The 2014 Montana election results on June 3rd revealed that three-term incumbent Tom Berry would serve a fourth term as a House District 40 Legislative Representative. Berry’s victory over Ray Gorham was 1245 to 824 votes.
Our dad, Tom Berry, is running as the incumbent for House District 40. This is our dad’s fourth campaign, and my brother, Ryan, and I have never before written a letter to any paper on his behalf. However we now feel obligated to write due to the misleading propaganda being put out by Ray Gorham and his campaign against our dad. Mr. Gorham has brought our family’s tragedy into his campaign and is exploiting it to make political hay that our dad is anti-gun. Our father is extremely pro-2nd Amendment. He, we, and our families, are avid gun sportsmen and hunters, and we believe in the right to self-defense. Tom Berry taught my brother and I about gun safety and had us target shooting when were just waist-high. In fact just yesterday, May 11th, he took my husband and our little boys shooting for the afternoon. To say he is anti-gun is just plain wacky.
So where does Mr. Gorham fit into all of this? He is trying to tie the murder of our dad’s son, and our 17 yr old half-brother, Steve Berry, to Tom Berry’s supposed anti-gun stance. I was shocked last night to read these statements on Mr. Gorham’s website, “I’m truly sorry for his [Tom Berry] loss, but that doesn’t justify having a bad record on gun control…” That is just mind-numbing, but furthermore what the heck is he even talking about? It appears that Mr. Gorham is using the loss of Steve to gun violence (he was killed by a drug dealer in Glendive in 2000) as some weird evidence that our dad is an anti-gun zealot. Ryan and I take insult to this ridiculous leap of twisted logic, and we are disgusted that Mr. Gorham would bring this family tragedy into the campaign to try and support his outright lies. It is shameless, classless, and not something I would expect from a true Montanan. But then again Mr. Gorham isn’t from Montana, is he? According to his website, he has spent most of his life in his native Canada, other countries around the world, and the state of California. I guess this latest tactic shouldn’t surprise me. Why don’t you try to keep it honest and clean, Mr. Gorham? This is politics at its lowest.
Michelle Weiland, Billings, MT
Ryan Berry, Lewistown, MT
Dear Voters, Between now and June 3rd, you may receive a flyer from Dark Money Groups, Extremists who do not want me re-elected.
Please disregard the distorted and inaccurate information contained in the flyer about me and my voting record.
If you want the truth, please call me at 698-3940 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Sponsored a prescription drug registry Bill to eliminate “doctor shopping” by prescription drug abusers who illegally-obtained multiple prescriptions for addictive drugs such as Oxycontin and Fentanyl (HB 83)
• Sponsored a Bill banning synthetic marijuana and Spice drugs which caused hallucinations, threatening the safety of our youth (HB 185)
• Sponsored a Bill revising coal leasing laws on state-owned lands for a more flexible, productive and pro economy process (HB 533)
• Sponsored a bill to revise the 911 Call Center Law to unclog critical funding that small communities like Shepherd and Roundup depend (HB 575)
• Served on a committee to rein in out-of-control medical use of marijuana (SB 423)
• Sponsored Bill giving Community Banks more latitude in banking, less regulation (HB 432)
• Voted on Bill eliminating tax on office equipment for small businesses, less regulation (SB 96)
• Sponsored legislation helping small businesses affected by federally- declared disasters, so unemployment insurance does not increase, such as the Busy Bee Cafe (HB 261)
Chairman of the powerful house business and labor committee in 2013 legislative session
• Smaller Government
• Reducing state spending
• Less regulation for small businesses
• Preserving Property Owner’s rights
• Protecting Child education and safety
• Promoting job growth & better wages
• Properly utilizing State energy sources
• Preserving Montana Lifestyles
• Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse
J.K. Kuzara, Roundup News May 9 2014
Just once during an election campaign it would be nice to have candidates really and truly Level With Us! Just this past Wednesday evening Mr. Ray Gorham telephoned our home seeking support of his primary election challenge to Tom Berry for District 40 State Representative. We hate to appear like we are picking on Mr. Gorham but his advertising and statements are prime examples of typical political strategy: Attack your opponent with half truths, exaggerations, phony statistics, and over-simplifications. Mr. Gorham sounded like a very nice, well read, articulate fellow. He sounded passionate about his candidacy and we had a pleasant conversation. We wished him luck, yet we were sadly disappointed in him. We fear he has fallen victim to forces bordering on the dishonest when both he and we voters would be better served if he would simply Level with Us!
“If Mr. Gorham can’t Level with us and tell us where he really stands – left, moderate, right, or at the extremes- he can’t be proud of himself and he doesn’t deserve our vote.”
We told Mr. Gorham that we had studied his ads and read his endorsement by long-time acquaintance Vera Beth Johnson. We asked him on what he based his statement that Berry only has a 10°/o/F Conservative Rating. That comes from the Montana Conservative Alliance (MCA), he said. We Googled MCA and found no mention of Tom Berry or his conservative rating. Instead we found that MCA appears to be a far right outfit that exists primarily to replace moderate legislators with extremist ones. Obviously, if one cares to cherry-pick the legislative measures on which one wants to base a “rating” of a candidate; one can derive just about any number one wants – either good or bad. And that’s a common tactic of special interest groups. We asked Mr. Gorham about his statement that Berry has only a 42% rating with the National Rifle Association (NRA). He said that might be an “old rating” and maybe Berry now has a “B” rating. We went to the NRA website. Guess what? No mention at all of Tom Berry. Mr. Gorham said he favors lowering taxes and reducing the size of government. No surprise there, but when we asked him specifically how he might achieve those goals he was somewhat evasive. It’s all very complicated, he said, and people can’t or won’t take the time to study and understand the intricacies of these issues. In addition, there isn’t enough time to explain things to the folks.
Looking at Tom Berry’s voting record, or at least as much of it as we could reasonably examine, we didn’t see anything way out of whack. Some of Mr. Gorham’s criticisms of Berry’s record, however, are. State spending, support of “Obamacare”, pro-life issues, etc. appear to have been part of the state budget bill that establishes revenue and expenditures for two years. That measure was unanimously approved by both houses and signed by the governor- which means that even the extreme elements of both parties voted for it. So why crucify Berry over it? Again, please understand that Mr. Gorham isn’t alone in employing these kinds of distortions. Many, many office-seekers, all the way from the state house to the courthouse, to the school house do likewise. Forget about the unfairness to guys like Tom Berry. He’s a big boy and is entirely capable of defending his record and offering reasonable explanations for how he voted on different matters. What really concerns us is that the failure of fellows like Mr. Gorham to Level with Us is patently unfair to voters. It is also overwhelmingly insulting to the intelligence of every reasonable thinker!
Hopefully Mr. Gorham isn’t one of those far out kooks who would support weird, idiotic legislation that serves only to bring ridicule and mockery down on the Republican Party. And hope fully he isn’t of the ilk that refuses to compromise or seek consensus and instead favors gridlock, inaction, and waste of valuable legislative time. We asked him about that. His answer? He stands up for his beliefs. And that is great! We do too. So do legions of other folks. But that isn’t an answer.
If Mr. Gorham can’t Level with us and tell us where he really stands – left, moderate, right, or at the extremes- he can’t be proud of himself and he doesn’t deserve our vote.
First off, a friendly “hello” to the Yellowstone County community. It’s been several years since I had the opportunity to teach math and science in your school system.
The reason for me writing to you today is that I wanted to tell you a little bit about my father in law Tom Berry. Tom Berry is the Incumbent running for re-election in House District #40. I also know he is running against Ray Gorham of Paramount Log Homes in Shepherd, MT. I wasn’t going to get involved in this until I ready some of Mr. Gorham’s website and the comments from Vera-Beth Johnson in the Yellowstone County Newspaper last week.
Let me start off by saying, that my father in law, Tom Berry is a fine person, who has been a strong steward of our community with proven experience. He is not someone that ignores folks as Vera-Beth’s banter would have you believe. Tom Berry has grown up in Montana and has gone through the ups and downs of our state. Tom is a rancher, is involved with insurance, has served in our country’s military, worked with oil companies, and has run several successful businesses to boot. Vera-Beth talks about Mr. Gorham’s travels and that working for Walmart as an accountant is what Montana needs for good decision making. Really? All you need to qualify for a responsible Montana Legislature representative is an accounting degree, a passport and a few years living in our community? Vera-Beth’s perspective concerns me as a Montana native and is just plain weird.
I need set the record straight here. I have heard from individuals that have been visited door to door by Mr. Gorham on how bad Tom Berry is. Tom Berry has been and continues to be a responsible representative! Personally in my own selfish way, I would love someone else to do this job, but there is no other choice. I would love to have my two boys continue seeing a lot of their Grandpa. However, Tom believes that he can continue to make a difference for all of us and is committed to that duty. We are all very lucky to have someone like Tom Berry sacrifice this time for the sake of our families and state.
I also don’t believe that Vera Beth called my “father in law” about taxes. I believe that to be a bold face lie. She mentions that Tom Berry didn’t have time to listen to her concerns, yet Taylor Brown did? Does she know Taylor Brown actually works tightly with Tom Berry? Again, weird!
Anyone that knows Tom Berry knows better. Vera-Beth’s words are misleading and a waste of time and ink. I ask that you read the bills all the way through before you listen to the circus. Please think for yourself, consider the big picture and call Tom if you have questions. I assure you that he will pick up the phone. I have yet to see what Mr. Gorham is going to do for all of us, and that deeply concerns me as a father and Montana Native. I believe that if you elect Tom Berry again, you will continue to get a Conservative thinker, problem-solver and someone that asks questions before voting down the party line. Aren’t you sick of people that can’t communicate yet?
Former Teacher, Shepherd Schools
Native Montanan Tom Berry:
- Was born and raised in eastern Montana
- Is a Montana Rancher, owns a ranch that raises registered Angus cattle
- Lived in Montana his entire life, 64 years
- Experienced House District representative with three successful terms in the Montana Legislature
Outsider Ray Gorham:
- Was born and raised in Calgary Canada
- California resident for a decade
- Outsider to Montana, only a few years of living in our State
- Is experimenting: No experience, No plan
Ray Gorham, help new to the community and new to leadership roles, loses Shepherd School Trustee Seat
Ray Gorham attempted to run for a seat on the local Shepherd School District and lost to both opponents, with a poor 23% of the vote
School Trustee Seat, Shepherd 37. Experienced community members and opponents Julie Hinkle and Kirk Brumfield took the clear leads over Gorham.
School Trustee Seat, Shepherd 37 Voting Results
JULIE HINKLE 461 38.87 %
KIRK A BRUMFIELD 443 37.35 %
“Just Say” RAY GORHAM 282 23.78 %
Tom Berry’s opponent Ray Gorham claims that “Incumbent Tom Berry is a liberal big spender.”
The fact is Tom Berry voted for Appropriation Legislation which held State spending to a low 2.2%. Big spending Ray? Really?
Did you know? Montana’s economy grew by 3% last year?