Russ Fagg, candidate for U.S. Senate, stopped by The Western News Thursday for an interview.
What is your campaign’s core issue?
“Jobs. Our number one resource in this state is our people. I graduated from Billings High School in 1979, and even then, some of our best and brightest were leaving the state to get good paying jobs. Everybody wants a piece of the American Dream, which is work hard, marry a good person, have some children, have a little house with a white picket fence, and have a better opportunity for your children. If you don’t have a good job, you can’t do that.”
What does that mean for Lincoln County?
“I would like to see us have sustained management of our forest by the federal government with more local input, and I’d love to see one sawmill — maybe two, but let’s start with one — and sawmills pay $20 to $40 an hour. There’s some really good internet services up here in Lincoln County, and I’d like to get that word out. Montanans that can do business remotely can live in Libby and be a financial advisor in Phoenix.”
Why are you running?
“We’re going in the wrong direction of more government, more regulation, more taxes — you could call it socialism. What made America the greatest country in the world was limited government, individual responsibility, rule of law and private property rights. Those are the things that’ll open the door for using this great natural resource we have here in Lincoln County, which is all this timber. There’s millions of acres of board feet here, and most of it hasn’t been timbered in the last 20 years. We need to do on a sustainable basis. We can manage the forest better and make the forest healthier with developing that resource. It’s a win-win. And yet, more government, regulation is stopping that. The endangered species act is part of that. I love animals and fish as much as the next person, but we need to put guardrails on that, because we’re putting fish and animals above people. We’re not going to do away with it. We can protect that and still develop our natural resources.”
Fagg was a district court judge for 22 years, retiring in October 2017. He established Russ Fagg and Associates after retiring. Prior to his judgeship, Fagg was a two-term Montana state legislator. Among his endorsements for office are former Montana governors Marc Racicot, Judy Martz and Stan Stephens.