Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Scanlin - House District 58 Candidate, Democrat

Thursday, October 8, 2020
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1) What would you like to accomplish as House Rep?

As our House District 58 representative, I would like to obtain greater support for our farm and ranch producers, as well as assistance to our small businesses in our district. I would like to assure that our rural health providers continue to provide affordable accessible services and the many jobs they provide as some of our largest employers in the County. I would like to see that our local public schools have sufficient funding for operations and security. I would like to part of assuring that our public lands withstand constant attacks on our access and use.

2) What are the challenges ahead for Carbon County?
The challenges ahead for Carbon County include restoring our agricultural markets and reviving our small businesses. Our ag producers are seeing the effects of federal trade wars and tariffs, as well as changes in growing seasons, water volume and timing, grass and forrest fires, and extreme weather events like winds and floods. Similarly, in this particularly challenging year, our small businesses have been seriously affected by the impacts of COVID-19, diminishing their customer base as well as affecting the health of their owners and workers. It’s been difficult to balance health safety with economic needs, and we will continue to face that challenge until COVID is under control. Business owners who want to return to normal face the health risks of doing so. I will support efforts to not only return to normal, but to further thrive.

3) How do you balance Carbon County's tourist industry while protecting public lands and the farming industry?  
Agriculture—both farming and ranching—remains a prime part of our economy. It needs government support to thrive, not with just promises and subsidies, but real, effective marketing and support of production and distribution methods themselves. Carbon County’s tourist industry is also significant—40% of our county economy—and relies greatly on the public’s use and access to the public land that we’re so fortunate to be close to. Farmers, ranchers, retailers and restaurant owners are all “small businesses” that are the economic engines of our rural communities. Our state district representative needs to be an advocate for both agriculture and the tourist industry, actively involved in legislation to support these important parts of our local economy along with our multiple other small businesses.

4) How  would you encourage economic growth in Carbon County and encourage local  youth to return home to work?
Economic growth in Carbon County could be enhanced with programs to make farming and ranching more profitable, using programs to assist in local processing and distribution, enriching soils, trying new crops, and marketing products produced in our area. Similarly, new programs could be supported that take greater advantage of our recreation opportunities, like touring. Multiple venues and lodging currently exist to market more events year-round. Building on what we have will create jobs for local youth to return to. In addition, a significant number of our new jobs are created by entrepreneurs with the education and skills to create jobs locally that produce revenue from outside our area and provide income for families to live here. We need to provide the technical resources like broadband access to allow these new emerging businesses to be created and thrive.
5) What would you do to ensure Rural Health Care remains and grows in Carbon County and stays affordable?
Ensuring that rural health care remains and grows in Carbon County is absolutely essential. Not only do our local residents need to be able to access medical services quickly and affordably, but both Beartooth Billings Clinic and Riverstone Health are top providers of employment in our county. Unfortunately, 20% of patients are uninsured or under-insured, putting the cost of providing care for them on the rest of us who have insurance programs. Over 900 of our local residents—almost 10% of our population—benefit from Medicaid, which recent legislatures expanded coverage for. Attacks on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and potential overturning of it will jeopardize the availability of health care to these Medicaid recipients and raise costs for the other health care users. No substitute for the ACA has been provided by those who want it eliminated other than high-deductible and high-co-pay insurance policies that prevent insured from utilizing medical services until their conditions are worse and treatment costs more or is ineffective. We’ll see more personal bankruptcies, including those affecting small businesses owners, farmers and ranchers, if this is not resolved. I will work hard to assure that our rural health care is both accessible and affordable.

6) What can you bring to the voters of Carbon County? 
I provide to our district voters a lifetime of experience: as a wife and mother in a three-generation Carbon County family, a local business owner, a former city council representative and mayor, a member of the Carbon County Planning Board, an 8-year member of the Montana Board of Housing, and a steady community volunteer. My family experience brings compassion and organizational skills. My 40 years advising folks about water rights, real estate transactions, and asset planning is based on broad knowledge of the law that relates to local folks’ lives. My years with the Red Lodge City Council taught me government budgets and funding sources. As a member of the Carbon County Planning Board, I’ve become familiar not only with local and state regulations, but the growth in local development that is occurring. My years on the Montana Board of Housing gave me the knowledge to assist the residents of Red Lodge’s last trailer court to buy the court collectively, form a homeowners association, purchase new or upgraded homes, and not only obtain secure, affordable housing, but become property-tax-paying contributors to our county. I offer my collective experience and accomplishments to benefit the residents of Carbon County as our representative of House District 58.