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Wicks Lays Out Libertarian Positions In U.S. House Debate

Greg Gianforte, Rob Quist and Mark Wicks at the MTN News debate April 29, 2017.
Screen capture courtesy MTN News
Greg Gianforte, Rob Quist and Mark Wicks at the MTN News debate April 29, 2017.

Mark Wicks, the Libertarian candidate for Montana’s U.S. House seat, got statewide exposure in the race’s only televised debate Friday, produced and broadcast by MTN News.

"We’ve been doing the same thing over and over and over, and we get the same result: People back in Washington that aren’t doing what they’re supposed to because they’re beholden to special interests, they’re taking lobbyist money. I’m not beholden to any of that." Wicks said during the debate.

Wicks has not reported any campaign contributions to the Federal Elections Commission in the race so far.

Wicks generally agreed with Republican candidate Greg Gianforte on most of the issues raised in Friday’s debate: He supports President Trump’s review of national monument designations, said that climate change is not a major concern and took a strong stand against illegal immigration.

"Of course I’m not very happy that government got involved in health care," Wicks said, "because we never see costs go down when the government gets involved."

Wicks said the Affordable Care Act signed by President Obama needs to be repealed:

"Let’s let the states work on it. Keep the Medicare and the Medicaid, protect those people that need it, and I think we’ll in a lot better spot. I just can’t see letting the federal government get their hands in the pie … it won’t turn out good."

Wicks said he was surprised to find himself on the same side of an issue as Democratic House Candidate Rob Quist, both said they favor legalizing marijuana. And, like Quist and Gianforte, Wicks is pro gun rights:

"I’m probably the biggest supporter of the Second Amendment there ever has been running for this office. I believe in this case, your right to bear arms is actually more important than the Constitution," Wicks said.

In the 2016 House race in Montana, the Libertarian candidate won 3.2 percent of the vote. The party did a little better in the Governor’s race at 3.4 percent, and won 5.6 percent of Montana’s vote in the presidential election.

Copyright 2020 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.