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From the Capitol Steps

By Doug Mood,
House District 58

Seeley Swan Pathfinder
November19, 1998

At the post-election Republican caucus, held in Helena on November 14th, I was elected to serve as the Speaker pro Tempore for the coming session of the legislature.

In the recent past this office had been regarded as a largely honorary position and has usually been given to the most senior member of the majority party. But with term limits looming in the immediate future, the leadership of the Republican party decided that it would make sense to train the person in the Speaker pro Tempore position to be ready to take over as Speaker of the House in the legislative session of 2001. With that in mind I decided to run for the position and was in fact successful in that election.

While I will continue to serve on two committees (Natural Resources and State Administration) this new job description will change how I spend some of my time in Helena during the session. About half of my mornings will be spent in meetings between the House leadership and other branches of the government, for example, the governor's office and the senate leadership.

There are other duties as well, such as helping to orient the first time legislators. I will also be serving on the task force that will help to implement the governor's "Jobs and Income - Investing in Montana families" program. I will write more about that program between now and the start of the session in January.

At the most recent Republican convention I co-chaired the committee that was in charge of Natural Resource policy. I re-wrote the preamble to the Natural Resource plank of the Republican Party Platform, and the preamble was then adopted by the full convention, unanimously and without changes. I include that preamble below because it very nicely sums up the approach that I and the other members of my party take toward environmental issues.



"The Montana Republican Party recognizes that Montana's economic prosperity is inherently dependent upon the management and development of natural resources. Providing Montana with a strong and secure economic future, providing stability and continuity to Montana families and communities, and making a significant contribution to the future self-sufficiency and well being of our nation are all to be found in the prudent development of Montana's natural resources.

To those ends, we encourage government agencies to promptly process and conduct the legal review of permit applications. We encourage activities that optimize jobs and opportunities in Montana by adding value to our natural resources.

The Montana Republican Party sees no inherent conflict between our traditional resource-based economies and the encouragement of other industries such as tourism and technology.

We reject extreme environmental positions that result in the economic stagnation of Montana. We reject environmental legislation which is intended to be largely punitive and procedural in nature in favor of laws that encourage the cooperation of all parties and lead to positive improvements in Montana's environmental interest.

We seek a sound path of environmental protection that leads to balanced ideas, responsible risk/benefit analysis, reasonable permitting, and includes complete consideration of all social and economic implications and impacts.

We oppose the erosion of private property rights through government laws, administrative controls and regulation, and we believe that government should compensate private property owners when their property rights are compromised, reduced or taken."

My home telephone number is 406-677-2291.

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