The real Ryan Zinke


RyanZ2Ryan 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.

6 thoughts on “The real Ryan Zinke”

  1. Ryan Zinke was twice selected for Most Outstanding Young Men in America honors. People don't seem to realize that this award is only meant to sell books. It's no big deal.

  2. @1 Jan, Did you get such an award? And what about all the other things Zinke has done compared to Lewis? Lewis's only job has been to work for Max Baucus. Lewis knows nothing about the real world and he shows it in his energy plan and issues descriptions.

    In your previous comment you said, "Democrat Zinke, who supported a corporations’s right to condemn your property." But you did not state your data source. If it is a Senate bill then you did not describe the real issue and who else voted the same way Zinke did.

    You parrot sound bites and you think your sound bites are a reason to vote for Lewis.

    You have never given the reason you prefer Lewis over Zinke. Therefore, I think you are a simple Democrat.

  3. I think Jan was talking about HB 198 that was the Republicans job's bill, that said a corporation can condemn property for its use. It's the same with the Keystone pipeline allowing the company to condemn private property for it's use. Some of us support private property rights and would like to get rid of these laws and other things like growth policies, which tell property owners, what they can't do with their properties. Zinke voted yes on HB 198 and supports the Keystone pipeline. So how can he support property rights. Many of the Montana TEA Party groups and libertarians were against HB 198 for that reason. You can't have it both ways!

  4. @3 David, you are correct about Jan's concern being HB 198. Do a search of "HB 198" on PolyMontana and you will see I made my position against HB 198 very clear. But I am for the Keystone Pipeline.

    HB 198 was a complicated bill and an argument can be made that only the committee that reviewed HB 198 really understood it. Tea Party Senator Verdell Jackson, who voted for HB 198, explained that his vote was not against private property rights but was for Montana keeping the written agreements it had made with a private company after the company had spent millions of dollars based upon its understanding of the agreement. He said it was a very complicated issue. Therefore, it is not valid to conclude that those who voted for HB 198 are against private property rights.

    Eminent domain is a valid right of government so long as government pays land owners a fair price for their land. Eminent domain is necessary if a land owner refuses to sell at a fair price thereby stopping the public from receiving the benefits from the public purchase of his land.

    The bigger picture is Jan's @1 comment suggests she would use HB 198 as the sole reason to vote for Lewis over Ryan Zinke. HB 198 is not sufficient reason to reject a candidate for US Congress. When we select our candidate for US Congress we must consider the vast differences between the candidates rather than focus a vote for one bill.

    That Jan would use HB 198 as her reason to choose Lewis over Zinke is not a logical decision if she is a conservative. Therefore, I conclude she is actually a Democrat.

  5. Guess your star performer doesn't want to perform. Will he act the same if elected?
    "Zinke didn’t want Libertarian candidate Mike Fellows included in the debate. Mikkelsen said Fellows would be a distraction. Zinke also wanted to make sure he was asked about foreign policy, job growth and economic development – standard debate questions."

  6. @5 Dear ele, Ryan Zinke is absolutely, 100 percent correct: A third party candidate does not belong in the debates for US Congress and it is necessary and proper for Zinke to request the removal of Fellows from the debate and to request critical subjects for debate. Ryan Zinke shows he can focus on the critical issues … and you show you cannot.

    America is too important to play games when we have serious decisions to make.

    Without the conditions that Ryan Zinke requested, the liberal debate sponsors will play their liberal games with irrelevant subject matter and foolish Libertarians will think Fellows is a legitimate choice for Congress, which he is not. The race for US Congress is between Ryan Zinke and John Lewis, and no one else. A third party candidate in the debates is an unnecessary distraction.

    It's impossible for Ryan Zinke to counter Lewis on critical issues when Fellows is on the stage. It's like having a third party in a boxing match.

    As Ryan Zinke properly said, "Serious issues require serious and thoughtful dialogue. Rebuilding our economy and restoring American exceptionalism is job number one."

    Let's focus on the critical path and not get distracted. Ryan Zinke is far better for Montana, for America, and even for you than John Lewis will ever be.

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