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Election news from Yellowstone Public Radio and its partners to help you make an informed decision at the polls.

Four Republicans aim to represent Montana's GOP-favored eastern congressional district

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Candidates' campaigns;
Kyle Austin, James Boyette, Charles Walking Child and Rep. Matt Rosendale.

Four Republicans are in the primary for Montana's 2nd Congressional District, one that’s largely favored to stay in GOP control.

There’s consensus among incumbent Rep. Matt Rosendale and challengers James Boyette, Kyle Austin and Charles Walking Child on many of the issues facing Montanans, including runaway inflation.

Austin, a pharmacist from Billings, sees the trillions of dollars infused into the economy as a speeding train.

"We’ve got to slow that locomotive down. To do that interest rates are going to slowly trickle up," Austin said. "Let’s not get them out of control, Congress. Let’s raise those interest rate. Let’s slow down the economy a little bit and makes sure it doesn’t get out of control."

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Boyette, a medical sales representative from Bozeman, also focuses on federal spending.

"[We] need to stop this whole idea of the government thinking that there is an unlimited credit card when it comes to the U.S. economy," he said. "Because right now there’s a whole lots of spending while there’s nothing in the background to justify the amount of spending that’s going on.

Rosendale, who’s seeking his second term in Congress, sees fighting inflation as a two-step process: First, he says, stop digging the hole deeper by pushing additional money into the economy.

The next thing is going to be for the fed to start taking aggressive action unfortunately to start raising the interest rate and to try to slow down the flow of money," he said.

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For Helena-based entrepreneur Charles Walking Child, the effort needs to be making things affordable for the next generation

"The Republicans are the ones that have lots of money to help figure out the tax base system across the country. We need them," he said. "I believe we have to work for everything that we have but we have to make it more affordable."

The candidates have a variety of ideas on making health care more affordable, including getting control over drug costs. Boyette says he wants Congress to put "some standards in place where these pharmaceutical and device companies aren’t able to increase the costs of their drugs or devices or med supplies as much as they currently are."

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Rosendale is also campaigning on health care costs and points to legislation he’s introduced during his first term in Congress, where he served as Montana's lone representative.

"I have introduced legislation to reduce costs of prescription drugs and put transparency in place to expose the different businesses and industries that are driving the costs our prescription drugs up," he said. "And I have introduced legislation to make sure we keep in place many of the telemedicine techniques that were very, very effectively used during the pandemic."

Walking Child wants Congress to look to some of the remedies of Native Americans.

"A lot of the medicines that they used were herbal medicines, knowing the types of herbal medicines that help them. You know, we have to get back to providing that," he said. "Knowledge is being lost.

"We’re relying too much on pharmaceutical companies to fix the problem."

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Austin has a different approach for affordable health care with a plan he calls One Plan that will do away with health insurance and instead create a government entity to handle claims.

"It’s a health plan corporation is what it’s going to be called. Basically everyone that can will consolidate Medicare, will consolidate Medicaid, will consolidate Tri Care, the VA will be combined in there as well," Austin said.

"We will eliminate a lot wasted money out there which will help improve the quality of health care out there."

Montana gained a congressional seat because of the state’s population increase in the 2020 census. Voters will decide on June 7 whether to stick with incumbent Rosendale or go another direction in the state’s newly created 2nd District.

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.