Fagg makes candidacy official

By: 
Brad Molnar
Special to the Outlook

For the four month period following the announcement that he would resign as District Judge, Russ Fagg has been running an exploratory committee analyzing the financial and personal support of his candidacy for the United States Senate. Last Saturday Fagg stood before an enthusiastic crowd of supporters and announced that he was “in the race.”
The announcement site was Billings Air Service, located on the Billings rims, in a cavernous hanger housing heavy-lift Chinook helicopters in various stages of re-construction for next season. The owners, Al and Gary Blaine, are famous locally for epic mountain rescues and helping Santa Claus through the skies on Christmas Eve. Al Blaine introduced long-time family friend, Russell Fagg.
Fagg touched on the issues of unbridled Congressional spending and gun control. He spoke with authority when he said that, after 22 years on the bench and hearing 25,000 cases he clearly saw the connection between drug issues, violence, and poverty. He opined that only through focused educational efforts and an improved economy can we reduce our crime rate. He tied that in with one of his long-time concerns, imbalance in the federal budget.
“Our national debt is approaching $20 trillion,” he commented, “which not only gets passed to our children and grandchildren to pay, but also denies opportunity to lift one’s self out of poverty due to the drag this unsustainable debt imposes on our economy. This perpetuates the poverty/crime cycle.”
On gun control candidate Fagg referenced the recent carnage in Las Vegas. He recounted that his niece was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other concert goers when the shooting started and the lady standing next to her was shot dead. He went on to say that more regulations and gun controls were not the answer despite the renewed calls for such. Fagg surmised that everything the shooter did was already against the law so new laws would not have deterred him in the slightest.
He did take the opportunity to take a few shots at U.S. Senator Jon Tester. Chief among Fagg’s complaints was the Senator’s vote for, and subsequent defense of, The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which Senate Republicans have thus far been unable to “repeal and replace.” The other issue meant to resonate with conservative voters was Tester’s refusal to vote for the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court. Gorsuch is touted as a strict constructionist of the Constitution and strong supporter of the Second Amendment of the Constitution. Fagg is endorsed by David Keene, past president of the National Rifle Association and former chairman of the American Conservative Union.
The former judge joins a growing number of Republicans wanting to retire the resilient Jon Tester. Fagg is the latest to join the herd populated by State Auditor Matt Rosendale of Glendive; state Senator and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Al Olszewski of Kalispell;businessman Ron Murray of Belgrade; Troy Downing, combat veteran, businessman and scientist residing in Big Sky; and James Dean, a financial adviser from Havre. Sarah Dean, wife of Dean and a fashion designer, is also running against Tester in the primary. If both are successful this husband and wife team will face each other in the general election. Just saying.

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