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Americans for Prosperity Announces First Wave of Primary Endorsements for Montana State Legislature

Apr 5, 2022 by AFP

HELENA, MT — Americans for Prosperity Montana (AFP-MT) announced its endorsement of candidates for the Montana State Legislature—John Fuller (SD-04), Barry Usher (SD-20), Mallerie Stromswold (HD-50), Rep. Caleb Hinkle (HD-68), and Lyn Hellegaard (HD-97).

AFP-MT engages in grassroots outreach to advocate for long-term solutions to problems that prevent people from realizing their full potential — unsustainable government spending and debt, a rigged economy, and a host of other issues. The organization will leverage a wide range of tactics to help endorsed candidates achieve victory during the general elections.

“All candidates AFP endorses put principles and values above partisan politics and special interests,” said AFP State Director David Herbst. “These candidates have demonstrated a commitment to championing issues that break down government barriers that hinder Montanans as they seek to achieve their dreams.

“During the coming months, we will leverage our grassroots activists in support of candidates who demonstrate a commitment to policies that make Montana freer and more prosperous ahead of the status quo,” he said. “We plan to be active and engaged from now to Election Day.”

BACKGROUND

John Fuller (SD-04)

As a former high school teacher and member of the Board of Public Education, John Fuller will be an education freedom champion in the Montana State Senate. On the House Education Committee, where he currently serves, Fuller has a consistent voting record in support of policies that expand education opportunities, including tax credit scholarships and 529 plans. Fuller also supported health care policies that expand access to care and reduce costs. He voted to reform harmful certificate-of-need regulations that put special interests over health care consumers and to expand telehealth that proved so vital during the COVID crisis.

Barry Usher (SD-20)

Barry Usher has a consistent record of supporting legislation to empower parents with the ability to choose education options that best meet the needs and challenges of their children. Usher voted for tax credit scholarships and to permit 529 tax-exempt savings to be used for K-12 expenses. Usher also supported legislation that created a savings account to help parents offset the costs of educating special needs children if parents choose a program outside the public school system. Usher will continue to support in the Senate health care policies that increase health care choices at affordable costs, as he did in the House where he supported certificate-of-need reform and telemedicine expansion.

Rep. Mallerie Stromswold (HD-50)

Last year, State Rep. Mallerie Stromswold achieve policy champion status on AFP-MT’s legislative scorecard with a 90% rating. She demonstrated political courage and voted in support of criminal justice reform legislation despite pressure from her party’s leadership. As a champion of parents and students, Rep. Stromswold voted for tax credit scholarships, special needs education savings accounts, and education accounts for use with K-12 education. She was also a leader helping to drive down health care costs while increasing health care options. She voted to make telehealth more permanent, protect health care sharing ministries, and revise certificate-of-need laws to increase competition and lower costs.

Rep. Caleb Hinkle (HD-68)

Rep. Caleb Hinkle was named an AFP-MT policy champion with a 93% ranking on the organization’s 2021 legislative scorecard and has been a leader on regulatory reform. He is the sponsor of legislation to review rules that were suspended during the COVID crisis to identify those that should be permanently rescinded. Rep. Hinkle sponsored right-to-work legislation and a bill to revise certificate-of-need laws related to waste management companies to spur more market competition. He voted to make telehealth more permanent, protect health care sharing ministries, and revise certificate-of-need laws to increase health care competition, increase access, and lower costs. A supporter of education reform, he voted for tax credit scholarships, special needs education savings accounts, and education accounts for use in K-12 education.

Lyn Hellegaard (HD-97)

As a Missoula City Council member, Lyn Hellegaard has a track record of voting against reckless spending projects and tax increases. Hellegaard testified along with AFP activists in 2018 in opposition to a 3.6% general tax increase. In the city council, she demonstrated a willingness to stand on principle and actively opposed corporate welfare, such as tax increment financing handouts. She also understands how unnecessary and burdensome regulations can hurt people and businesses.