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And now, the rest of the story

by Sen. Mike Jorgenson
| June 12, 2010 9:00 PM

My Dalton Gardens neighbor Patrick Cancilla recently submitted a very hot, very strongly worded opinion railing against my voting record to the Coeur d'Alene Press. While I respect Patrick's right to freely express his opinions and vote as he chooses, I cannot simply lie back and accept the ongoing, malicious misrepresentation regarding my voting record in office.

In my six-year legislative career I have sponsored more than 100 bills, the vast majority of which have become law. In eight years of sitting in Montana's Legislature my opponent did not even sponsor a dozen bills that became law. While he was proposing laws to remove the speed limit (and failing at it), I was passing laws helping the police to use DNA to track down criminals (S1197), having the victims of violent crime be eligible for additional assistance (S1038), protecting women in cases of domestic violence (S1356), toughening laws against sex offenders and further protecting vulnerable adults (S1301 and S1005) and of course, the Mike Kralicek Act (S1111), the law that provides a $100,000 lump sum payment to the families of permanently disabled police and firemen, among others. I might add that not a penny of that money comes from the taxpayers.

It is being claimed I voted to increase taxes. Fact: I never voted to increase income taxes, corporation taxes or sales taxes. Not once. I did vote to fund the reconstruction of our dangerous roads by the use of GARVEE bonds, but these are not new taxes. I did vote to support Governor Otter in raising vehicle levies because maintaining the roads and bridges of Idaho does fall under the category of the appropriate role of government.

The appropriate role of government means doing for the people that which the people cannot do for themselves.

Protecting the public through support of the emergency services is one. K-12 education and state prisons are others. And maintaining our roads and bridges also falls into the category of the fit and proper role of government. Anyone who has lived in North Idaho long enough knew our roads and bridges needed and still need to be improved. I am proud of my votes on ALL of these issues and the misrepresentation of my votes on other fictional matters is an outrage.

Mud is sometimes slung by lesser men in a campaign but this race was different. My record was repeatedly lied about and I was the subject to a petty vendetta organized and bankrolled by Phil Hart and Jim Clark. I can accept the fact but I do not have to accept the lies.

I am fully aware that one piece of campaign "literature" in the form of a poisonous anti-Jorgenson letter written by former state Sen. Rod Beck was paid for by Hart for Legislature because the letter said it was. I wonder if voters knew their campaign contributions to Phil Hart were being spent on behalf of another candidate? Incredibly, Beck's praising of my opponent came in the same sentence admitting he'd never met the man. Endorsing a candidate you've never met or spoken with is both lazy and unbelievable.

The pair of poison pen letters, the other from former Rep. Jeff Altus, mailed district wide were perfect examples of adolescent angst, both amounting to "We really don't like Mike, so please don't vote for him. Oh and by the way, his record is bad too."

So to Patrick Cancilla and to the others who have expressed similar sentiment or who have been left wondering about the truth I say this: I am proud of my record and those who would vilify me for the legislation I have sponsored or for the positions taken in the course of fulfilling my constitutional oath - do your homework before slandering me about votes I never made.

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