Yellowstone Count News Questionnaire

Responses by Brad Molnar

Montana’s energy future is quite uncertain, what courses of action would you support that would assure consumers of dependable and affordable energy in the future? Do you support the proposal of selling Montana hydro-power to Washington state?

“Assuring” dependable and reliable energy is easy. Delivering dependable, reliable, and affordable energy is more difficult. Montana’s energy generation sector is constantly under attack by liberal state governments, federal regulations, and Montana taxes.

I served as the Vice Chairman of the Montana Public Service Commission. Two of Commission years were as Montana’s representative giving oversight of MISO, defending Montanan’s against predatory price fixing, and maintaining grid reliability in one of the world’s largest real time energy markets.  I also defended Montana’s coal generation against “green power only” states in the BPA service area. Since I term limited, Montana’s leadership in this arena has been symbolic at best.

In stark contrast, my opponent in this campaign, Sen. Tom Richmond, asked for a special committee hearing to pass his amendments to HB 22 to shut down Colstrip generation in ten years.

The CSKT Water Compact transferred the Kerr Dam to the tribe after Montana rate payers had paid for it. That gave the tribe 200 MW of hydro power, of which they sold 40MW to serve the Seattle area. Those clean, baseload megawatts are no longer available to serve Montana’s families and employers. The Kerr Dam was “black start” capable. In a total electrical shut down Kerr Dam was our only capacity to re-start. Sen. Richmond voted to transfer Kerr Dam to the tribes via the CSKT water campact. (227 words)

What has been your experience in business? Do you believe that you understand the problems faced by small businesses in Montana? What business experience do you currently have that will give support and input for the Montana Legislature if you are elected?  

I founded and ran my own business, Intermountain Systems. For 34 years I, and my staff, sold and built grain bins and steel buildings in 16 states. We also designed and built grain terminals. Starting at my kitchen table I built Intermountain Systems to be the largest YORK (bins and buildings) dealership in the world twice and in America twice (not the same two years). We built everything from the small grain bin in a farmer’s “bin yard” to design/construction management of multi- million dollar projects.

Yes, I understand the plight of small business owners. I’ve felt the emotions when a small business owner get’s “snake bit” on a project and has to borrow money to pay “their fair share” in quarterly filings. I know the bitterness when they have to take money from their family to pay into the “safety net” for the employee that caused the snake bite. I know what it is to bet your home on a new start up. I understand, and my voting record while serving in the Montana House of Representatives shows I understand.       (194 words)

Many typical politicians will not take a public stance on another primary election race, will you take a stance and choose a candidate for Montana Governor in the primary that you support?  

No. It is not my job to tell people how to vote. As a columnist (Political Potpourri) my focus has always been to give people the knowledge to make their decisions fact based not opinion based.

If you were the Montana Governor in dealing with the Corona Virus affects in Montana.  Would you have done the same or if not, how would have you handled it.  How do you think we should open up Montana? 

Covid-19 is not the problem. Our response to Covid-19 is the problem.

 I would not have chosen the “lock down” model chosen by Governor Bullock. I would have followed the successful model used by So. Korea. Identifying the source of outbreaks and testing all those that had social contact with the patient was key to their success. They used public education of preventive measures and support for high risk populations. In their population of 58M closely packed people they have had 10,800 cases and 240 deaths. They did NOT have a lock down. Many states or nations without lock downs have experienced better results than nations and states with lockdowns. South Korea’s infection rate peaked March 1st at 1062 cases. On March 2nd the new cases were 609. On March 4th the new case rate was 438. On March 9th it was 131. This trend continues to this day. On April 21 they had 9 new cases. Blindly following CDC recommendations has not been shown to be a defendable choice.

Wyoming also is a non-lockdown state. Their numbers rivals Montana’s. Montana’s numbers are 437 cases and 12 deaths. Wyoming’s numbers are 332 cases and 7 deaths.

As this is the primary election where you have many things in common with your primary opponent (if you have one), how are you different from your opponent and why would our readers feel the need to vote for you instead of him/her?

We both have legislative experience and we both have energy experience. Tom’s experience is in oil. Mine is in electrical generation, transmission, working with foreign nations to unravel energy problems and balancing Montana’s energy needs and costs with states we share the grid with. 

Our differences would include that Tom Richmond is considered a member of the Solutions Caucus which is best known for joining the liberal wing of the Democratic Party to “solve problems”. I closely ally with the Conservative Caucus to limit government and am a strict constructionist of our Constitutions.

Our voting records would have been different. Tom voted to raise the gas tax to fund bike paths in Helena. I would not have. Tom voted for the CSKT Water Compact. I would not have. Tom voted to implement Medicaid Expansion. I would not have. At the request of Bob Rowe, CEO of NorthWestern Energy, Sen. Richmond attempted to shut down our Colstrip generation system and power Mt. with wind mills. I would have said “no” and held a press conference to warn of the attempt.

Some people will appreciate Sen. Richmond’s Green New Deal and some will appreciate my efforts and experience in providing affordable and reliable energy. Only one will represent this district.

 If you want to see Richmond’s amendments to HB 22 that tried to shut down Colstrip, or the email that asked him to do, so go to my website and click on HB 22 or Smoking Gun Email and see for yourself.  (251 words)

I would appreciate your consideration. Brad Molnar     

Paid for by Molnar For Senate, PO 517, Laurel, Mt. 59044  Republican

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