I look outside my window in Mineral County, Montana and there is peace. Slushy snow covers the ground and gray clouds float by. If I were to look at the news online or on a television (I do not own a TV) I would see chaos and sensationalism. I would see examples of yellow journalism, I would see the world crumbling around me. Yet, when I look out my window in Western Montana, things seem alright in contrast to the mainstream media’s promotion. But, when I walk by my refrigerator and see my property tax bill, or when I check my email and see that some of my friends’ property taxes in other areas have gone up an incredible amount from last year, I get the unsettled feeling that maybe something is wrong.

Rural, conservative, responsible, rugged, uncomplicated; these things are some of what I love about the area we live in. But when our state and local governments take steps away from those principles, I feel a call of duty.

I live in Montana because it is not like the states found on the west coast. I live in Montana because I fully support our Bill of Rights, our state and federal Constitution, less government control, less government regulation, a balanced budget, and less taxation.

I will not stand for the opposite.

I have my posterity to take care of and I do not want to look back in 10, 20, or 30 years at our beautiful state and see it given over to socialistic, communistic, authoritarian control like many other states found in our union. The people in Western Montana, and Montana as a whole need to wake up and make the same declaration. We will not stand for it.

I don’t like taxes. I don’t like the idea that the property I bought in Sanders County that I am building a cabin on for my family is not truly mine. Even though I saved and saved and saved; even though my wife and I paid off all our debts and made smart investments to purchase the land with cash, I do not really own it. The reason I do not really own it is because every year, I have to pay “rent” to the local and state government. The rent I speak of is in the form of property taxes.

I would find out very quickly how much I actually own if I decided to not pay my property taxes. And this is a tragic reality for anyone who owns property or a home.

I understand that we pay taxes to fund our schools ( I am a public school teacher), law enforcement, roads, transportation services, local government, etc. But, if the budget and taxes we collected last year worked, why are we raising taxes this year?

Some will argue: It’s because of inflation, it’s because of population growth. This seems reasonable to an extent. But I believe it is a symptom of a bigger problem: Ever expanding government.

It is like a science fiction creature that consumes and eats and grows into an unstoppable amebic force.

I have seen first-hand the fraud, waste and abuse that takes place when government entities are in charge of spending other people’s money. Furthermore, many people that are in government are just that, people. These people struggle with the same things many Americans do, especially managing their money. If these same people cannot manage their own money wisely, why would giving them access and responsibility over millions or billions of our tax dollars change that problem? Seems like the problem would be worse…And it is.

This is why I will fight for you. I will fight for your freedoms, I will fight to keep your money in your pocket, and I will fight to protect your way of life in our awesome state.

My name is Jeff Stanek, and I will be running for the Montana House of Representatives, District 90 (Formerly District 14).

More letters to come,

*I have been boycotting social media outlets for the last 10 years. I have no problem with others using social media or posting this letter on the web to share, but I will not use those platforms personally. If you want to ask me a question or set up a time to have a conversation in person, please shoot me an email: jstanek.mt@gmail.com