NewsMontana Politics

Actions

Daines talks MMIP crisis, southern border wall, and Trooper Palmer on Montana This Morning

Posted at 11:40 AM, Apr 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-17 13:40:04-04

Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) stopped by the set of Montana This Morning to discuss the latest issues impacting Montanans and the country.

The conversation started with an update on Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer, who is recovering in a Utah hospital.

Senator Daines said he and his wife were flying back from Washington, D.C. last Thursday and visited Trooper Palmer.

“I cannot tell you how appreciative they are of the incredible outpouring of support from Montanans,” he said. “The way the Montana Highway Patrol has rallied and the way all Montanans have rallied behind Trooper Palmer.”

While Palmer isn’t able to communicate, Daines said they were still able to connect.

“We were able to exchange some fist pumps, which was really encouraging, he’s a Grizzly, I’m a Bobcat,” Daines said. “We had a little fun and had a little Cat-Griz back and forth as well, but it was a real touching moment.”

The conversation then moved to Senator Daines’ trip to the southern border in February.

He told MTN News about being at ‘ground zero of the immigration and drug problem’ with Sen. David Perdue (R-Georgia). The two visited the Rio Grande Valley by McAllen, Texas.

He said one of the biggest takeaways from the trip was the amount of drugs that come over the border, calling it an “incredible problem” and a “methamphetamine crisis” on the border and in Montana.

Daines also advocated the need for physical security for Border Patrol, along with boots on the ground and better technology.

“When you talk to Border Patrol asking what do they need, they’ll tell you, ‘We need physical security. We need a wall,'” said Daines.

Daines then commented on concerns regarding funding for projects at Malmstrom Air Force Base and the border wall, saying he’d been assured by Brig. Gen. John Allen that contracts will be fulfilled, specifically a missile maintenance facility.

He went on to say when it comes to funding the border wall and military projects, both futures are possible.

“I can tell you, those projects are going to get funded,” he stated.

The conversation then moved on to Daines’ work on recent bipartisan legislation for Electronic Logging Devices.

He stated previous regulations that came down for ELDs were not workable for Montanans.

“How do you ship cows, calves in northeast Montana, how do you get to yards in Nebraska and still meet these requirements? You can’t,” he said.

Daines emphasized the importance of agriculture in the state and the work Republicans and Democrats have done with the Department of Transportation along with Montana ranchers to get reasonable input on regulations.

“We’ll hopefully get that sorted out here in the not too distant future,” he said.

The conversation ended with another big issue in Montana: missing and murdered Indigenous people.

Daines stated he hopes to host a U.S. Senate Hearing in Browning on MMIW either this summer or fall and believes finding a solution is not a partisan issue.

“This is not a Republican or Democrat issue,” he said. “This is fighting for some of the most vulnerable in our society, and that’s these Native American women right now, who are tragically being murdered and at rates that are just unheard of.”

He also touched on his work to establish a national day of awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls on May 5th, adding it’s the birthday of Hanna Harris.

Harris was a Lame Deer woman who was found murdered on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in 2013.

-Reported by Keeley Van Middendorp/MTN News