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By Mark Sweeney
Philipsburg, Mont. 

Response to Automated Phone Calls

 


I am responding to recent allegations by my Public Service Commission (PSC) primary opponent and her supporters about recent automated phone calls that I left in voter’s answering machines. The state statute they quote is not as clear-cut as they would like to think. In all likelihood it is unconstitutional. The same law in South Carolina was found to be a violation of free speech. It is regularly used by candidates on both sides to get their message out.

I stand behind my decision to drop a 15-second, pre-recorded voice mail that was delivered to voter’s answering machines. If you don’t like it, delete it. There are nearly 100,000 voters that make the PSC District 4. I would have to send out nearly 1,000 pounds of postcard mailers to get my message out. Multiply that by the number of candidates whose mailers get looked at once. These only end up in our landfill. It is tons of waste. As a conservationist, I am appalled by this.

Gail Gutsche’s tenure as a PSC commissioner was a failure. That is why she was not re-elected. In 2012, Gail was the only district or statewide democratic incumbent to lose the seven counties that make up PSC 4. Tester, Lindeen, McCulloch, Juneau and Bullock all won in these combined seven counties. This gave the entire five person PSC commission over to republicans and Bob Lake, who has been the utilities’ strongest supporter, has led the way to rate increases.

She voted to approve the sale of Mountain Water to the Carlyle Group (a vote that is estimated to have cost the City of Missoula over $10 million dollars in legal fees). I believe the City should own its own water but how could she have ever seen this “as a pathway to ownership?”

It is time to elect a democrat who is a strong leader who will be on the job daily watching out for ratepayer’s best interests.

 

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