Get Involved with Big Sky 55+

The future of Montana is At stake

 

Healthcare, Retirement, Workers Rights, Education and more.
If you care about making sure that Montana’s 55 and older and the generations to come will have the ability to live healthy vibrant lives, then let us come together, and rise up.

 

We can build a better future for Montana today and Montana tomorrow. Big Sky 55+ is here for you and your family.


 

[a] Fact sheet

NAFTA in a nutshell. Learn how the recently renogatiated NAFTA trade deal affects you.
Download our FREE Voting Guide.


[b] Ask us a Question

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Politics can get tricky for anyone. Cut through the nonsense and get to an answer.
Go ahead, ask us a question!


[c] donate

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We are doing important work and making big strides here. Your support is crucial.
Fuel the movement with a donation.



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a. is your lead magnet. use your lead magnet as an incentive for your audience to trade your valuable information resource for their email address. this is the start of your partnership/relationship

b. is a contact form. another lead magnet may work better but a contact form is good too.

c. takes them straight to your donor page.

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“We want a future in which people can retire with dignity and security“

 

[ compelling & relatable quote from a supporter that will engage with your target audience & draw them in as supporters. add photo of member to show the faces behind the movement]

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Preserve and Protect Social Security

We need to protect Social Security as a vital service we all have earned. In Montana, Social Security provides benefits to over 227,000 Montanans including more than l59,000 Montanans aged 65. Theses hard-earned benefits keep people out of poverty and allow them to live with dignity and independence in their later years. 

 
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The elderly poverty rate in Montana would go from 7.1% to 41.8% without Social Security.

How will Big Sky 55+ will protect Social Security?


 

Medicare and Medicaid, Cornerstones of our Healthcare

For over 50 years, Medicaid has provided vital health insurance protections to seniors in nursing homes and low-income Americans of all ages. Medicaid and Medicare are especially important in Montana, which is aging at a faster rate than most of the other states in the union. The 2010 U.S. Census showed that Montana’s 65 and older population was at 13.4%, while the United States is at 12.1%.

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Medicaid expansion efforts since 2015 have helped 100,000 Montanans.

How will Big Sky 55+ will protect Medicare and Medicaid


Improve Access to Healthcare and Long-Term Care

Medicare insures more than 227,000 Montanans, half of whom live on incomes below $23,500 per year. While Medicare is essential, the plan doesn’t do enough. There are gaps in Medicare’s coverage including basic dental, hearing, and vision, preventive services that older people need to live healthy and productive lives. People on Medicare now spend on average 15% of their income on health coverage, which is three times more than younger households spend for health coverage.

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People on Medicare now spend on average 15% of their income on health coverage.

How will Big Sky 55+ improve access to healthcare and long-term care?


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“We must support policy that works for working families”

 

If we want an economy that works for everyone, it’s time to strengthen access to quality healthcare, retirement security, affordable housing and get serious about protecting our environment. We must prepare for the future by supporting economic policy that works for all our working families throughout their lifespan.

 

 
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Expand Retirement Security

Social security plays a vital role in reducing poverty.

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Require Corporations and Elite

TO PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE

Corporations continue to make record profits, yet far too many of them pay nothing in federal income tax. Meanwhile, the top one percent continues to expand its piece of the economic pie, while often paying lower tax rates than working families.

 
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Support Workers

Rights to raise WAGES AND IMPROVE WORKPLACE STANDARDS

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Support the Fight for $15

and minimum wage intiatives

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[within the pages be sure to utilize buttons so people can subscribe/donate/or get linked to your social media or news page]

Access to Quality Affordable Health Care

Our health care system is broken. When people feel they can’t afford to go to the doctor, their illnesses are often diagnosed later, are less treatable and result in higher costs than if they were able to get preventive care or early treatment. Quality affordable health care helps Montana people access essential healthcare services.

 
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Many Montanans over 55 feel they are one illness or accident away from bankruptcy.

How will Big Sky 55+ will protect Social Security?


Dangerous Budget Cuts

According to the Montana Budget and Policy Center, 2017 state budget cuts have resulted in a loss of services for our most vulnerable populations. The cuts include:

 
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$22.6 Million
$32 Million


$12 Million


= $66.6 million TOTAL LOSSES

For our most vulnerable populations according to Montana Budget and Policy Center 2017. How will Big Sky 55+ will protect Medicare and Medicaid?

  1. A combined loss of $32 million in targeted case management for children and adults with developmental disabilities and those experiencing mental health and substance use disorders.

  2. Nearly $12 million to in-home care for seniors and people with disabilities living in their own homes, likely forcing more Montanans out of their own home and into a nursing home.

  3. $22.6 million in reimbursement rates for hospitals and other health centers providing care to Medical patients.

  4. Ending Medicaid’s coverage for some critical dental services such as denture services.


“It is the goal of the people to establish a system of education which will develop the full education potential of each person. Equality of educational opportunity is guaranteed to each person of the state.”
— - Montana Constitution. Part X. Education and Public Lands Section 1

 

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Early Childhood through Higher Adult Education     

As the 55 and older community, we recognize that a quality public educational system from early childhood through higher education, with adequate funding, is necessary for building strong families, strong communities, and our state. Educational achievement opens doors and increases opportunities for success and helps level the playing field. We need to prepare all students to succeed in the new global economic systems and help them build our state.

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Because Montana legislators have cut the state’s share of school funding over many local tax payers are being asked to take an unfair amount of responsibility in K-12 school funding to meet basic school operational needs.

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Post-secondary education is vital for economic family security. We must make college and vocational training accessible and affordable for all students.

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The big disadvantage for Montana legislators

Here in Montana, our citizen lawmakers only meet once every two years. Term limits in addition to our legislators meeting only one time every two years puts our state in a distinct disadvantage when dealing with professional lobbyists.

 

THE SILVER LINING

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Montana voter turn out is pretty darn good

Montana has a relatively high voter turnout. In presidential elections our turnout hovers around 75% and in off presidential years around 55%.

 

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Eliminate Barriers to Voting

There are several ways we can create more fair, efficient and accurate elections . These include conducting elections by mail-in ballots, providing polling stations in traditionally low turnout areas, and opposing prohibitive voter ID laws, just to name a few!

Learn more about what Big Sky 55+ will do.

 

IT IS BOTH A RIGHT AND A RESPONSIBILITY

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ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE

.Working families, many of whom live in or near our major cities, disproportionately experience the toll of environmental injustices everyday—higher pollution levels and increased exposure to environmental hazards at home and at work.

Montana’s natural resources

We advocate to protect Montana’s precious water, lakes, rivers, and streams and keep our public lands in public hands. Special places like the Badger Two Medicine should be protected for future generations.

 
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$60 Million dollars

Last year’s fires cost Montana over $60 million, NOT INCLUDING the cost of health impacts from smoke or the loss of cattle.

WILDFIRE SEASON

Wildfire season in Montana is now 2 1/2 months longer than it was in 1990. We must address the human and economic threats of environmental degradation while creating an economy that works for all. We believe it is our responsibility to leave our children, grandchildren, and future generations a clean and healthful environment. It is our constitutional right and our responsibility to pass our rich natural legacy of clean air and water and fertile lands on to future generations in excellent condition.

 
 

EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK

REGARDLESS OF RACE OR GENDER

 
 
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$43K less than men

Women in Montana make $.43 cents less on the dollar.
This means for every $100k men in Montana make, women make $43k less. People of color make even less!

 
 

A FAIR JUSTICE SYSTEM FOR ALL

 
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17% of those incarcerated

In Montana are Native American, yet are only 7% of the total Montana population. Continuing efforts are needed to ensure our law enforcement and our judicial personnel insure racial profiling is not a part of their decision making in traffic stops, arrests, and sentencing.

 

LGBT EQUALITY

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Employment, housing, and public accommodations

We support city and statewide efforts to amend the Montana Human Rights Act and Montana’s Bias-Based Crimes statue to protect people based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. These are often referred to as Nondiscrimination Ordinances (or NDOs).

 

BIG SKY 55+ WILL

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Oppose efforts to allow

discrimination in any public service justified by a provider’s personal beliefs

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Oppose efforts to restrict

eliminate access to reproductive health care.

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Oppose ballot measures and legislation which

discriminate against people based on race, gender, religious beliefs, age, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, physical or mental disability political beliefs, or social condition in the areas of employment, housing, provision of public services, credit, insurance and public accommodation, government services and insurance.

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Native Americans have lived here for thousands of years, long before the state of Montana existed. 78,000 people of Native American heritage currently live in Montana, on the seven reservations as well as throughout our urban areas. It is a growing population. They make up 6.6% of the state’s population and they make up 13.7% of the total student population in our public schools.Each tribal nation has a proud history and unique cultural heritage and language. Each also has a legal relationship to the Federal Government based on a long history of treaties and various laws. The Government to Government relationship which recognizes the sovereignty of these tribal nations is the basis of the relationship with the Federal Government and the State of Montana.Native American people face many challenges in their daily lives, both on and off reservation. Solutions can be found through cooperative efforts and support between the tribal nations and Federal, State and Local Government systems. The following are some of the challenges:

Severe Health Care Disparities

The Montana Health Care Foundation reports that American Indians in Montana die at a median age of 50 years (more than 20 years earlier than non-Indian Montanans). Death rates for specific illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, respiratory illnesses, injuries, and suicide are substantially higher as well.

  1. For 2014 and 2015, the highest rate of suicide in Montana is among American Indians (35.5 per 100,000) followed by Caucasians (28.1 per 100,000) according to the Montana 2016 Suicide Mortality report.

  2. Educational achievement is improving, but American Indian students face higher dropout rates, low graduation rates and lower achievement levels than their non-Indian peers.

  3. American Indians have over-representation in our prison and legal systems.

  4. Violence against Indian women and missing American Indian women is a state and national issue.

  5. Substance abuse, poverty, unemployment, inadequate housing are persistent problems.

 

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Montana is a predominantly rural state. Montanans value our rural communities, lifestyle and the open landscapes. Rural communities are aging faster than the rest of the state. Rural communities have less political power due to smaller populations, so they have fewer voices speaking for them. The needs of rural citizens and their communities include:
Infrastructure funding: Well-maintained infrastructure is vital for agriculture and local businesses to thrive. Water and sewer systems, volunteer fire departments, local law enforcement, public schools and well-maintained highways and roads keep our communities viable and livable. We struggle to fund these services. Infrastructure investments help maintain and improve businesses and communities and create good paying jobs.
Utilities: Rural communities need broadband internet access as well as improved telephone services including cell and landlines. Electric co-ops need to be open, democratic and responsive to the communities they serve.
Rural health care: Rural hospitals, telemedicine, veterans' health care, and mental health care are key to viable rural communities. Seniors need a range of care options from home health care to rehab centers and nursing homes.
Support for family farmers and sustainable agriculture: Farmers markets, farm to school, farm to table restaurants, small manufacturing of food products, niche markets--these provide jobs and access to locally sourced, sustainable foods. Rural voices must be heard on fair trade, concentration in the meatpacking industry, country of origin labeling and the Farm Bill.
Farm transition to next generation: We support ways to help grow the next generation of those who will grow our food, including access to capital, mentorship for beginning farmers and ranchers, and improved extension services.
Education: Public schools are vital to rural communities. They are the community and social hubs of rural Montana towns. Once a small town loses its public school, it loses its identity and its ability to attract young families to farm and ranch.

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Fair Taxation

We support a state system of taxation that provides adequate funding for public services. Tax revenue should fully fund our schools, universities, police and fire protection, the essential infrastructure of roads, bridges and internet networks throughout the state and the human services upon which so many of us depend.

To reach these revenue goals, we support a tax system that is "progressive." By this we mean that we expect higher income residents, who have a greater ability to contribute to the general welfare of the state, to pay a larger percent of their income in taxes than those with lower incomes. Montana currently has a moderately progressive tax system, due in large part to the absence of a general sales tax.


Natural resource taxes--Montana’s economy has always been dependent on natural resource development.  We recognize that resources such as minerals, coal, oil and gas are finite resources and their development degrades the environment to some extent.Big Sky 55+ will:

  • Support severance tax rates which recognize that resource development is generally not a sustainable source of revenue.

  • Support the concept of banking tax revenue that comes from resource extraction and placing that revenue into trusts for the long term benefit of the state.

  • Support the Coal Tax Trust and oppose efforts to “Bust the Trust”.

Income taxes--We support a progressive income tax system. We believe that income derived from passive, investment activity should be taxed at a rate higher than the rate applied to employment income.Big Sky 55+ will:

  • Support a system of graduated income tax rates which increases the rate as income levels rise.

  • Support efforts to increase tax rates on “passive income” derived from investment activity.

  • Support efforts to capture income derived in Montana and oppose efforts to shelter income or transfer it out of state without paying Montana taxes.

  • Support adequate funding for a tax collection system which is both fair and efficient.

Sales taxes--Targeted sales taxes are levied on a variety of products ranging from gasoline to tobacco.  These taxes are often “regressive” (low income people pay a higher percentage of income).  Still, these taxes are an important source of revenue and can achieve other public policy goals.Big Sky 55 + will:

  • Support increasing the tobacco tax and using the income for cessation and treatment programs.

  • Oppose any effort to adopt a general sales tax in Montana.

Montana’s veterans have sacrificed for our great country. We must honor that sacrifice by taking care of them and their families. We can do better at taking care of veterans. Montana has one of the nation’s highest rates of per-capita active duty soldiers and veterans. Stronger support is needed to provide veteran health services and to help military men and women transition back to civilian life.

Montana Veterans

Montana’s veterans have sacrificed for our great country. We must honor that sacrifice by taking care of them and their families. We can do better at taking care of veterans. Montana has one of the nation’s highest rates of per-capita active duty soldiers and veterans. Stronger support is needed to provide veteran health services and to help military men and women transition back to civilian life.Health Care Choice and Affordability: Strengthen the Veterans Choice Act to better serve rural veterans

  • Increase accountability at the Veterans Administration.

  • Keep rural hospitals open.

  • Expand access to health care and enhance mental health services for veterans.

  • Make it easier for veterans to access the benefits they earned.

  • Oppose The American Health Care Act because it is Un-American and will leave Montana Veterans without much-needed care.

 Economic Development and Transitioning to the Workforce:

  • Support the Veterans Entrepreneurial Transition Act that will enable veterans to receive entrepreneurial training programs and assistance on developing business plans to start their own business.

  • Incentivize businesses to train and hire veterans.


 
 
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economic development and transitioning to the workforce

  • Support the Veterans Entrepreneurial Transition Act that will enable veterans to receive entrepreneurial training programs and assistance on developing business plans to start their own business.

  • Incentivize business to train and hire veterans.

economic development and transitioning to the workforce

  • Support the Veterans Entrepreneurial Transition Act that will enable veterans to receive entrepreneurial training programs and assistance on developing business plans to start their own business.

  • Incentivize business to train and hire veterans.

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Strengthen the veterans choice act to better serve rural veterans

  • Increase accountability at the Veterans Administration.

  • Keep rural hospitals opens.

  • Expand access to health care and enhance mental health services for veterans.

  • Make it easier for veterans to access the benefits they earned.

  • Oppose The American Health Care Act because it is Un-American and will leave Montana Veterans without much-needed care.

 
 
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— Veteran Name, Service
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