Montana’s constitution (Art. 2, Sec. 3) recognizes the inalienable right to a clean and healthy environment. This right creates a corresponding responsibility on the people not to harm the environment and on the government to protect this right. Simultaneously, these responsibilities require a healthy economy that can afford to protect our rights.

No one should deny the fundamental importance of a clean and healthy environment. I certainly do not. Among other rights, a healthy environment is essential to freedom and prosperity. As the sole Republican candidate for House District 4 (Whitefish area), I agree with my Democratic opponents that our State government should address the issues relative to a healthy Whitefish Lake. But that is an easy answer to an easy question.

The hard question involves, where is the money to protect our rights? Enforcing the law costs money—lots of it. The more advanced and complex society is the more government function costs. This increase of costs demands the people to create more money to sufficiently provide for the State’s treasury. Shortly put, the more there is to protect, the more prosperity is required to protect it.

It would be quite curious how people who are having a difficult time paying their personal bills can pay to protect Montana’s vast environment at the same time.

Tom Muri stated in his recent Whitefish Pilot “In-My-View” article that “Politics is the art of compromise.” While this can be true to some degree, “Politics” is more fully defined this way: Politics is theory conditioned by practicality. Where the money is insufficient to activate the theory, theory will mock reality every time. With today’s economy, this is no small consideration.

Ironically, the more economic barriers we impose upon ourselves, the harder it is for people to earn enough income to provide for their own lives in addition to government function. The stress of regulation can actually underfund the very protection the regulation seeks to employ. Thus, reality requires there be a balanced and practical approach to the competing interests of regulation and economic freedom to produce wealth.

We all want a healthy environment, so we should all want a prosperous economy. If the people of House District 4 elect me as their representative, I will humbly protect all of our constitutional rights and help strengthen Montana’s economy so we can afford paying for that protection.

Timothy Baldwin
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