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Q&A: Elsie Arntzen, Republican candidate for U.S. House District 02

Elsie Arntzen for Congress

We are gathering information from all statewide candidates as a resource for the 2024 Primary Elections. Responses were limited to 200 words per question. Political attacks may have been removed, but otherwise, the responses are published unedited.

What is your full name as it will appear on ballots?

Elsie Arntzen

What is your age?


Where do you live?

Billings, MT

What is your education background?

I have a degree in Economics from the University of Montana and a degree in Education from Montana State University.

Please list your current and previous occupations.

Public School Teacher, State House Legislator, State Senator, Superintendent of Public Instruction

What motivated you to seek a seat in the U.S. House?

Our country is in crisis, and too many politicians do not want to take on the tough issues facing our nation. Our debt is currently over $34 trillion dollars, that is over $103,000 for every citizen. The nation’s future is at risk thanks to decades of reckless spending threatening the future of our children and grandchildren. The open border puts our national security at risk and is further exacerbating the deficit. I’m a 4th generation Montanan that will put Montana first, put an end to out-of-control spending, and stand for Monatana’s conservative values. I am a proven leader and fighter that has delivered results in my role as a legislator and as elected Superintendent of Public Instruction. As a member of the Land Board, I defended property and water rights. I cut spending by shrinking the Office of Public Instruction from four to one building. I keep my promises to the voters of Montana, and will bring that same authenticity and tenacity to the U.S. Congress.

What, if anything, should Congress do to ease impacts of inflation and cost of living in Montana? 

As an America first candidate, Congress must cut regulations that hurt Montana small businesses, our farmers, ranchers, and our families ability to build affordable homes. The bureaucracy in D.C knows nothing of the struggles our communities face, instead they restrict the innovation that made America great.

Our national debt and deficit must be reigned in. US interest payments will hit $870 billion this year — that is more than what our country spends on defense. Congress cannot tax their way out of this problem, our families are already burdened enough. Congress must cut spending across the board.

High energy costs burden our businesses and farmers which in turn increases the cost of all necessary goods for Americans. One of the first legislative initiates I would pursue is unleashing American energy potential. That is why Congresswoman Harriett Hageman from Wyoming has endorsed me. Here in Montana, we can lead the way. Congress needs to expand an “all of the above” energy production policy that allows natural gas and oil producers to access and provide these abundant resources to Americans.

Yes, or no, do you support a federal ban on abortion? 

I believe that every life is precious. I will always protect the lives of those who cannot advocate for themselves, the unborn. The Dobbs v. Jackson decision from the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs Wade and returned abortion policy back to the states. This decision established that states have the authority to enact restrictions on abortions. Federally, Congress can ensure that tax dollars are not used for abortions by prohibiting funding from going to national and international organizations whose main purpose is promoting and performing abortions.

What changes, if any, should be made to the way elections and campaigns are funded? 

I do not believe that campaigns should be funded by taxpayer dollars via the government. I would not support any changes that expanded or required public funding of elections. Individuals should decide if they want to give to a candidate they support, and they should not have their tax dollars directed to candidates that are antithetical to their values and beliefs. Instead, more focus is needed to restore trust in our election process. Every vote must count. The U.S. Constitution clearly gives authority to the states to determine the times, places, and manner of holding elections. In full transparency, Montana’s Legislature passed common sense laws to ensure election integrity. Unfortunately, Montana’s activist Supreme Court unjustly stopped these commonsense reforms to strengthen voter I.D. and prohibit unscrupulous ballot harvesting.

What, if anything, should Congress do to improve the nation's immigration laws and security at the southern border? 

Quite frankly, improving our national security along the border and reforming our immigration system is the top priority for Montana and America. Since Joe Biden took office there have been over 7.2 million illegals who invaded the US through our southern border. That is greater than the population of 36 states. First and foremost Congress must secure the border by finishing the wall and implementing technologies that will assist our Border Patrol agents. Congress must reauthorize the Remain in Mexico policy put in place by President Trump and end “catch and release”. The backlog in the immigration courts must be addressed so that a free pass isn’t given to criminals, terrorists, and drug dealers. Finally, America must deport illegal migrants who have flagrantly broken US law, by dealing drugs, stealing property, and assaulting and murdering US citizens.

What should be the top priorities when managing public land?  

As the longest standing member of Montana’s Land Board, I have fiercely protected Montanan’s voice on personal property and water rights. I promise to reign in the overreaching rules and regulations of the Bureau of Land Management that inhibits access to recreation, grazing, and energy development. I do not want the federal government to turn Montana into nothing more than a national park. Montanans alone should decide how to use our land, water, and natural resources.

America’s national security is at risk due to Biden’s crippling regulations on rare earth mineral mining. These minerals are vital to American innovation, research, and prosperity. Currently, our nation imports the majority of critical minerals from Communist China and Chinese influenced countries. These countries are not only hostile to America, they also have no environmental standards and use child labor. America will do better if the federal government gets out of the way, reduces unnecessary regulations, increases private sector investment, and allows federal leases for mining.

 What, if anything, should Congress do to address climate change? 

Far too often the government bureaucracy gives into climate alarmists who present a false choice between a strong economy and a clean environment. In reality, America’s free market has allowed innovation that has made us a leader among nations. Shutting down energy production, like climate activists want, will only hurt American industry and ingenuity. Free market consumer choices should lead rather than the heavy hand of the government. Between the cold and long distances in Montana, electric vehicle mandates are not feasible or realistic. Mandating electric vehicles, as the Biden administration has done, will cripple our farmers and fundamentally hurt our ability to grow and transport food.

Rouge nations like China are the true polluters of this world. Yet America buys critical minerals from China instead of accessing the abundance of US resources. America will create jobs through the responsible development of resources, spur innovation, and not use child labor like China.

What, if anything, should Congress do to ensure Social Security and Medicare benefits meet the needs of older adults? 

Hard working Americans have paid into Social Security and Medicare based on the government’s promise that these programs will support them in their retirement. A promise is a promise, Congress must fulfill this guarantee for those in retirement or close to retirement. Congress must also look to the future so younger generations don’t endlessly pay into a bankrupt system. Currently, the Social Security administration projects that the trust fund will be insolvent by 2037 and Medicare may be insolvent by 2031. The trajectory of these Entitlement programs for young workers is not sustainable and on the current path the federal government will not be able to keep their promise.

What, if anything, should the federal government do to address law enforcement challenges on American Indian reservations? Should Congress increase/decrease/leave unchanged funding for law enforcement in tribal communities?

Montana’s reservations are being victimized by drug and human traffickers. Mexican cartels have set up shop on our reservations and are wreaking havoc across our state. Fentynal is killing our younger generation at an astounding rate. Since 2017 there has been an increase of 1,900 percent in fentanyl deaths. In 2022 Montana Highway Patrol troopers stopped 188,823 fentanyl dosages and in 2023 a record 398,522 dosages were stopped. Congress must secure our southern border to stop the flow of fentanyl and other drugs coming from Mexico and into reservations and our state as a whole. Criminal drug cartels have no place in Montana.

What, if anything, would you do if elected to build trust in Congress?

The American people should have confidence in who represents them in Washington D.C. I can’t make entrenched swamp creatures like Nancy Pelosi, who’s been in office since 1987, more transparent and honest with the American people. However, I can and will prioritize honesty, transparency, and accessibility. Accountability to the voters of Montana means honestly describing the legislation that comes before Congress and how it will affect Montanans lives. One of my priorities will also be explaining what bills I cosponsor and how I vote on legislation in committee and on the House floor every week. I pledge that my Congressional office will be accessible to the people I represent, and I will meet with any individual from Montana’s 2nd district to hear their concerns and answer their questions. I’m a Christian, a conservative, and the America First candidate. The people of Montana know me, they know my record of standing up for families and Montana values, and they know the DC swamp will not change that.