K. Webb Galbreath, a candidate for District 1 Civil Service Commissioner in this year’s Republican primary, spoke Friday at North Central Pachyderms where he spoke about his political positions and criticized his opponent, the incumbent Randy Pinocci.
Galbreath said he was born and raised in Browning, where he went to high school before joining the US Marine Corps, where he remained for 10 years, retiring as a sergeant.
He said he also worked in construction and later as a police officer with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, before later becoming chief of police.
He said he had degrees in political science and Native American studies from the University of Montana as well as a minor in constitutional law, and after earning those he worked with the Blackfeet Tribe as director of the security.
Galbreath touted his conservative bona fides, saying he was most worried about money, his elders and the future.
He said he was not an ideological supporter of alternative energies like wind and solar, but felt they should be investigated, saying the coal industry was dead thanks to the President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama.
Galbreath said he’s not a nuclear energy expert, but given recent advances he’s heard about, this could well be the future of energy.
He also spoke about his conservative beliefs which are irrelevant to the position he is running for, such as his belief that “life begins at conception” and that it is impossible to change gender.
He also said going to college was a fascinating experience and it was amazing to see how liberals think.
Galbreath said he was not a politician and he was not here to ask people for their votes, but to tell them who he was and to assure people that he would work hard for them.
“I think it’s important to never forget who we are and where we come from,” he said.
While Galbreath has spent time detailing his own policy positions, he has also spent time criticizing the current Civil Service Commission, as well as its opponent in particular.
“The Civil Service Commission has become a resting place for appointed politicians,” he said.
He said the commission can’t be a stepping stone for people who want to run for higher jobs, that Montana’s electric customers can’t afford that kind of situation, especially those on fixed incomes.
Galbreath also spoke about a Legislative Audit Division report released last year about the commission which found that commissioners were opposing state policy with excessive travel expenses, questionable purchases and attempts to falsify documents.
He said the audit revealed that the current commission had created an unhealthy organizational culture and its leadership was ineffective, and that if nothing is done to improve the general environment, the next audit could be even worse.
He said some had questioned whether responsibility for the behavior of PSC staff should rest with staff or PSC management, and he said staff behavior was a direct reflection of leadership.
When asked if he supported PSC positions being appointed rather than elected, he said he thought it would allow governors to give seats to political donors, friends and political hacks who have no idea what the job entails because they are not affected by it.
On the newly redesigned PSC districts, he said he thinks the Legislative Assembly is unlikely to bother changing districts in the next session.
These districts were recently redesigned after a lawsuit was filed against Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen alleging that the district was outdated and did not even have enough people, violating the principle “one person, one vote”.
The lawsuit, brought by three Montana voters, including former Republican Montana secretary of state and Senate President Bob Brown, was ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and demanded districts be redrawn to better reflect Montana’s populations. .
The judges drew new districts very close to a proposed map provided by the secretary of state’s office, bringing their populations close enough to pass the constitutional rally, but the judges did not rule out that a special session would be called to that the Legislative Assembly design the new districts.
As well as criticizing the PSC in general, Galbreath had a number of criticisms of his opponent in particular.
When Le Havre Daily News contacted Pinocci for a response to his opponent’s criticism, he first said he wanted to respond, then said HDN had printed things about him that were wrong in the past and that he was afraid it would happen again so he wouldn’t. comment.
Pinoocci did not elaborate on what was misreported in Saturday’s conversation and did not respond by press deadline to a request for clarification.
At Friday’s meeting, Galbreath said Pinocci voted earlier this year against a proposal to grant garbage removal company L&L Site Services a certificate that would allow them to operate in Missoula County, a a vote which, according to him, was contrary to Republican values.
Pinocci was one of two commissioners who voted against the proposal that would allow the company to expand its waste hauling operations in the region.
He also claimed that Pinocci had “flip-flopped” on Senate Bill 331, which reduced the commission’s regulatory authority over NorthWestern Energy’s operations at Colstrip, a proposal PSC staff advised. commissioners to object.
Pinnocci, along with three other commissioners voted in favor of the bill in March 2019.
At a meeting of the Pachyderms in April of that year, Pinocci said he supported the bill, but was working with NorthWestern Energy and lawmakers to change it so it didn’t pass on the costs of cleaning and dismantling on consumers.
Galbreath also criticized Pinocci’s voting record in general, saying he votes too often with Democrats and called him a Republican in name only.
He also said Pinocci receives a lot of money from NorthWestern Energy, the very company he is largely responsible for regulating, pointing to the website https://www.followthemoney.org which tracks political donations.
The website lists a $170 donation from NorthWestern Energy to Pinocci’s candidacy.
At the meeting, an audience member, Bob Sivertsen, said few people were talking about the subsidies given to companies for the development of solar and wind energy and the effect this has on utility rates.
Galbreath said he generally thinks the US government is too big and has too many social programs.
After Galbreath’s speech, Hill County Republican Central Committee Chairman Andrew Brekke said that pachyderms are values-based and Galbreath clearly is too, and they appreciate him running.