Issues and priorities
Energy conservation: I will prioritize smaller, smarter energy grids that will allow for personal energy production. A smarter grid and will also be less vulnerable to threats, both natural and man made. This state needs energy storage projects to achieve energy conservation for the future.
Net Metering: Net metering (aka energy freedom) allows people to generate their own electricity and sell back any surplus to use they produce. That is a simple concept that is simply being squashed by the utility and the PSC. I will work to expand this ability for people to reduce their living expenses.
New energy opportunities: This state has tremendous natural resources in the form of sun and wind. We should develop them. Currently 55% of electricity production in Northwestern Energy's portfolio comes from carbon neutral hydroelectric power. With more wind and solar infrastructure in our state, Northwestern Energy could achieve 100% sustainable, clean energy for Montana as well as become a vendor to markets to the west of us who want to buy clean power. That’s where the market is going so we need to position our state to be ready for it.
Just rates: As a legislator, I fought hard to make the process of utility pricing more fair to ratepayers. I will take that fight to the next level as your Public Service Commissioner.
Energy Assistance Programs: Utilities such as heat, water and electricity are needs, not wants. That is why I brought legislation to put more of the utilities profits towards funding the Low Income Energy Assistance Program. As your Commissioner, I want to ensure all Montanans can afford to live here.
I want to put “Public” back in Public Service: My dedication is to Montanans, not corporations. As your commissioner, I will hold weekly office hours and reply to public comment and concern on a daily basis. Transparency and accountability to the Montana PSC is a must.
Advocate for recycling and compost programs: We can provide recycling and compost pick-up by lowering compost and recycling rates below trash pickup costs. That’s the smart thing to do.
Open Access Telecommunications: Telecommunications are a lifeline in rural Montana. Satellite technology is developing to the point that essential services like 911 and internet access will be available at affordable rates to all Montanans. This is an economic as well as a safety issue. The PSC must work with the telecom companies to make it happen.
Safe and Accessible rail infrastructure: Railroads have helped make Montana what it is today. Maintaining the safety of hour towns that experience freight train traffic is a mission of the PSC. We can do better with crossing safety, establishing quiet zones and proper covering of loads. I also want to learn more about the rates that Montanans are charged to move our products to market.