member of the committee, who’s name I didn’t catch, came forward in support of Doane and stated that Hill was only trying to cause offense by correctly calling out Doane for his foolish piling together of bills. Doane then went on to tell Hill to “please not turn the hearing into a show with her yelling out of turn.” Seriously, that’s what he said. Hill’s impassioned plea that proponents who’d traveled hundreds of miles to be in Helena for the hearing receive just a bit more time to state their testimonies was nothing more than “yelling” to Doane because it was coming from the mouth of a progressive woman on the committee. Disgusting.
The second instance of Doane’s misogyny took place when Carole Mackin, a resident of Helena and proponent of SB 305, refused to leave the podium at which she was meant to testify until Doane and the rest of the committee heard in full what she had to say. After gaveling on his desk in an attempt to drown out her voice and talking “sternly” to the disobedient woman, Doane lost his temper and ordered the sargeant-at-arms to remove Mackin from the room once she made it clear that she wasn’t going to play along with Doane’s games. A second after siccing him on Mackin, Doane demanded that the entire room be cleared. I and the rest of the audience were forced to leave the room and comply with Doane’s temper tantrum. About twenty minutes later, once we were allowed back in, Doane was already preparing for his final misogynistic outburst of the day. An hour into the hearing Doane aimed a piece of commentary towards Hill and the rest of us in the audience who’d cheered on Carole Mackin as she stood her ground: “No one encouraged bad behavior” he said.
Sound like another Republican misogynist we all know? “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Thanks, Mitch. It looks like you and Alan should grab a steak together and gab about how troublesome the strong women in your hearings are.
Doane waited until the end of the hearing to strike against Hill one final time. After the male republican members of the House Judiciary Committee were allowed by Doane to take their sweet time in questioning and ascertaining responses from opponents to SB 305, Hill called the Republican County Commissioner of Lewis and Clark County, and proponent of SB 305, Susan Geisse to the podium. Hill’s question for Geisse was simple. She asked her to respond to Corey Stapleton’s statement minutes before claiming that the 54 out of 56 counties in favor of SB 305 were ignorant in their reasoning. Before Geisse could speak Doane made his move.
“That question is out of order.”
Doane interrupted, cutting off the line of questioning entirely. Again, Doane had not once said before that any other of the committee members’ questions were out of order. Hill’s certainly wasn’t.
“Are you kidding me?”
Geisse responded in disbelief.
No, Doane was not kidding. He stuck to his insane ruling which purposefully silenced Hill and prevented Geisse from answering the question asked of her and exposing Corey Stapleton for the utter fool he is. The outrage in the room was palpable, believe me. And we all knew that Doane was picking up on it. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee had truly revealed his putrid, chauvinist colors for the whole audience to see.
But Hill didn’t go down without a fight.
“This woman has a right to respond to my question.”
She said to Doane.
“I have respected and supported each of you.”
She continued, referring to the rest of the committee members who had not been silenced in their questioning by Doane.
“For you not to allow me to ask my question and have it be answered does not seem appropriate for this body. We have all worked together on this committee and I am asking to be allowed to ask a question and be answered.”
Her plea for recognition and fair treatment should have been taken seriously by the committee. It should have been taken seriously by Doane, who’s responsibility is to run a fair and balanced committee. Instead, it fell on his deaf, sexist ears. Despite protest from the audience and Hill, Doane held his position and kept Susan Geisse from speaking. A fellow Democrat on the committee and overall basically empathetic and decent human being, Nate McConnell, spoke out on Hill’s behalf and asked that Doane’s ruling be repealed and Hill be allowed to ask her question. The committee voted the request down, almost unanimously.
Doane then had this to say to Hill as the hearing came to a close: “If I didn’t understand your question because of my hearing and your habit of making run on sentences into questions then I apologize for that.”
Your run on sentences into questions.
Are you kidding me? Are you freaking kidding me? Every time I read that sentence, I grow angrier. Doane justified keeping Ellie Hill, a four-time representative, and force for progressive greatness, silent because of his claim that she didn’t have a firm enough grasp on the English language.
You bring shame to your constituents. Is that clear enough for you? Did your poor hearing pick that up?
I and most of the audience were quaking with fury as Doane gaveled his desk and ended the hearing. And get this: Hill claimed that Doane had been told off by his superior just the day before for chauvinist behavior against her. It appears that the man simply can’t stop himself from being a chauvinistic from the 1950’s.
Perhaps the one good thing that Trump has done in his life is to help expose the inaction of everyday Americans when it comes to condemning men like Doane and those on his committee who voted to silence Hill two separate times. We as Montanans and progressives cannot allow men like Alan Doane to rule over our bills, host our hearings, or shed their destructive influence on our politics.
The man just made sure that hundreds of thousands of Montanans are going to be disenfranchised in the Special Election by voting to cut SB 305.
Living in the age of Trump does not mean that we accept this behavior as the norm: it means that we do everything in our power and beyond to expose and end it.
It means that we fight twice as hard to unseat sexists like Doane and his supporters.
He may have stopped Hill from giving more time to SB 305’s proponents and exposing Corey Stapleton’s ignorance for all to see but he made a relentless enemy out of those of us who were forced to sit and watch helplessly in the audience. We will not forget your horrific misogyny, Alan Doane.
In fact, we’ll be doing everything within out power to vote you and your friends out come next election. Your kind doesn’t belong in Montana anymore. Your kind doesn’t belong anywhere. Your antics need to be buried in the past that you live in and we’re happy to make sure that happens. There is no alternative to this. Your misogyny, chauvinism, and cruelty will be punished by the people. We, the people.
Doane can count on the fact that Montanans everywhere will be fighting for whoever stands up against him when it comes time for reelection. I hope he enjoys his last few months in office before he gets the boot. Doane is also a complete hypocrite on a number of issues, including his supposed “support” for protecting access to public lands.
How can he be in support of public access whilst simultaneously voting to kill a bill which would have enabled voter enfranchisement across the state and helped to significantly defeat Greg Gianforte who will most definitely attempt to destroy public access as we know it should he win the race? Would he have killed a bill that would have saved the state over 700,000 dollars if he truly believed in fiscal responsibly like the entirety of the Montanan GOP claims?
Doane’s behavior will not stand. That I can assure you all.
We hear you, Representative Hill. We saw clearly what happened to you during the hearing of SB 305. We will not forgive and we will not forget.
As for you Doane: rest assured that we’re coming for you. You and your posse are living on borrowed political time from here on out.
TIME TO VOTE THE BUMS OUT
A full video of the SB 305 hearing was recorded by Missoulian activist, Suzy Orr. You can view Alan Doane’s actions for yourself and Ellie Hill’s responses in the recording of the hearing here:
- At 28:29 Representative Hill advocates for proponents of SB 305 being allowed more time to speak. At 39:51 Doane accuses her of turning the hearing into “a show” with her request.
- At 42:41 Carol Mackin refuses to leave the podium until she’s been allowed to recite her full testimony. It is here that Doane gavels her down and asks the General at Arms to remove her from the room. Suzie Orr, the owner of the video, refused to leave the room and remained sitting.
- At 48:56 Doane states that no one “encouraged bad behavior”
- At 151:06 Representative Hill begins her questioning of County Commissioner Susan Geisse. At 153:22, Doane lashes out at Hill and silences her question stating that it is “out of order”
- At 205:00, Doane accuses Hill of speaking in run-on sentences and cites this as the reason that he could not “understand” her questions throughout the hearing.