In an article published in Lee Enterprises newspapers on May 4, Ryan Zinke called two other women and me liars. Sticks and stones may break my bones. Now it’s time to set the record straight.
On March 11, 2014, three representatives from Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) met with Ryan Zinke and his advisor Randy Vogel at Zinke’s office in Billings. The meeting was at Zinke’s request; he expressed a desire to know more about CWALAC. In that meeting, we shared who our organization is and what we do.
Relatively early on in the conversation, I asked Mr. Zinke what his stance was on abortion. He furrowed his brow, thought for a minute and replied, “I’m OK with it up to, oh, 20 weeks.” (Twenty weeks is five months.)
My poker face disappeared. “20 weeks?” I asked. “Yes” he replied. Meanwhile Mr. Vogel, sitting in a chair set slightly behind us with his arms crossed, was shaking his head no as if to say, “Shut up now; wrong answer.”
We continued to discuss other issues, and toward the end of the meeting Kristi Miller (one of the other ladies at the meeting) said, “Okay so I just want to be sure we are clear. You do in fact support abortion up to 20 weeks without restrictions?” and for the third time he answered, “Yes.” We left the meeting perplexed.
The Republican National Committee Platform states “Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.” Zinke is running as a member of the party that supports this platform statement.
Therein lies the problem. Ryan Zinke is claiming to be the “true conservative for Montana.” In 2009, Zinke’s NARAL rating was 65 percent, and in 2011 it was 0 percent. Did he have a significant change of heart, or was he trying to redeem himself among conservatives?
The Montana Democratic Party recently called into question Zinke’s true beliefs via Twitter and their Web site. Many members of the Republican establishment have spoken out against Zinke. Are we all lying? Is this some intricate plot meant to thwart the Zinke campaign?
The question that begs to be asked is why are both conservatives and liberals calling into question Zinke’s stance on the same issue? Why can’t we get a straight answer from Zinke when Corey Stapleton, Elsie Arntzen, Matt Rosendale and Drew Turiano all answer “yes” when asked if they are pro-life?
Montanans simply want the truth. Montanans want to know where the candidates stand on this issue. It is time citizens hold every candidate accountable, not only for what they say but also for their voting record.
In the spirit of truth, transparency and accountability, CWA of Montana has sent out a Pro-Life Pledge to every candidate seeking the U.S. House seat. We will post the signed pledges as they are returned on our Web site at mt.cwfa.org. I encourage every citizen to look up each candidate’s past voting record on the internet. There are a plethora of tools available to each one of us if we are willing to take a few minutes of our time to check the facts.
We are offended at having been called liars, but instead of just ranting about it, we are offering all of the candidates a chance to make their stand on the pro-life issue very clear. Words do matter.
Kari Zeier is the Montana state director of the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.