During the flood of 2011, our Busy Bee Cafe was full of water we had to shut down, layoff all of our employees and rebuild our restaurant. As a result, our employees filed for unemployment insurance (and rightly so). With most of the employees filing for unemployment, the cost of our unemployment insurance skyrocketed, costing our Busy Bee Cafe business thousands of dollars in an increased premium. We asked Representative Tom Berry for help and he personally crafted legislation which stated if a small business has to shut down as the result of a federally-declared disaster and layoff their employees, the cost of the unemployment insurance will not go up. Tom Berry got this legislation through the legislature and it was signed by the Governor. This action saved our business and many other businesses thousands of dollars. Tom Berry is a good man and the kind of legislator we need in Helena, someone who lives here and will stand up for his constituents. We can’t trust some out-of-towner who bashes his opponent and misleads our community. We are supporting and voting for Tom Berry, and hope you do too.
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.
Mike Weiland, former Shepherd School Teacher recommends Montana’s Tom Berry.
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?
Canadian-born, globe trotter and U.S. States hopper (lived in California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Indiana, Iowa, Arkansas) Ray Gorham, currently resides in Shepherd Montana and has filed to run as a Republican candidate for House District 40, challenging successful three-term Republican incumbent and Montana native Tom Berry.
Gorham was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and then crossed over the border (legally) to attend the Brigham Young School in Utah, where he learned accounting. Ray admits that two years of studying accounting was enough for him to know he didn’t want to spend his career keeping up with tax laws and government regulations, so after graduation he found a job at Wal-Mart, then Flying J (living in Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Indiana, Iowa, Arkansas) and eventually attempted an unnamed restaurant in California before his latest venture to Montana. Gorham is a hobby fiction writer when his log business is slow.
The Ray website texts include incorrect paraphrased and misleading statements about incumbent Tom Berry’s voting record. General texts written by Ray are nearly void of the word Montana, and the layouts bear no image or visual element of Montana or the U.S.A., with the exception of lake scene and a picture of Ray Photoshopped (digitally-edited) in the foreground.
Tom Berry is a Montana native, small business owner, rancher, family man and steward of our communities. He is Proven Success and that’s why Berry is still the first choice Vote for House District 40. Raised on an irrigated farm in Eastern Montana, Berry learned about the importance of family, community, economic decisions and responsible problem-solving. With decades of Montana business experience including the Oil Industry, Construction, Restaurants, Truck Stops, Real Estate and Insurance, Tom Berry continues to make the best choices for a stronger Montana.
Life has not always been kind or fair to Tom. He wasn’t born with a trust fund. The success he presently enjoys has been earned through hard work, long hours, and a refusal to settle for mediocrity.