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Democratic legislators host listening session in Pablo

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PABLO — Montanans from several communities spoke to Democratic state legislators participating in a listening session at the end of March at Salish Kootenai College.

CSKT member and former State Health Director Anna Whiting Sorrell facilitated the meeting and asked legislators to draft a bill to continue Medicaid expansion. 

Senators Susan Webber (D-Browning), Shane Morigeau (D-Missoula), Mary Ann Dunwell (D-East Helena) and Representative Mary Caferro (D-Helena) wholeheartedly agreed and said Medicaid expansion will likely be the top topic next legislative session in 2025.

“Last legislative session we started with $1.8 billion in surplus, much of it wasted,” said Representative Cafero. “People’s health is the best investment we can make. As we’re hearing tonight and have heard all across the state – Medicaid expansion is a priority for Montanans.”

One Polson resident shared his concerns about local social safety net services being outsourced to Maximus Inc., a for-profit, global government contractor.

“It’s upsetting that Governor Gianforte’s DPHHS is contracting with an out-of-state company to fulfill social support services, said Craig McClure, a resident of Polson. “They are wiping out these services,” McClure added.

Last month, Career Training Institute in Helena and Career Futures in Butte announced they would be closing their doors after decades of providing employment assistance and job training for thousands of low-income Montanans receiving SNAP food services and TANF cash assistance.

The Pablo meeting was the 12th stop in the Democratic Legislative Listening Tour. The Legislative Listening Tour kicked off in Great Falls last summer and has made additional stops in Belgrade, Fort Peck, Miles City, Laurel, Red Lodge, Lewistown, Havre, Arlee and Ronan. Down the road, the Montana Democratic Party will release a report based on what lawmakers learn.


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