Nonpartisan Candidate Guide for 2017 Montana Congressional Race

Greg Gianforte (R)

Rob Quist (D)

Mark Wicks (L)

This guide outlines the positions of Montana’s 2017 U.S. Congressional candidates.  For printable PDF version and other guides, see candidate guides.

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: Should abortion be highly restricted?

Gianforte: Yes.  Has been a strong financial supporter of anti-abortion organizations.
Quist: No. Believes women should make their own healthcare decisions.
Wicks: Unknown

BudgetSupport President Trump’s budget that would transfer money from domestic programs to the military budget?

Gianforte: Position unclear but criticizes Quist for wanting to cut defense spending.
Quist: No. “Our federal budget is 64 percent military. That’s money that could be going towards health care or Social Security…This does nothing but make us enemies in the eyes of so many and brings a backlash against the American people.”

Wicks:  Top priority is reducing the debt and curtailing government spending in general, but doesn’t address Trump budget per se.

Campaign Finance: Increase restrictions on campaign donations, including requiring disclosure of political contributions and overturning Citizens United Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited independent political expenditures by corporations and unions?

Gianforte: Previously stated support for election transparency, but donated significantly to groups opposing MT Disclose Act.  No support for overturning Citizens United.
[As a private citizen funded efforts to oppose MT Disclose Act. His gubernatorial campaign lawyer was part of legal team challenging the Act.]
Quist: Yes. Supports constitutional amendment to overturn Citizen’s United.
Wicks: Unknown

Climate Change: Believe that human activity is the major factor driving climate change?

Gianforte: Questions human role.  ”The climate is always changing.”
Quist: Yes. “Climate change is real and affects Montana farmers and ranchers and our outdoor industry.”
Wicks:  Has not developed a full position, but questions many of the numbers associated with climate change and does not see it as a major concern.

Climate Change: Should government limit the levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere? Do you support Clean Power Plan, which mandates reductions in carbon emissions at power plants?

Gianforte: No. Believes regulations will hurt MT jobs. Specifically opposed Obama EPA rulings as federal overreach & applauded Trump’s ending the Clean Power Plan.
Quist: Supported Clean Power Plan. Supports “clean coal” technologies, but also  having wind turbines use power lines…. of existing coal plants like Colstrip.

Wicks:  Unknown. Likely no based on climate change answer and general opposition to federal regulation

Education: Support increasing funding for K-12 education?

Gianforte: Unclear. Focus has been on making public funding available for religious & private schools & for training students in computer science and in trades.
[See Bozeman Daily Chronicle comparisons from last year’s gubernatorial campaign.]
Quist: Supports Senator Jon Tester’s proposal for financial incentives for teachers to work in rural or reservation schools.

Wicks:  No public statements found.

Education: Provide vouchers to parents to send their children to private schools with public money?

Gianforte: Yes. Strong supporter of helping children attend religious or private schools with vouchers or tax credits, though with some limits in rural areas.
[See Billings Gazette article]
Quist: No. Opposes attempts to take funding away from public schools.

Wicks:  Doesn’t specifically talk of vouchers, but supports publicly funding options in larger cities beyond regular public schools

Gay Marriage: Support gay marriage & related LGBT issues?

Gianforte: Supports nondiscrimination for employees but not for customers. Lobbied against Bozeman LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance in 2014. Financial supporter of anti-gay marriage groups.
[Endorses nondiscrimination for employees including those in his own business. But says businesses should be able to decide who they serve, including decisions based on religious beliefs. Contributes heavily to organizations that oppose same-sex marriage.]
Quist: Yes. Believes everyone has a right to marry whoever they choose.

Wicks:  Yes.

Gun Control: Support more restrictive gun control legislation?

Gianforte: No. Considers gun rights to be absolute & opposes any infringement on them.
Quist: Supports 2nd Amendment rights, but ”fully automatic assault rifles” ”might need to be registered.”
Wicks: No. “I believe…your right to bear arms is actually more important than the Constitution.”

Healthcare: Repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare? Support initial Republican replacement proposal, called the American Health Care Act?

Gianforte: Repeal and replace Obamacare. Sell insurance across state lines & reform malpractice to eliminate ”frivolous” lawsuits. American Health Care Act ”not there yet.”
Quist: Fix Obamacare rather than repeal it. Supports single payer insurance and increased transparency in healthcare costs. “Everybody should have a system like Medicare, where you walk in, show your card and you’re covered, no questions asked.”
Wicks:  Repeal Obamacare. Believes parts of it are unconstitutional. But keep Medicare and Medicaid.

Healthcare: Should Planned Parenthood receive public funds for non-abortion health services?

Gianforte: No.
Quist: Yes.

Wicks:  Defund Planned Parenthood.

Immigration: Support efforts to ban immigration from Muslim-majority countries and limit refugees?

Gianforte: Yes.
Quist: No. ”Can’t discriminate against an entire ethnic population on the basis of a small group.’
Wicks:  Unknown

Iran: Support the US-Iran treaty that limits Iran’s nuclear capability in return for lifting economic sanctions?

Gianforte: No. ”Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.”
Quist: Unknown
Wicks:  Unknown

Marijuana: Legalize marijuana?
Gianforte: Medical yes, recreational no.
Quist: Legalize both medical and recreational.
Wicks: Legalize both medical and recreational.

Minimum Wage: Raise the federal minimum wage?
Gianforte: No.
Quist: Unknown

Wicks:  Unknown, but likely would oppose it as federal mandate.

Renewable Energy: Support government mandates and/or subsidies for renewable energy?

Gianforte: Strong support for MT fossil fuel industries.  Mentions renewable energy, but advocacy is focused on supporting fossil fuel jobs.
Quist: Yes. Supports transition to renewables, but also invest in ”clean coal.” Subsidize solar & wind development, explore biomass & geothermal sources.

Wicks:  Unknown

Social Security:  Support full or partial Social Security privatization?

Gianforte: Has financially supported groups advocating for privatization. Also has said “the concept of retirement is not biblical.”
Quist: No.

Wicks: Unclear

Student Debt: How to address student debt?

Gianforte: Unclear. Advocates private donations to higher education.
Quist: Supports legislation to streamline student loan process & cap interest rates at maximum of 3%.

Wicks:  Unknown

Taxes: Increase taxes on corporations and/or high-income individuals to pay for public services?

Gianforte: No. Pledged to oppose ”any or all” tax increases to raise revenue.  Favors cutting business & personal taxes to reduce size of government.
Quist: Prioritize tax reform by closing loopholes for corporations & support small businesses, workers, & families.

Wicks:  Unknown, but likely no since priority is reducing size of government

Created by the Campus Election Engagement Project, a non-partisan effort to help colleges and universities engage their schools in elections. Answers drawn from public candidate statements.