U.S. House of Representatives Candidates: Kim Gillan (D), Steve Daines (R), David Kaiser (L)

Note: As of this time, neither Daines nor Kaiser has responded

1) To what extent will you combat financial barriers (i.e. rising tuition) that students face in their pursuit of higher education?

GILLAN: An educated work force is the backbone of the modern globalized economy. Rising tuition costs are a hindrance to America’s competitiveness in this economic landscape. We must support both funding for higher education to keep costs down and student loan programs such as Pell Grants that are targeted in the Ryan Budget. America’s greatest advantage is our people and skilled workforce and we must protect and build on this investment.

2) Montana State University just completed a long-term strategic plan which includes calls for raising enrollment by 2,000, increasing faculty pay to 80 percent of the national average, priority budgeting and enhancing the student experience. What steps can Montana’s lawmakers take to assist in the pursuit of MSU’s goals?

GILLAN: As a Montana state Legislator for 16 years and workforce development consultant at MSU-Billings, I have witnessed the ability of elected officials to champion public education. As a dedicated supporter of higher education, it is imperative that the maintenance and improvement of our institutions doesn’t unfairly or disproportionately fall on the shoulders of indebted students; we have a public responsibility to provide quality higher education. The entire state of Montana greatly benefits from MSU being an excellent institution of higher education and we must provide it with adequate funding to continue being so, not merely increase the debt level on our students.

3) Are Montana’s universities spending student and public money efficiently?

GILLAN: These are tough economic times and we need to be careful with our dollars across the board. More than ever, we cannot tolerate the inefficient use of public dollars in any expenditure program. We need to prioritize our spending to target issues — like education — that can help build the foundation for a better Montana and then establish methods to ensure those dollars are having their intended effect.