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A GUIDE TO THE CONGRESSIONAL RACES: MONTANA

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TIME

MONTANA

Population (1994): 850,000 (up 7.1% from 1990), 0.3% of U.S. total

Voting-age population: 623,000; 1994 turnout, 56%

Median age: 33.8 years

Median household income: $27,631 ($4,633 below U.S. median)

Unemployment: 5.2% (0.4% below U.S. average, March 1996)

Last presidential election: Clinton (D): 38% Bush (R): 35% Perot (I): 26%

Congressional delegation: Two Democrats, one Republican

Known for its striking natural beauty, the Big Sky Country has more than 50 state parks and still considers agriculture, especially wheat and cattle, its economic mainstay. Despite this year’s highly publicized Freeman standoff in Jordan and the arrest of the Unabomber suspect near Helena, Montana remains one of the most moderate of the conservative Rocky Mountain states. Clinton won here by 2% in 1992, but a Republican Governor was elected the same year. And both the contested congressional seats this year are considered close.

MAX BAUCUS SENIOR SENATOR

BORN: Dec. 11, 1941, Helena EDUCATION: Stanford U, A.B., 1964, LL.B., 1967 FAMILY: Wife, Wanda; one child RELIGION: United Church of Christ MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: Montana House, 1973-75; U.S. House, 1975-78; U.S. Senate, 1978- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 586, Helena 59624. Tel.: 406-442-2555

In 1974 Baucus walked 631 miles across the state seeking Montana’s U.S. House seat. Now wanting a third Senate term, he walked 857 miles this year. Also known for his “workdays in Montana,” Baucus has been (for a day at a time) a butcher, a road worker and a grocery bagger. In his own job in Washington, where he is the ranking Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, he waves no hard-line ideological flags.

THE ISSUES Budget NO Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA YES Welfare NO* National Service YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: [On the 1996 welfare-reform bill] “It’s a tough, smart bill. It sends a strong message that those on welfare will be required to work, while at the same time ensuring that poor children are protected as we reform welfare.”

DENNIS REHBERG (R) SENATE CHALLENGER

BORN: Oct. 5, 1955, Billings EDUCATION: Washington State U, B.A., 1977 FAMILY: Wife; Janice Lenhardt; two children RELIGION: Episcopalian MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Congressional aide; rancher; real estate salesman POLITICAL CAREER: Montana House, 1985-89, lieutenant governor, 1991- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 6547, Helena 59604. Tel.: 406-443-3414

Rehberg is running for the Senate by charging directly at incumbent Max Baucus. The state’s lieutenant governor says Baucus has moved toward the right in an election-year ploy to earn conservative support, voting for the line-item veto and the balanced-budget amendment, both of which Rehberg also supports. With statewide name recognition, Rehberg should be more challenging than Baucus’ 1990 opponent, who lost by 32 points.

THE ISSUES Budget YES Medicare YES Defense YES Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA NO Welfare NO National Service NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “Having welfare run by a giant federal bureaucracy is wasteful, slow and lacks the level of caring and help the states can give to needy families.”

RICK HILL (R) At large (statewide)

BORN: Dec. 30, 1946, Grand Rapids, Minn. EDUCATION: St. Cloud State U., B.A., 1968 FAMILY: Wife, Betti; three children RELIGION: Assembly of God MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Surety bonding and insurance company owner POLITICAL CAREER: Montana Republican Party chair, 1991-92 ADDRESS: P.O. Box 1256, Helena 59624. Tel.: 406-443-5459

Hill hopes to replace retiring 18-year incumbent Al Williams to become the first Republican in this seat since 1974. He supports a balanced-budget amendment, and has committed himself to reducing or eliminating inheritance taxes. Hill, who has painted opponent Bill Yellowtail as a liberal extremist, hopes to overcome an early poll deficit in this closely watched race, which the local press has called “a battle of opposites.”

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense YES Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “Over the last 10 years there has been an explosion of government interference in our lives. It is now illegal to roof a building and chew gum at the same time.”

BILL YELLOWTAIL (D) At large

BORN: Jan. 8, 1948, Wyola EDUCATION: Dartmouth College, B.A., 1971 FAMILY: Wife, Margarette Carlson-Yellowtail; one child RELIGION: NR MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Rancher; public official; outfitter; consultant POLITICAL CAREER: Wyola school board, 1981-85; Montana Senate, 1985-93 ADDRESS: P.O. Box 217, Helena 59624. Tel.: 406-443-3620

Yellowtail, a member of the Crow tribe, wants to become Montana’s first Native American in Congress. He grew up with no running water, no electricity and no telephone. A former EPA administrator, he has also overcome revelations about past indiscretions–being temporarily expelled from Dartmouth for stealing and failing to make child-support payments in the late 1970s–and enjoyed a lead in the polls going into the home stretch.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “One environmental regulation does not fit all situations. We have to be flexible, and we have to bring private landowners into the equation.”

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