Gary Buchanan, a candidate for Montana’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, passed through Miles City yesterday while making a swing through eastern Montana.
According to Buchanan, after his stop in Miles City his plan was to hit Baker, Wibaux, Glendive and Sidney on his current trip.
“I am trying to and succeeding to generate support locally,” Buchanan said. “I need to put a solid Miles City organization together, which is why I am here.”
Buchanan, 73, is a businessman from Billings that founded Buchanan Capital and still serves as CEO, and he is still a financial advisor in Montana.
His past experience that he feels helps prepare him for this position includes being Director of the MT Department of Commerce; Chair of the MT Board of Crime Control; Chair of the MT Board of Investments; Chair of the Nature Conservancy; and Chair of the MT Banking Board Due to the fact that Buchanan was running as an Independent, he had to gather at least 8,722 signatures to get his name on the ballot. Buchanan had over 450 volunteers across the state help him gather signatures and they gathered 14,000 that were valid.
“The challenge now is turning this army of volunteers who were really good at signature gathering, which is hard, into more traditional campaign volunteers,” Buchanan said.
On his general stances, Buchanan said that he is primarily a business person. He added that he was mainly conservative on fiscal and budget issues; on issues like national defense and security he was a hawk, very conservative; and he said he was conservative on crime.
One concern in Montana that he had was about attacks on the Montana Constitution.
“The Montana Constitution is 50 years old now and we are celebrating it,” Buchanan said. “It has some absolute rights. Clean and healthy environment; the right to participate; and a really important one is a right to privacy.”
Buchanan added that he believes very strongly in a right to privacy, which he said includes women’s rights and choice.
“I am pro privacy, pro choice, and pro people staying the hell out of our lives,” he said.
Buchanan said that he had a prominent elected Republican say to him “What is an Independent, Buchanan?”
“I looked he and his wife in the eyes and I said ‘it’s keeping the Democrats out of our wallets and you guys out of our bedrooms,’” he said.
Buchanan added that he has a lot of young people, around 19-years-old working for him, and he was surprised to hear from them that the overturning of Roe vs. Wade was one of the most important issues to them right now.
“What they were worried about was who’s next?” he said. “What group is going to be attacked next.”
A topic that Buchanan said he is completely against is any federal transfer of public lands to the private sector.
“In a lot of ways I am as conservative as any moderate or mainline Republican, but at the same time I am moderate in social issues,” he said.
Buchanan also shared his views on where politics stand in Montana.
“The middle in Montana politics, there is an eight-lane highway down the middle,” Buchanan said. “The Republican party and the Democratic party nationally and in the state are losing memberships. The current politics are driving people to be independents. I hear it everywhere I go.” On of the more recent controversial policies that Buchanan said he opposes is the wholesale bail out of student loans, saying that a loan’s a loan, a debt’s a debt, and a bond’s a bond.
“What I think should be done is like what we did in banking in the 80’s,” he said. “You could restructure loans, you could work on interest rates. I think it is legitimate for people that service in impoverished areas or reservations that they deduct dollars of the student loan, but a wholesale reduction, I think it should have been thought out more.”
He added that this is inflationary, and that he would approach this subject quite a bit more conservatively.
According to Buchanan, the main issues that he has heard from Montanans are inflation, crime, rights to privacy and access to public lands and rivers.
“Those are probably the four I hear the most about,” he said.
Buchanan is running against Republican incumbent Matt Rosendale, Democratic candidate Penny Ronning and Libertarian candidate Sam Rankin.
(Contact Derrick Calhoun at mcsportsreporter@gmail. com or at 406-234-0450.)