1) The state should mandate paid family and medical leave and paid sick days so workers don’t have to choose between taking care of themselves or their families and their job security.
  • Fred Anderson (R): Did not respond
  • Melissa Smith (D): Agree
    • Montana runs on small businesses. It is difficult to find and keep staff. We will need some way of assisting businesses to provide paid family and medical leave as well as paid sick days which are necessary for families and communities to thrive.
2) Do you support alternative approaches to our criminal justice system that decrease incarceration, including but not limited to investment in mental health care and drug treatment?
  • Fred Anderson (R): Did not respond
  • Melissa Smith (D): Agree
    • I believe in the principles of restorative justice. To heal from the trauma inflicted by crime, offenders need to take responsibility for their actions and understand the harm they have caused to their victims, their families, and the community at large. Retribution often results in powerlessness for both the perpetrator and the victim. Alternatives to incarceration can repair harms suffered by victims, provide benefits to the community, treat the drug-addicted or mentally ill, and rehabilitate offenders.
3) Government should create and maintain a robust social safety net – including SNAP, TANF, housing assistance, and Medicaid, among others – so those most in need don’t fall through the cracks.
  • Fred Anderson (R): Did not respond
  • Melissa Smith (D): Agree
  • Our most vulnerable populations often lack the freedom or opportunity to make meaningful choices about their situations and face significant challenges in access to care under the best of circumstances. Denial of benefits is not a solution. I believe in promoting thriving communities and that means ensuring the welfare and health care for everyone. As has been illustrated so clearly in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, vulnerable populations face greater risk of becoming infected and, if they do, they risk the disease being more serious for them. To keep our communities healthy and thriving we must provide shelter, food security, access to health care in good times and bad and not deny these basic needs to satisfy an ideological principle.
4) Would you vote to continue Montana’s crucial Medicaid expansion, without barriers to access such as work requirements or increasing premiums?
  • Fred Anderson (R): Did not respond
  • Melissa Smith (D): Yes
    • With Medicaid expansion, 58,100 Montana residents are now enrolled in Medicaid, many of them seniors and children. Medicaid helps provide health care in schools. In Montana, 68% of school superintendents said that they used funds from Medicaid expansion to keep nurses, counselors and speech therapists on staff. We have an aging population in Montana – 58% of the Montanans living in nursing homes have coverage through Medicaid. Medicaid expansion keeps rural hospitals open – providing access to care for many Montanans as well as the economic benefit to those communities as rural hospitals are often the largest employers in such areas.
5) Do you support or oppose tribal governments receiving the same property tax exemption as non-tribal government?
  • Fred Anderson (R): Did not respond
  • Melissa Smith (D): Support
6) Would you vote for any bills restricting a woman’s ability to make her own healthcare decisions in consultation with her doctor?
  • Fred Anderson (R): Did not respond
  • Melissa Smith (D): No
    • I respect the right of privacy under the 14th Amendment for women to make their own decisions regarding their reproductive health. When the state controls the reproductive life of women, they control their economic destiny.
7) Hanna’s Act (HB 21) and other MMIW policies need increased investment and statutory funding in order to have meaningful impacts.
  • Fred Anderson (R): Did not respond
  • Melissa Smith (D): Agree
    • It is disgraceful that we have ignored the plight of so many missing and murdered women on our reservations or anywhere in Montana. These missing lives rip families apart and the way these cases are currently handled cause irreparable harm. The ripple effects are felt throughout Montana. Hanna’s Act is a significant step toward streamlining communication among various law enforcement agencies handling missing person cases, particularly on Montana’s reservations. However, the funding for providing for these communications is missing. We need to take real actions for these women, not provide faux solutions that may feel like we are acting, but are just spinning our wheels.
8) Would you vote to add sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression as protected classes under the MT Human Rights Act (MHRA), ensuring that all Montanans have the same access to legal protections in their workplace, housing, and public accommodations?
  • Fred Anderson (R): Did not respond
  • Melissa Smith (D): Yes
    • In Montana for too long we have relied on court cases and Federal law to provide protections for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Some cities in Montana have stepped up to fill in the gaps in protections. Commendable efforts, but a statewide policy would provide consistent protections for the LGBTQ+ community. No one should face discrimination for who they are and religious freedom does not mean denying basic human rights to any person.
9) In order to fully invest in communities and infrastructure, Montana should raise revenue by closing tax loopholes and ensuring that everyone is paying their fair share.
  • Fred Anderson (R): Did not respond
  • Melissa Smith (D): Agree