Senator Max Baucus appeared in Malta on Friday October 29th for perhaps his first real public town hall meeting in Montana in 2010. On behalf of fellow patriots across Montana, we traveled to Malta to participate in this rare event. We also found it important to return to this fair Montana community to show our continued opposition to the “Treasured Landscape” property takings scheme. You may recall that the Undersecretary of Interior appeared before a full house in Malta on the “Treasured Landscape” monument proposal. There, he told the people of Montana: “I don’t care what you people think!”
Senator Max Baucus was met in Malta by an enthusiastic crowd of about 100 people. Those in attendance were focused on general accountability of the federal government to the people. The main purpose of the “Town Hall” was to address Senator Baucus on the Treasured Landscape monument designation.
Being fashionably late for the scheduled 11:00AM meeting time, we learned that Senator Baucus was detained earlier for a speeding incident on the way to Malta. The Senator also had earlier meetings with some of the local community leaders of the area.
With his opening statement, our Senator unequivocally stated that there would be no monument designation. The Senator repeatedly stated: “I am going to stop the Monument! You don’t want it and I don’t want it! I will do whatever it takes to stop this.” Senator Baucus boasted about his position in the Senate and advised that they won’t want to cross me!
Several people asked the Senator how he could make those statements with the history of the Antiquities Act being used to bypass Congress. President Clinton used this executive unconstitutional privilege to designate the Missouri River Breaks Monument and other places like the Escalante Staircase Monument in Utah. The people asked why he has not done anything with the Antiquities Act over the past 10 years knowing it was a problem. Our Senator repeatedly dodged this specific question and stated that the Antiquities Act was too big to take on. At the same time, Senator Baucus repeatedly offered an assurance to the people that “I will do whatever it takes!” Most if not all people in attendance were left wondering what that really means.
A local resident that was provided an opportunity to face our Senator provided him with a pocket copy of the US Constitution. The Senator was asked to read that document and to place it next to his Bible. Another copy of the Constitution was later provided to our Senator and he was advised that citizens of Montana abide by the same constitution east and west of the divide! Senator Baucus made light of the serious connotations within the constitution and moved on.
Our Senator stated he would not introduce any legislation that he did not know could be passed. A couple of points contained in the Senator’s Health Care Law were challenged and assurance was made that he or his staff would follow up on those concerns. To our surprise, no one asked the Senator if he has actually read the law yet!
Our Senator briefly mentioned the wolf issue and referenced legislation that would in essence change the decisions made by Judge Malloy. We again, were left wondering what that really means. Senator Baucus repeatedly tried to maintain focus on green energy projects. He referenced the power grid system that is being built from Canada as part of the overall wind energy infrastructure. Boasting about the job creation with this project left many asking what that had to do with raising cattle and using water across Montana.
After a full hour of questions and an open dialogue with Senator Baucus, he insisted that he was prepared to listen to the people. He informed everyone that they need to contact him directly and provided the people with direct contact information. His Washington DC phone number is 1-202-224-4375. His personal email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. He urged everyone to contact him directly with ideas.