Few legislators around the Big Sky State have earned the animosity of fellow Republicans like Joel Krautter (HD35) of Sidney. The first-term incumbent earned a reputation during the last legislative session as a fake Republican, something the representative has tried to bury since his founding of the College Democrats at his university and hosting Obama campaign victory parties. Whereas voters suspected the candidate might not be an actual Republican during his last election, his voting record has proven it beyond all doubt.
Brad Tschida, the House Majority Leader wrote to the Round Up newspaper in Sidney to explain to Richland County voters that Krautter is not to be trusted as a conservative, and in fact, has lied about his partnership with Republican legislators in Helena.
Tschida wrote, “I am the current Republican Majority Leader in the Montana House. Early in the 2019 Legislative Session, I noticed Freshman Rep. Joel Krautter voting for bills that were contrary to established Republican Platform positions. I visited with him to ask about the basis of his votes, having knowledge of the values of voters in Richland County through my relationship with his predecessors, Reps. David Halvorson and Scott Staffanson, and his current Senator, Steve Hinebauch. As the Republican Majority Leader, elected by the majority of the Republican caucus, I wanted to ensure his clear understanding of the conservative principles guiding our caucus, and his votes.”
According to Tschida, Krautter was dismissive of his concerns on working with the Republican Party and continued to caucus regularly with Democrats.
Rep. Krautter continued to make votes during the balance of the session that, simply, didn’t follow fundamental principles of the Republican platform written by Montana citizens. Here’s a list of some of the government expansion bills for which he voted: SB 338, increasing the hotel “bed tax” by 33%, about $4 million of which is paid by Montanans; HB 661, needlessly increased aviation fuel taxes; HB 694, increasing fees/taxes on investment advisors by $7.5 million annually, passed onto Montana citizens; HB 658, Medicaid Expansion and; SB 24, raising fees on vehicle registrations. Krautter inconceivably ignored the principles of the Republican Platform, and the will of his constituents, by unnecessarily raising taxes and fees on conservatives who elected him.”
And then, Tschida didn’t hold back in claiming Krautter was lying.
He added, “For Rep. Krautter to claim in any fashion that he “worked with” Republican leadership, of which I am a part, is a lie. Rep. Krautter ignored numerous attempts I offered to help him represent true conservative Republican ideals, the ideals of his constituents, choosing to vote in lockstep with Democrats nearly as often as any disingenuous ‘Republican’.”
Before endorsing Krautter’s opponent, a conservative candidate, Brandon Ler, Tschida said, “Joel Krautter ignored the requests of his caucus leadership, and the voters of Richland County by helping Gov. Bullock pass ‘nearly everything he wanted’ in the 2019 Session. He clearly does not represent Republicans or Republican ideals.”