Ryan Zinke is a third generation Montanan with deep family roots in Bozeman, Glasgow, Glendive, Whitefish, and Richey. He was a multiple sport All-State stand-out and a Whitefish High School Football Hall of Fame inductee.
After serving as three-time class president, Zinke attended the University of Oregon on an athletic scholarship and graduated with a B.S. in Geology.
As a four-year letterman, he received numerous awards to include All-Pacific TEN honors, the Pacific TEN Medal, the University Sahlstrom Award, and the prestigious Emerald Cup for academic, athletic, and leadership excellence.
In 1996 and again in 1997, Ryan Zinke was twice selected for Most Outstanding Young Men in America honors.
Ryan’s distinguished military career began in 1985 when he graduated from Officer Candidate School and attended SEAL training (class 136). He was then assigned to SEAL Team ONE in Coronado, CA where he led counter-insurgency and contingency operations in the Persian Gulf and the Pacific theater of operations.
From 1990-93 and again from 1996-99, he was selected to SEAL Team SIX where he was a Team Leader, Ground Force Commander, Task Force Commander and Current Operations Officer in support of National Command Authority missions.
He then served as the Special Operations Officer in Europe and led the first exercise between former Soviet Special Forces and NSW forces, and served as the SEAL Commander of Joint Task Force TWO in support of Special Operations missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo.
In 2004, Ryan was assigned as Deputy and acting Commander, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM where he led a force of over 3500 Special Operations personnel in Iraq in the conduct of 360 combat patrols, 48 Direct Action missions, and hundreds of sensitive operations. In 2006 he was awarded two Bronze Stars for combat.
Ryan’s final Naval assignment was establishing the Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command where he served as “Dean” of the Naval Special Warfare graduate school with a staff of over 250 educators which provided over 43 college level courses to over 2500 students annually at 15 different locations world-wide. He retired from active duty 2008 after serving 23 years as a US Navy SEAL.
In 2008, Ryan was elected to the Montana State Senate and chaired the Senate Education Committee and served on the Senate Finance and Claims Committee. As a Senator he was a leading advocate for strong family values, restoring individual and economic freedoms, energy independence, and helping veterans receive proper care. He was a proud recipient of numerous awards from the Montana Chamber of Commerce and the Rural School Association.
Ryan is CEO of a consulting firm that specializes in advanced technology in the industries of aerospace, oil and gas, and national security. He serves as a Director of the Montana Firearms Institute and is the President and Founder of the Great Northern Veterans Peace Park Foundation. He previously served as the volunteer Chairman of Special Operations for America (SOFA) until stepping down in September, 2013 to run for the U.S. House.
Ryan is Disabled Veteran and holds a Masters in Business Finance and a Masters in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego. He is married to the former Lolita Hand and has two boys, Wolfgang and Konrad, and a daughter Jennifer, who is a former US Navy Diver and is also married to a Navy SEAL.
Growing the Economy and Controlling Spending
Our $17 trillion debt is unfathomable in size, irresponsible in creation, and reckless to continue. As such, I strongly support a peacetime balanced budget amendment and a dramatic reduction in the size and scope of government. Washington must be held accountable to ensure that the funding of programs is based on measurable performance standards and are held accountable to fall within the law. But there is no way we will be able to cut our way out of this mess.
We must grow our way out. That means that we have to get government out of the way of business. We need to cut burdensome regulation and allow people to succeed.
Promoting Energy Independence
Click here to read my plan to increase energy jobs in Montana: Zinke Energy Plan-Power Our Economy
A key to growing our economy is promoting energy development in Montana. Montana is the Treasure State and part of that treasure is the oil, gas and coal we have. The priority is to achieve North American energy independence in a manner that develops our natural resources responsibly by using accepted industry best practices and leveraging emerging technology.
Coal, oil, and gas are critical components of reaching energy independence and must be accelerated through increased domestic production and constructing the infrastructure necessary to produce, refine, and transport energy.
Renewable and alternative sources of energy, including hydro and biofuels, are also an important component of energy independence provided that they are cost effective and able to compete on the open market without subsidies.
Economic sustainability and job creation are critical to the continuation of energy independence in our country. A primary component of energy independence and economic development is building the Keystone XL pipeline.
Lowering Health Care Costs
Obamacare as written is reckless and will lead to higher costs with less medical care. We can do better, particularly for the aging population in Montana, who are on fixed incomes and are certain to face higher premiums and no coverage at all for many conditions.
Health care must be affordable but not free, innovative by design, and be focused on giving the medical professionals the freedom and latitude to provide quality care rather than having Washington telling us how to be a doctor, nurse, or provider. Innovative solutions such as expanding health care pools, allowing those pools to form across state lines, promoting Health Savings Accounts and passing meaningful tort reform will go a long way to lowering health care costs.
Expanding Education Opportunities
As a father and grandfather, former Chairman of the Montana Senate Education Committee, and former “Dean” of the U.S. Navy SEAL Advanced Training Command I firmly believe that in order to reform education policies, we must ensure more local control of our schools and giving parents a stronger voice.
Parents strive to provide the very best for their children, as such they deserve the opportunity to seek great teachers and schools that will help to prepare students for tomorrow’s job market. Furthermore I strongly support innovation through the use of classroom technology, performance based curriculum, and quality instruction.
Protecting the Second Amendment
As a third generation Montanan, I strongly believe in the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms. I support current open carry and concealed carry permit laws. I also support national concealed carry reciprocity which would allow law-abiding concealed carry permit holders to carry in any other state that allows concealed carry.
I believe, as the Supreme Court confirmed in the Heller and McDonald decisions, that the Second Amendment guarantees our God-given right to self defense. This right should be extended to our national parks, national forests and other public lands. We must ensure that Montanans are allowed to own semi-automatic pistols, rifles and shotguns, as well as vintage military firearms. As a former Commander at SEAL Team Six, my team developed the .50 Cal sniper rifle.
Montana is famous for its hunting heritage. As a hunter myself, I will continue to oppose efforts by special interests to stop hunting. This includes efforts by radical groups to ban traditional ammunition. Big government continues to overstep local authority. This is not the Montana I know and love! I’m firmly against federal gun registration and a federal database of gun ownership or purchases.
Promoting Conservative Family Values
My grandmother worked her way through college and became a school teacher at a one room school near Richey, MT. My grandfather helped construct the Fort Peck dam. Their example taught me the value of hard work and gave me the family values I now have. I believe that parents deserve to make the best decisions for their children. I believe we must prepare our children for tomorrow with the family values of my grandparents. I believe in the value of life. I have fought for that value.
I am the only candidate to carry a right to life bill, protecting unborn victims and ensuring that all life should be protected.