Eric Whitney

Eric Whitney is the news director for Montana Public Radio.

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Democratic U.S. House candidate Rob Quist rallied supporters in Kalispell this weekend with the help of Senator Jon Tester. Libertarian candidate Mark Wicks was in Kalispell too, inviting his backers to show off their ugly trucks. Nicky Ouellet reports.

The University of Montana will be presenting its voluntary early retirement plan to eligible faculty Friday.

UM President Sheila Stearns says early retirement will be offered, “exclusively to a subset of full-time tenured faculty at the university’s main campus and Missoula College.”

Yesterday I spoke with the Republican candidate for Montana's US House seat, Greg Gianforte.

ERIC WHITNEY: When we last talked to you about the House healthcare bill, last Thursday, that was the day the House passed the bill, at the time you told us you need a little more time to study it before you could say whether you would have voted for it. So, would you have voted for the House bill?

Healthcare has again moved toward the top of the agenda in Montana’s special election race for the state’s lone seat in the U.S. House. Whichever candidate wins the race, there’s no way they’ll be able to represent everyone in Montana on healthcare.

Republican House Candidate Greg Gianforte’s campaign is downplaying his comments about the House healthcare bill that were secretly recorded and leaked to the media.

The New York Times says the comments were taped Thursday, “during a private conference call with Republican-leaning lobbyists in Washington.”

Democratic candidate for Montana’s U.S. House seat Rob Quist says the healthcare bill the House passed yesterday, "gives a massive tax cut to millionaires while jacking up premiums for Montanans.” He says he would have voted against the bill.

Quist favors keeping the current Affordable Care Act in place, but says it needs some fixes. We’ll hear his comments on that in a moment.

Montana didn’t have a vote on the healthcare bill that passed the U.S. House today. The state’s seat has been vacant since Ryan Zinke resigned it in March to become interior secretary.

Today the Greg Gianforte, Republican candidate to replace Zinke, talked to Montana Public Radio about the bill.

Democratic U.S. House candidate Rob Quist is hoping voters will shy away from Republican Greg Gianforte because of his investments in Russian business stocks.

In Saturday night’s debate sponsored by MTN News Quist said, "Mr. Gianforte has a quarter-of-a-million dollars in stocks in Russian companies that the US has on the sanction list."

Mark Wicks, the Libertarian candidate for Montana’s U.S. House seat, got statewide exposure in the race’s only televised debate Friday, produced and broadcast by MTN News.

"We’ve been doing the same thing over and over and over, and we get the same result: People back in Washington that aren’t doing what they’re supposed to because they’re beholden to special interests, they’re taking lobbyist money. I’m not beholden to any of that." Wicks said during the debate.

Montana timber companies are happy that President Trump has slapped new import taxes on Canadian forest products, but backlash is hurting a coal company here.

On Wednesday the premier of British Columbia asked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to retaliate against the timber tariffs by shutting down U.S. access to a seaport in Vancouver. That letter caused the stock price of Cloud Peak Energy to drop by 10 percent yesterday.

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