Anyone who read Democrat candidate for Attorney General Ben Alke’s recent letter is left wondering: Who is he, and why is he running? The letter provides plenty of platitudes but no substance. By contrast, we can look back at the last three years and know exactly where Attorney General Austin Knudsen stands on issues and what he will do to fight for Montana during his second term.
As a former county prosecutor, Attorney General Knudsen has put the safety of Montana communities at the forefront of his efforts. And as a former legislator and two-term Speaker of the House, he has been able to deliver results in terms of tougher and more effective laws and more resources to assist local law enforcement agencies in their fight against drugs and crime.
Those who deal drugs that kill another person can now be sentenced to up to 100 years in prison, and dealers of deadly fentanyl now face mandatory minimum sentences instead of a slap on the wrist. Under the new laws, human traffickers face new and enhanced penalties for crimes involving forced labor or commercial sex trafficking.
Attorney General Knudsen’s efforts are paying off: After rising for years under his predecessor Tim Fox, the number of violent crimes in our state is now starting to decrease. According to the Montana Board of Crime Control, there were fewer murders, rapes, aggravated assaults, and robberies last year than in 2022. Drug task forces are also taking record amounts of drugs off of our streets.
With the safety of Montana communities at stake, we can’t take a risk on an unknown partisan entity like Ben Alke who has no law enforcement, criminal prosecution, or legislative experience.
Since his first days in office, Attorney General Knudsen has been fighting the Biden administration and its policies that harm Montanans. He has filed 37 lawsuits against overreaching federal policies that try to dictate everything from where we get our energy to whether our legislature can provide tax cuts, and most recently, what kind of vehicles we can drive.
Staunch defense of our rights to keep and bear arms is another hallmark of Attorney General Knudsen’s administration. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, “Attorney General Austin Knudsen has been on the forefront leading other state attorneys general in pushing back on onerous and unconstitutional government overreach on Second Amendment rights by the Biden administration.”
The contrast couldn’t be clearer. Attorney General Austin Knudsen is doing exactly what he promised. The election results in the 2020 race for Attorney General bears out the fact that the people of Montana support these efforts. Nearly 350,000 Montanans — 59 percent of voters — cast their ballot for him that year. We need Austin to keep fighting for us. Meanwhile, Ben Alke is not being upfront and is hiding his positions, hoping voters won’t notice. Alke owes Montanans a truthful explanation of his platform, not platitudes.
By: Gordy Vance
Gordy Vance served in the Montana House of Representatives from 2009 until 2014 and in the State Senate from 2015 until 2022.