Ask yourself. How important is it, who serves on the Montana Public Service Commission? Does it really matter? Does it make any difference in your life, or the lives of your family members? Does it make any difference to Montana's economy and the future of our state?


YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT DOES! Arguably, the work of the PSC directly affects your daily life more than any other agency of government - and the people who sit in those five chairs can either do you a great deal of good or a great deal of harm.


Understand. It is not enough to simply say "we elected a Republican  to the PSC."  When it comes to the very challenging work of monopoly utility regulation and future energy policy, the conservative, free market principles of GOP commissioners  are truly put to the test.  You find out quickly how genuine and deeply-rooted those principles are. Where the Public Service Commission is concerned, not all Republicans are created equal. Not by a long shot.


For the past four years, serving proudly as commissioner on the PSC, this Republican has remained true to the core principles, values and beliefs of the GOP. It  has not always  been an easy road to travel. My vote and my voice frequently made the difference in whether the all­ Republican commission would boldly embrace freedom, market competition and the Constitution, or stumble into the pitfalls of protectionism, government subsidy and coddled utility monopolies under the pretense of being "pro-business."

Along the way, I have stood for:


1.    Utility accountability and cost-efficient management, because ratepayers deserve it
2.    Utility honesty, integrity and transparency, because ratepayers deserve it
3.    Utility profits through  risks &  rewards,  not guarantees, because ratepayers deserve it
4.    Utility policy that is incentive based &  demands excellence,  because ratepayers deserve it
5.    Policies reflecting the wisdom &  vision of  the Constitution, because ratepayers deserve it

 

On the commission, I have come to be known as a commissioner who "does his homework," and comes well-prepared for every hearing, every meeting and every work session. This requires many, many hours of reading and studying, and many hours more of independent research and of close, meeting-of-the-minds relationships with the PSC's outstanding professional staff. Voters cannot take for granted  that every commissioner  candidate  will  do this.  They don't.  But as far as I'm concerned, it comes with the territory. I could not serve you any other way.


This has enabled me to prevent tens of millions of overcharges to you, the ratepayers of Montana!


Although I have faced, at times, resistance to strong, incentive-based, market-based, consumer­ based policies by some, the biggest obstacle to my work has been the misguided notions of some
 
Republican legislators. The last session was a frustrating example of this.  Many GOP lawmakers, it seems, were unduly influenced by NorthWestern Energy's six full-time lobbyists, and supported legislation that propped up the monopoly utility at the expense of its captive consumers. Some of these bj)ls went out of their way to cripple the legitimate regulatory authority of the PSC.

One of the most misguided Republican legislators in this regard is an opponent in this primary contest: Representative Daniel Zolnikov. Not only did he actively support utility-coddling legislation like HB 244 and SB 331, which would have stripped your PSC of oversight up to $75 MILLION spending by Northwestern Energy, but he introduced a bill of his own -  HB 597- which would have essentially stripped the Public Service Commission of its ability to do its own independent fact finding in PSC rate cases and other critical dockets! {A death blow to the ability of the PSC to comply with federal law and protect ratepayers.)

Frankly, I can't imagine a person running for PSC commissioner who wants to weaken the legitimate powers of the Public Service Commission, remove its essential tools and limit its ability to do its job.


On the last day of filing, Kirk Bushman shocked party leaders by jumping into the primary - the same contest where I defeated him 4 years ago. Republican voters came to the conclusion that Bushman was doing a poor job during his one term, showing a penchant for siding with the  utility monopolies and leaving ratepayers out to dry.


Everyone probably remembers how utterly unprecedented it was when three of his fellow Republican PSC commissioners strongly urged me to run and actively endorsed my candidacy. Their reason for this was that Kirk's angry, disruptive outbursts had really 'broken' the commission. They had had enough...and now he wants to try again. No.

 

As a very active and informed four-year incumbent on the PSC, I have made huge progress toward understanding the fundamental principles and practices of  public utility regulation  that my opponents lack. Moreover, you won't have to worr:y about me faj]jng off of a regulator:y cliff. by confusing conservatism with crony capitalism or pro-business with pro-monopoly.  I've proven that I'm a competent Public Service Commissioner, with unshakable principle and unwavering commitment to the public good. I've proven that I will always stand with you.


In the upcoming Republican primary, I ask humbly that you stand with me.

By the way, I have strongly advocated for Colstrip's future with top ranking officials at the Department of Energy and with President Trump's energy advisor in the White House Annex. I am also really appreciate the endorsement of Colstrip Mayor, John Williams.
 

paid for by Tony O'Donnell for PSC     1810 Sylvan Ln. 59105

© 2020 by TonyForPSC 1810 Sylvan Ln. Billings, MT. 59105

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