The Missoulian printed this review of Doug Coffin:
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Douglas Coffin is a Democrat from Missoula running for House District 93. Here are his answers to political questions.
1. What role should local and state governments play in economic development?
Local and state governments must coordinate their efforts to assure that a fertile environment exists for both employment and business opportunities. First, state and local governments need to make strategic investments in infrastructure, for example, so that workers and entrepreneurs can take advantage of opportunities. Second, they need to invest in public education and job training for workers so that Montana has a top quality workforce. Finally, state and local governments must present a united, strong message to the federal government so that Montanans can compete on a level playing field with fair trade in the world economy.
2. What legislative actions do you favor to improve Montana’s economy and create jobs here?
Attempts by the state to get “low taxes and less government” have resulted in over regulation and choked off economic growth. First, we need to pass a bill allowing states and localities to run their own local economies and levy their own taxes and fess. Second, the legislature needs to pass a constitutional amendment assuring the opportunity to an affordable, accessible, high quality college education for all Montanans. Finally, the legislature needs to continually revisit our tax code and make sure that tax breaks to business and industry are a good investment for our state and not just political favors.
3. Montana now has a projected general fund budget surplus of $427 million as of mid-2013. What, if anything, do you think the 2013 Legislature should do with this money?
First, establish a state-based public college scholarship fund so that Montana students can afford a high quality college education. Second, improve Montana’s transportation and communications infrastructure and invest in state-based research and development so that we can compete in the world economy. Third, we must provide tax cuts to Main St. to help close the income gap between Main St. and Wall St. We’ve had enough tax breaks for billionaires and corporations, let’s return the money to people who need it most and will spend it here in Montana. Finally, we should look at property tax relief for homeowners.
4. What is your opinion of current DUI laws and legislation? Would you change anything? Be specific.
The law needs to focus more effectively on the acute alcoholic offenders, especially repeat offenders. Courts need to incarcerate these people because they represent a real danger to the community. Mandatory alcohol treatment needs to be readily available to all DUI offenders as part of their sentence. There needs to be an assurance that DUI offenders have succeeded in treating their disease before they regain their freedom, and most certainly before they regain the privilege to drive. Public education efforts need to continue, they have been a great success over the last thirty years. We need to sustain that effort.
5. Do you think the Legislature needs to intervene in the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Departments wildlife management activity? If so, what would you propose?
Management of wildlife (elk, wolves, bison etc.) should be on the state and ecosystem level but the legislature needs be careful in any intervention because they are not trained biologists. We must be certain that science and logic, not politics, provides the foundation for resource and ecosystem conservation. The legislature should guarantee that public ownership of wildlife, lands, and waters is maintained so that public access is assured for sports and recreation in a healthy ecosystem. Natural resource extraction should avoid exploitation and ruination of our state. We need to make sure that Montana remains the “Last Best Place” forever.
6. When the University of Montana seeks funding for its College of Technology expansion, will you support its request? Why or why not?
Support for COT expansion is a no-brainer and I’m certainly behind that, although I’d like them to build somewhere besides the University Golf Course. Moreover, COT expansion is not enough. We need to be sure that providing a quality two-year education is really not just a plan for “college on the cheap” that strips down or limits our university system. We need to produce more scientists and engineers. Montanans should be able to pursue four-year and graduate or professional degrees because these really provide the opportunities for careers with high paying jobs to truly achieve the American Dream.