Jeff Essmann announced tonight that he will GASP be running for Governor of Montana. In an uncomfortably awkward conference call- townhall meeting, Essmann prosaically listed his accomplishments, forgetting all about the legislation that provided him essential name-recognition. His fluffer, Senator Jason Priest; assisted with creating some faux passion for the candidate who is generally regarded as the epitome of dull. As Essmann would launch into another list of accomplishments, occasionally Senator Priest would stop him, exclaiming “I’m sorry to interrupt you, Senator Essmann, but what you just said was pretty exciting! Perhaps you’d like to share more about that with callers.” Repeated themes throughout the “event” included: resisting the Obama agenda, standing up to federal intrusion in our state, and “Essmann with 2 Ns”. The callers seemed to be plants- although many cannabis patients and providers on the call tried to ask questions, none of them were able.
My favorite caller was Warren, from Lolo. He is a retired, older gentleman living on a fixed income. Although he owns his home, he suspects he will soon be forced to sell it as the property taxes are very high. It is interesting that Warren mentions this issue, actually; he certainly was talking to the appropriate person anyway. You see, Essmann’s legislation, a re-write of HB 658, was an attempt to mitigate the financial sting of property reappraisals. The attempt backfired and instead of lessening the blow, Montanans were slapped with the largest property tax increases in their lifetimes… during an economic recession.
So, Warren; does that answer your question? Essmann, a self described “conservative republican” is no stranger to funding government growth with tax proceeds-in fact, he proposed adding a local sales tax as well. As the unpopular candidate struggles to stand out in a like-minded crowd his insatiable appetite for taxes will set him almost certainly set him apart from the pack. Currently, nine GOP candidates are vying for the position of Governor, all of whom happen to be more interesting and well-liked than Senator Essmann.