Endorsements for Public Service Commission


In the early (and not long ago) days of Montana Daily Gazette, our endorsements for primary races mirrored very closely that of Montanans for Limited Government – a still excellent organization we heartily recommend. Their primary goal of a limited but efficient government mirror closely to the conservative values of the Montana Daily Gazette, which has broader, but similar goals in our journalism.

This year, unfortunately, we believe that Montanans for Limited Government, which again – we still love and respect – has made some odd, potentially catastrophic, and bewildering choices in their endorsements for Public Service Commission.

We will correct those perceived errors here.

Their endorsements:

District 1: Webb Galbreath

District 5: Annie Bukaceck

The endorsements chosen carefully by the Montana Daily Gazette follow a close criterion of several factors:

  • * Experience in public service, with an honorable track record
  • * Subject knowledge or experience in the office they are running for
  • *Past voting records

We fully recognize that in a primary battle, more than one good candidate – or good person – may present themselves. However, a primary is a zero-sum game, and in the end, there can be only one selected by the people.

On a personal note, I find little in disagreement with Montanans for Limited Government (MLG) in their legislative endorsements, but in no uncertain terms find their endorsements for PSC to a far, far cry from the criterion that our ownership board has chosen to endorse such candidates.

DISTRICT 1: Webb Galbreath

While I understand that Galbreath returned the MLG questionnaire and Pinoccii did not, it is not convincing to the Montana Daily Gazette to unseat arguably the hardest working man in Montana government who has been busy on the road campaigning rather than answering questionnaires.

In his recent track record, Pinnocci:

  • * fought the hidden tax on Northwest Energy Users for the zebra mussel
  • * fought for the PSC to use regulatory oversight to stop Big Tech Censorship
  • * tried to broker a deal to save Montana Markets for foreign aid
  • * worked hard to keep MDU Sidney open
  • * fought tirelessly to keep the Colstrip plant at full capacity
  • * worked to get trains off rural tracks, impeding traffic and emergency services
  • * acquired hundreds of thousands of dollars so Savage school kids could drink clean water again
  • *opposed rate hikes that do not benefit the ratepayer

Giving an endorsement to an untested man because he answered your questionnaire (with no guarantee it will be followed) seems small in comparison. Pinocci has the best track record of any PSC official, is #1 in work attendance (by far), and kept his head down against insane, inaccurate, and libelous attacks by Tom Lutey in the press and former PSC judge Roger Koopman. He is, without a doubt, the man for this job.

Montana Daily Gazette Strongly Endorses Randy Pinocci.

DISTRICT 2: Annie Buckaceck

I personally reached out via telephone to explain to Dr. Bukacek that despite my years of appreciation for her work against Planned Butcherhood, the life of the unborn, and other topics, we would not be endorsing her for this position. I would – for the record – love to vote for Dr. Bukacek for a position I feel she is more qualified for.

I live many hundreds of miles from the Flathead Valley. I understand – vaguely – the nastiness, vitriol, anger, and (I hate to write it) hatred between fractions of the conservative alliance for which the Flathead Valley (like last year) was well known. I am well aware because not all our staff writers agree with our owners, most of whom are not Flathead Valley residents.

I’m well aware – more than I should be – of skirmishes (to put it lightly) between Ronalee Skees (and by extension, Derek) and a minority of patriot-minded opponents to their various campaigns. By the way, we love those patriots! These are plainly on the darker sider of ugly within the region.

I’ve done everything possible to encourage both sides to work out differences in light of Christian charity, to no avail (this does not impugn one side or the other). I’ve also reached out to Joe Dooling, which started as a troll (his wife’s RINO voting record disqualifies him from office, in my opinion), who I have found to be – to my surprise – an affable, friendly, funny, good-natured, and intelligent man. And yet, I do not believe he is the best man for the job.

However, back to the business of giving endorsements from inarguably the largest and most influential written news publication in the state, there is one more candidate to consider – Derek Skees.


I have watched Skees both up close and afar. For those – on any side – to refer to him as a RINO – is the very heart of dumbassery. Yes, I understand skirmishes between Mrs. Skees and others have bled over to this race as well. That is bad politics, foolish, futile, and vain. Mrs. Skees will be handled in other endorsement posts, but she is not running for PSC. Derek is.

Skees’ voting record is untarnished and immaculate. He understands the intricacies of state politics. He grasps the issues. His legislative record alone entitles him to our hardy endorsement. And while we risk ostracizing readers with the plague of dumbassery, Skees is not only not a RINO, he is one of the most conservative leaders to hold public office in decades.

From our perch – granted, from afar – it appears that unrelated drama has drawn people into a hatred for the Skees that is unwarranted and stirred up without consideration for what is best for the State of Montana. As much as I love Dr. Bukacek, her running for PSC is like me running for coroner – I could probably figure it out after a while, but at the moment, I’m simply not the best person for the job.

For the MDG Publication, we urge your support for the only viable and experienced candidate, Derek Skees.

Those who disagree are free to write an op-ed of disagreement, and Rep. Skees is free to counter it. We have adopted – for this primary season only – a “1 for 1” policy of op-eds; one for, one against – no matter the race. Furthermore, as a matter of policy, we do not “fact-check” op-eds; in fact, we despise the notion. Let the reader beware and research for themselves.


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  1. You’re entitled to your opinion but not your own set of facts. Derek has attended BoH meetings where he has attacked conservatives for being right wing extremists and the cancel culture embraced by the right. Derek wants us to sit on our blessed assurance and shut up! His wife Rona’s record has been abysmal although the Love Lives Here group loves her.

    Derek is a slick, smooth talking poli-tic-ian. The Skees have a sense of entitlement only they have not earned my vote. And I’m not impressed with Derek acting like a pharisee quoting scripture in public. We know them by their fruit.

    Rona has voted in support of mandates on March 19, 2020 as well as gave tacit approval to the experimental gene therapy clot shots at the children’s death clinics.

    By the way, is Derek an MDG contributor?? That’s too bad you, Derek think conservatives should not stand up for our God given rights. I fear God not government.

    Dr. Bukacek is more than capable of executing the duties of the PSC seat. The PSC is a vital position and we need someone who has a moral compass, professional and personal integrity. Dr. Annie Bukacek for the PSC.

  2. How do you words have any weight, when you lack the courage to stand your name with them?

    A few observations if you would. My wife’s name is Ronalee and unlike you, has the conviction to stand by what she has said with her name. Her record on the FCBoH is impeccable, as given by the Fact that we were one of the freest counties in the state during Covid because of her and the conservatives on the Board.

    The only vote you reference was for a letter of support demanding we keep hospitality businesses open and able to operate regardless of the Mandate that came from the Gov the next day. If you think the conservative women on the FCBoH were the reason for the lock down, and that they had any control over local school boards, you are refusing to believe easily proven facts. (BTW, isn’t a pharisee known for refusing the truth before their eyes? Interesting. I could bring up Matthew 7:3-5 here..)

    “Tacit approval”? Facts don’t care about your feelings my friend. Ronalee has been a stalwart advocate for vaccine choice for more than 20 years, and supports the parents right to choose for their own families. None of our kids were vaccinated, and we fought that all through their school decades ago. Her votes, discussions and history prove that.

    You place words in my mouth that I never said, anonymous. Where did you hear me say I don’t think conservatives should stand up for God given rights please? I have never said such a thing because I don’t believe such a thing.

    There is a video of exactly what I said at the BoH for any to reference. If you were there anonymous, please remember I said that when you stand on a lie, based upon one vote only, and throw a conservative under the bus regardless of the remainder of their voting record….that you were wrong. That is a fringe radical left tactic to embrace, and I would suggest adoption of such a tactic counters any truth to the claim of being a conservative.

    The assumptions, false conclusions and willful ignorance of easily determined facts in your letter are astounding, and I thank you for proving my point better than I could. I understand why you don’t want to put your name on it. Calling me a pharisee. Really? We are told to judge a tree by it’s fruit, and my fruit is truth, faith and freedom for the past 12 years in politics. When you repeatedly hear me use the Word to prove a point when I speak, you think I offer it as a false testimony?

    I will pray for you, like I do daily for the lost, and hope that you can recover from the psychological damage you have suffered under the tyranny of Covid my friend. We have plenty of socialist enemies in our Republic, and I pray your discernment improves on finding our real foes, so we can work together better to keep it.

  3. If anyone is lost it’s you and COVIDLee. Your wife voted for pesticide spraying in March that the grantee admitted the application did not have the chemicals he is actually using. The board should have made him amend his application to have the actual chemical they’d be spraying on us. Rona also voted for a gold merit badge for restaurants proposed by the health officer to reinforce the scamdemic.

    Taken from a recent patriot’s article on Rona:

    …”Ronalee Skees then went into full-gaslight mode by suggesting that any attempts to hold members of the health board to account for their consequential voting record were inflammatory and divisive.

    Ronalee Skees asserted in a follow-up email, “As a member of our community appointed to serve, I do not swear oath of office when appointed, that is usual for elected office holders.”

    In other words, if she did not pledge an oath, the principles of the Constitution do not matter. However, Skees signed an oath before both of her terms on the health board. These oaths are a matter of public record, so her assertion to the contrary is not truthful.

    Holmquist and Skees then attended a Republican women’s function and cried the blues, claiming that they voted the way they did out of fear, admitting they believed the ridiculous assertions that we were going to need refrigerated morgue trucks, etc. Their vote came despite the fact, which was asserted several times, that there were ZERO cases of COVID-19 in Flathead County at the time and 12 alleged “cases” in all of Montana including zero deaths statewide. Because we need public officials who vote based on fear instead of facts and principles, right?

    Derek Skees then decided to jump into the fray, starting with last month’s health board meeting on February 17. During his screed, Skees labeled those who were pointing out the inconvenient truth regarding his wife’s voting record as woke, fringe, right-wing extremists.”

    You are your own worst enemy Derek. I pray for lost souls too Derek with you, Rona included in the list. Your tirades on Fakebook and at FLC meetings are legend and not in a good way.

    Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  4. Since this paper is a favored place for the cancelers here in the Flathead, here is the exact speech I read at the only FCBoH meeting I testified at;

    We have seen many travesties from failed government Covid policies across the globe in the last two years. It seems we are exposed to those dramatic affects more and more each day, with new problems discovered weekly. With the studies now released that show cloth masks don’t work, that the lock down was completely ineffective, that the so called vaccine isn’t really a vaccine at all and lastly the failed policy that we could stop a virus by quarantining the healthy. Many of us now share a rising anger at what we have had to endure.

    Many no longer trust the CDC, this Whitehouse, Congress and the policies that push tyranny under the guise of “for the public good”. The truth is winning, as our faith tells us it always will.
    With this truth, many of us know, and more are realizing each day, that there is a radicalized element in our country bent on their point of view being the only one allowed. They have used language as their primary tool, crafting misinformation to ignite a fake moral outrage, judging with guilt by accusation and creating the phenomena known as the cancel culture. This radicalized element then use these devices to drown out any position contrary to the one they have crafted. Many that do this describe themselves as the woke.

    In the world of the woke, you are either the oppressed or the oppressor, and the offense only flows from their victim to the perceiver. They have embraced a duality of argument with all things, allowing no other position to be valid that the two opposing views they “feel”. They no longer measure anything by merit, only victim status. The first casualty of this movement is the obvious resultant segregation of ideas, which amazingly enough has become politicized to.

    This division of ideas can be seen nationally in the border crisis, Covid response, crime in America, and yes, even science, where if you aren’t in their tribe and the way they see it, then you’re in the other tribe. The fact that the accused position is never consulted, nor honestly ever really sought, just the tribal segregation of “if you’re not with us, you’re against us”. There is no effort to understand the “offending” action, the circumstances surrounding the decision, the fact that it may have happened in a different time frame from the current one doing the judging (just look at our County Health Board for an excellent example of this).

    This creates a quest for affirmation, replacing any real effort to gather information, and thus we have people in our community spreading half-truths at best, bent on cancelling the victims of their biased prejudice. I know for a fact that much of what we hear can easily be disproven with some little old fashioned research, yet even that will not dissuade the cancelers from their course. They only invest time in “uncovering” more dirt, true or not, relevant or none, in their myopic mission to destroy what they have refused to see as human.

    The really sad conclusion of this story would be that many hearing it would see the obvious link to the radical left. Yet today I am talking about our friends, our historical allies, and community members we have been in the trenches with on many great struggles. We now have this cancel culture tactic being utilized by a small minority of self-proclaimed Freedom Loving Conservatives. This loud, angry, truth denying prejudicial minority I now call the Radicalized Right. I have asked members of this group to meet and resolve this like Christians, but have been refused.

    Let’s reflect on Luke chapter 6 43-45: 43 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

  5. Thanks for helping me further prove my point. I was not a target of your group…until I defended my wife and the conservative women on the FCBoH. I knew you couldn’t resist doing to me what your doing to them. I know your fruit all too well, and like clockwork, you delivered.

    I also knew my record and reputation would easily prove that you have no commitment to truth when you started to attack me as well. In fact, the endorsement above describes this completely when your group continually calls me establishment republican and RINO- “is the very heart of dumbassery.”

    I would like to suggest that one of the reasons for your Anonymous posting, is to prevent the reader from realizing that most of the folks on this fringe like you (since your posting anonymous, I can only assume your in the handful of of these cancelers), are new to Montana within the last 3 years, many hailing from points west of the Flathead. You have no link to our history, community or values, and are just bringing the issues you left to your new home here, looking for targets to assuage your anger.

  6. The AFP gives you a score of 84 which is one point higher than Brian Putnam! I’m anonymous as you are a very creepy person stalking people expressing their opinions on social media, liberty meetings including Rona criticizing people at a meeting who were offering safety sheets at the death clinics for children.

    Continue to attack me Derek as you cannot run on your record and certainly not your bizarre fascist conduct attempting to squelch free speech. You’ve been in politics long enough. You’re a poli-tic-ian meaning
    poli =multiple, tic = blood sucking parasite.

    Speaking of people not from the Flathead aren’t you from Florida? You’re a tragic case.

    I’m voting for Dr. Ann Bukacek as she has professional integrity, a moral compass. Dr. Bukacek is endorsed by Montanans for Limited Government.

  7. Thanks again for helping me make my case, you’ve been exactly what you’ve been for the last 6 months and now Montana see’s your kinder-garden side for exactly what it is here.

  8. Hey Anonymous, I have a 90% lifetime score with AFP, and a 100% energy policy voting record over 8 years, so thank you for bringing that up for the reader here.

    As far as the last cycle scoring from the AFP, only the following scores were higher than mine, out of 100 Legislators in the House, so perhaps check out the bills they scored and see why many conservatives didn’t vote for some of them (especially the ones they teamed up with Montana ACLU on). Please note only 3 republicans even got over 90%

    Carleson 85%
    Gist 86%
    Hinkle J. 91%
    Hinkle C 93%
    Hopkins 88%
    Jones 85%
    Kerns 85%
    Knudsen C. 88%
    Knudsen R. 86%
    Loge 85%
    Marshalll 86%
    McKamey 85%
    Moore 85%
    Regier A 85%
    Stromswolde 90%
    Trebas 85%

    Thanks for bringing this up here, as I had a question about that as well.

    As far as the Montanans for Limited Government, I have a perfect score of 100% Lifetime (8 years) with those good folks. Not sure how they decided to endorse for PSC there, but it wasn’t following their Mission Statement, and yet another good question for the reader here.

    Lastly, my concern isn’t that you from out of state, as I have many non-native friends in the Flathead (we are now the majority in fact in Flathead County) whom I cherish. I have been here since High School in 1982 to develop them… just saying.

    It’s that you just got here and are bringing the baggage you left with you, ignorant of the struggles we have shared, unwilling to explore that history and spreading lies about anyone you just don’t like.

  9. Hey Anonymous, didn’t you say I didn’t have a record I could run on? Well that is another lie you are spreading, and the truth is that I have worked extremely hard for Conservatives and their values for the 8 years I served this great state. I am humbled by being elected to that service and proud of my achievements working with the incredible conservatives joining me. I have listed them here for the reader in order to prove my point.

    You surely understand that I am in a righteous struggle to make sure the lies your group tells are exposed. You started this fight and incorrectly may call it stalking and attacks, but it is my tireless effort to expose the lies you embrace and spread. I am trying to make sure you can’t tarnish with falsehoods all the hard work my wife and I have done for our community for the last 20 years.

    Montana Family Foundation 100% Lifetime
    Americans For Prosperity 90% Aggregate, 100% Energy Policy, Lifetime
    NRA Rating A+ Lifetime
    GOA endorsed every cycle I have ran as a Legislator
    MSSA endorsed every cycle I have ran as a Legislator
    American Conservative Union Foundation (CPAC) 92% Lifetime
    Montanans For Limited Government 100% Lifetime
    Montana Right to Work Endorsed every cycle, 100% lifetime vote
    Montana Sportsman’s Caucus Member in good standing every cycle
    Republican Legislative Campaign Committee Elected by my peers for two terms
    Republican House Majority Whip Elected by my peers for two terms
    House Energy Committee (ETFR) Vice chair 2 cycles, chair one cycle
    House Rules Committee Chair two cycles
    ETIC Vice chair once, Chair once
    Montana House Republican PNWER Delegate Last 4 years, co-chair of the Energy Committee
    Flathead County State Committeeman Since 2012
    Montana Republican Treasurer Since 2021
    LEHI Graduate 2018
    Montana Young Republicans Honored to be the First time recipient
    -Favorite Legislator (the coveted Thug Life Award!)
    Montana Daily Gazette Appreciation Award 2021 Legislative Service
    Flathead Republicans 2021 Hero of Liberty award

    I thank my fellow conservative Legislators, Republican state committee folks and the FCRCC for all their hard work, and couldn’t have accomplished a single one of these recognition’s without them all. I pray continued victories for the folks picking up the torch of Freedom and serving in the next cycle, and I will continue to join you all in the efforts to make sure true conservatives, not hyphenated Republicans go to Helena.

    If God grants me victory in my current election, then I will fight on. If I am to serve elsewhere, then I look forward to what God has in store for me tomorrow.


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