Great Falls City Commissioner Tracy Houck, a partisan Democrat from Pennyslvania, wrote an amusing letter-to-the-editor, slamming Republican Greg Gianforte for allegedly not representing “Montanan” values.
Supporting Rob Quist, Houck writes in today’s Tribune:
We have seen him understand our values, our needs and our experiences and turn them into song.
While one’s ability to fashion values into song is undoubtedly an important qualification for any member of Congress, we — along with the nearly dozen readers who emailed us about this — couldn’t help but chuckle at Houck’s rampant nativism:
Support Montanan values, support a Montanan [emphasis added], support Rob Quist.
Like Gianforte, Houck (a Pennsylvanian) is from the East Coast. Mayor Bob Kelly is also an out-of-stater. City Commissioner Bill Bronson is from Havre. All of the above, however, have lived in Montana (and in the case of the latter three, Great Falls) for decades. Why should one’s birthplace matter? Are politicians like Houck, Kelly, and Bronson any less qualified to serve the public because, despite moving and settling here, they weren’t born here?
We thought a recent letter in the Tribune from Robert Reynolds, seen below, demonstrated a measured, more thoughtful line of opposition to Gianforte.
Stop “othering” Gianforte
Stop attacking Republican Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte for being from New Jersey. Our party advocates for a broad definition of “us” and a more welcoming, less insular Montana and America. “Othering” Mr. Gianforte is hypocritical.
Based on his policy positions, I believe electing Mr. Gianforte would be a substantial step backwards for our home. However, he is as much a Montanan as you and me.
Please stop “othering” Mr. Gianforte for not being from Montana, Commissioner Houck. It’s not just illiberal and intolerant; it’s hypocritical.