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Montana Lowdown features in-depth conversations with top newsmakers, journalists, politicians, and experts about significant issues facing America's "last best place." Veteran award-winning journalist John S. Adams, founder and editor of Montana Free Press and the star of the documentary film "Dark Money," hosts the podcast, shedding light on essential news stories and broadening the debate on the hottest topics.
 
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show series
 
Amid instances of animosity and tension, and the broader environment of racial strife in America, organizers are seeking to protect their own mental and emotional health as they work to establish a sustainable movement for racial justice in Montana. In part 2 of Uphill, reporter Mara Silvers examines how community groups in various towns across Mon…
 
In the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police in Minneapolis, Black Lives Matter protests have surged across the country. Montana has been no exception, with residents planning rallies and marches in several towns and cities over the last few weeks. In the first of two special audio reports, Montana Free Press reporter Mara Silvers explores the c…
 
Last week Montana election officials tallied ballots in the June 2 primary. The fields are now set for November’s general election, and voters are already getting a taste of the nominees’ strategies as they march toward November. This year’s primary was notable for being the first election in Montana history to be conducted entirely by mail-in ball…
 
“Be aware that anyone who votes for this bill is going to need to answer to the people back home, without a doubt.” So said Republican Brad Tschida, majority leader of the Montana House of Representatives, speaking against fellow Republican Rep. Ed Buttrey’s bill to renew Medicaid expansion in late March of the 2019 legislative session. Tschida, a …
 
“Don’t hold the fact that I’m doing a great job in Congress against me. I mean, for me, this is about, ‘Where can I have the most positive impact, with the skills I’ve been given, for the most folks?’” says Greg Gianforte, he presumptive frontrunner in the Republican primary for governor. Gianforte’s pursuit of the highest office in Montana rather …
 
“Most people don’t even know what positions Gov. Bullock stands for,” says John Mues, Bullock’s lone competition in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Republican Sen. Steve Daines. Mues entered the race early in the campaign cycle, while the term-limited governor was running for president and pledging his lack of …
 
Matt Rosendale points to his record as state auditor and his prior stint in the Montana Legislature as evidence that he’s the best Republican candidate in the race for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. “I’ve shown that I can get conservative results while being fiscally responsible and a good steward of the taxpayers’ dollar…
 
There are two big takeaways from a poll released this week by Montana State University: Montanans are definitely concerned about economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Steve Daines looks to be very much in play now that Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock has been able to capitalize on a statewi…
 
The COVID-19 pandemic may have brought many aspects of daily life to a halt, but Montana’s June 2 primary election is steadily approaching. While this year’s candidates launched their campaigns under relatively normal circumstances, facing off on issues including health care, prescription drug prices, public lands and jobs, the public health crisis…
 
Gov. Steve Bullock is expected to unveil plans this week to begin lifting the statewide stay-at-home order and business restrictions, even as Montana saw its first public demonstration against the current restrictions on Sunday. Many public health experts say a return to normalcy will require mass testing, along with robust contact tracing, so heal…
 
As Montana enters its fifth consecutive week of quarantine, many households are feeling the strain of isolation, fear and anxiety. Professionals are warning about increased incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault, while even safe households are experiencing unique stresses related to parenting. In response to these concerns, Montana Free …
 
“It’s like a response to a lot of crises. That is, it’s big and it’s immediate, but it’s probably full of a lot of loopholes.” So says former Montana Senator Max Baucus, assessing the $2T economic relief package recently passed by U.S. Congress in response to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. He adds, “We’re probably going to see …
 
This week we interview several guests who help illustrate how some of Montana's most vital social services are positioned to deal with the potential of a long-term pandemic. Guests and topics include: Rose Hughes, Executive Director of the Montana Health Care Association, on how long-term care facilities are balancing health safety measures with pr…
 
In today's episode: The latest statistics on cases in Montana Montana petroleum industry sees losses due to price wars and economic fallout from coronavirus Fear-driven stockpiling of supplies is a short-term problem, and distributors are confident that supply chains are strong Cindy Farr of Missoula County DPHHS talks about coronavirus testing in …
 
In today's episode: The latest statistics on cases in Montana Gov. Steve Bullock announces two measures aimed at helping those experiencing financial stress Montana announces it will cover the costs of referrals, and in some cases testing, for those who are uninsured and suspect they may have contracted the virus The U.S. Department of Commerce wil…
 
As of today, we're changing the format of our show to focus on delivering shorter, more frequent episodes that keep our listeners informed about the latest news around the coronavirus, and its impacts on Montana. In today's episode: We announce some changes at the Montana Free Press The latest stats from the Montana Department of Public Health and …
 
“I think it’s a universe that I don’t really know how to gauge. It’s just something that we’ve never dealt with.” So says Lee Newspapers capital reporter Holly Michels, as she tries to make sense of the evolving 2020 political field through the lens of the coronavirus issue. Montana’s March 9 candidacy filing deadline momentarily grabbed national h…
 
“I want to talk about our culture, I want to talk about the forces that drive decisions,” says Republican congressional candidate Tim Johnson. Johnson is the superintendent of Corvallis Public Schools, a job he says he plans to give up next year so he can focus on his campaign for the U.S. House. A self-described conservative Republican running a p…
 
Forrest Mandeville says the best way to effect progress in the Legislature is to become an expert in a specific subject. The Republican representative from Columbus has served three terms in the Montana House, starting with the 2015 session, and spent much of that time applying his professional background in land-use planning to the State Administr…
 
Montana Free Press editor Brad Tyer has watched the news business evolve throughout his three-decade career in commercial and nonprofit journalism. “Support for news-gathering organizations — the model has changed,” Tyer tells Lowdown podcast host John S. Adams, his new boss. “But ultimately, a news-gathering organization has got to be supported by…
 
State Sen. Al Olszewski, R-Kalispell, served one term in the Montana House and two terms in the Montana Senate. Now he’s hoping to move into the governor’s office. Olszewski, an orthopedic surgeon, is in a three-way Republican primary against U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte and two-term Attorney General Tim Fox. One early poll shows Olszewski trailing bot…
 
Billings native Dr. Peter Miller says chances are good that Montana will gain a second U.S. congressional seat following the 2020 Census. Miller, a researcher at the Brennan Center For Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute at the New York University School of Law, has spent his career studying redistricting, voting, and elections. The Uni…
 
Simms rancher and U.S. House candidate Matt Rains says his military service, diverse career arc, and global travels give him a unique vantage from which to address challenges facing Montana and the country at large. As Rains tells Montana Free Press editor-in-chief John S. Adams, “I can speak for the agriculture, I can speak for the energy sector, …
 
Growing up on the Flathead Indian Reservation, Shane Morigeau says, he experienced firsthand the depredations of predatory insurance and securities scams on the sick, the poor, and the systemically marginalized. Morigeau began his advocacy on behalf of those victims first as a lobbyist and attorney representing the reservation, and later in the Hou…
 
Joe Dooling sees a narrow path to securing the Republican nomination for the 2020 general election for Montana’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. While he acknowledges he’s in for an uphill battle against several primary opponents who have previously held statewide offices, he also says he thinks GOP voters are becoming wary of Republican…
 
It was a Helena reunion last week when Montana Free Press editor-in-chief John S. Adams sat down with filmmaker Kimberly Reed to discuss their involvement in Reed’s 2018 documentary film, Dark Money. Their conversation is the latest installment of the Montana Lowdown podcast, a weekly production of Montana Free Press. Reed says she was drawn to the…
 
Democratic state Rep. Tom Winter says his 2018 win in a historically conservative Montana House district resulted not from partisan appeals, but from knocking on doors, listening to constituents’ concerns, and promising to represent those concerns in the state Legislature. Winter now hopes to ride that same strategy all the way to Washington, D.C.,…
 
“How does our economy look? Is it what we want it to be? Can we identify aspects that we’re concerned about?” These are some of the questions Montana Free Press reporter Eric Dietrich set out to answer when analyzing projections from the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, which has just released its 10-year outlook for 2018 to 2028. The stat…
 
In an interview on the Montana Lowdown podcast this week, Democratic U.S. House candidate Kathleen Williams responded to charges by Republican House candidate Debra Lamm that Williams is “too extreme for Montana” and supports “Medicare for all.” “I think what that says is that they’re very nervous,” Williams said. “If they want to paint me with lab…
 
This week’s episode of the Montana Lowdown podcast features an interview with Republican candidate for the U.S. House and current Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton. He and Montana Free Press editor-in-chief John S. Adams discuss topics including Stapleton’s path into politics, his work as secretary of state, elections security, and his vis…
 
In this week’s Montana Lowdown podcast, we interview Dr. Steven Running, who contributed research to a 2004 report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. An international body of the United Nations, the IPCC is composed of scientists and other experts working to assess the science of climate change. The panel was awarded the No…
 
This week Montana Free Press continues its ongoing coverage of the lead-up to the 2020 elections with an interview with Mayor Wilmot Collins of Helena. Collins joined host John S. Adams to discuss his emigration from Liberia to the United States, starting a new life in Montana, his current role as mayor of the state capital, and his campaign for th…
 
Montana Free Press continues its coverage of the state attorney general’s race with an interview with Republican candidate and current Roosevelt County attorney Austin Knudsen. Knudsen talked to Montana Free Press founder and Montana Lowdown host John S. Adams on Aug. 22. Knudsen represented House District 34 for four sessions starting in 2011. In …
 
The Montana Department of Justice’s Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force held its second meeting in Great Falls on Saturday, Aug. 10, and Montana Free Press founder John S. Adams interviewed task force members Deputy Attorney General Melissa Schlichting and Ellie Bundy McLeod of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to discuss the results of…
 
Montana Federation of Public Employees President Eric Feaver sat down with John S. Adams last week to discuss his career in the public sector labor movement. Feaver began his union leadership when he became president of the Montana Education Association in 1984. He continued in that role when MEA merged with the Montana Federation of Teachers in 20…
 
Montana Senate President Scott Sales, R-Bozeman, was a guest on the MT Lowdown podcast last week, where he discussed with Montana Free Press founder John S. Adams his 16 years in the Montana Legislature, his prior professional experiences in computer technology and agriculture, and his current candidacy for Montana secretary of state. Sales is the …
 
Democratic candidate for superintendent of public instruction Melissa Romano sat down with host John S. Adams to discuss her views on school choice, modern teaching tools, civics and media literacy, teacher retention and mental health, and more. A Montana native with more than 15 years of experience teaching in Montana public schools, Romano has ea…
 
In this week's podcast, freelance journalist and former wildland firefighter Amanda Eggert joins us from Bozeman to discuss her recent three-part series for Montana Free Press, Living With Fire. While the 2019 fire season is off to a slow start due to unseasonably cool and wet weather, the city of Helena is watching as firefighters battle the North…
 
Montana Free Press Editor-in-Chief John Adams sat down last week with Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen for a wide-ranging discussion on the Montana Lowdown Podcast about growing concerns over lead in the drinking water of Montana public schools, Title 1 funding, school choice, and President Trump’s rollback of key provisio…
 
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