Jennifer Merecki
 
 

Jennifer Merecki

The voice
of progress.

I'm not running for office,
I'm running for YOU.

 
 
 
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march 2018

We are at a point in our history where fresh faces, consistent forward-thinkers and new ideas are needed in our state government.

Andy Boyd / Read More

 

 
 
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Meet Jennifer

Growing up in the Yellowstone Valley region and as a descendant from true western pioneers, Jennifer has always had the "Pioneer Spirit." She has conviction, pride, strong work ethic, and the drive to make our home the best it can be. She has fought hard for the average citizen, worker and family. Went toe-to-toe facing adversity and intimidators with success.

All the while, defending strong progressive values and knowing that quality of life is not "politics as usual."

Jennifer acknowledges and believes that political office is serving the people, not the other way around. Jennifer's goal is to become a vessel for her constituents and to be a genuine public servant.

Jennifer truly believes that Montana can exist with inclusion. Rancher and environmentalist, old and young, private and public. It's about empathy, give and take, and understanding. Montana needs cooperation not chaos.

 

Experience:

  • Democratic Presidential Candidate Campaign Grassroots Organizer for Billings / Yellowstone County Montana
  • Democratic presidential candidate Campaign Spokesperson, Rally Presenter and Speaker
  • Elected Yellowstone County Montana Democrat Delegate
  • Elected Montana State National Democrat Delegate
  • Elected National Delegate Whip for Montana
  • Montana Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Staff
  • Yellowstone Progressive Action Network Administrator
  • Healthcare Reform Lobby
  • Environmental Stewardship Lobby
  • Published Political Columnist and Author “Progressive Pioneer”- Yellowstone County News
  • State Communications Director-Montana Progressive Democrats
  • Health Care Executive Director
  • Health Care Risk Management Administrator
  • Small business owner of Agadas Integrated Wellness

Education: 

  • Psychology and Biology Major
  • Licensed Therapeutic Massage Therapist and Body Work Specialist
  • Licensed International Personal Fitness Trainer
  • Certified Holistic and Fitness Nutrition Practitioner
  • Certified Health and Wellness Coach
  • Business Administration

 

Miscellaneous:

  • Ordained Health and Healing Ambassador 2016
  • National Health Care Executive of the Year 2010       
  • Billings Montana Business Association “Top 40 under 40” Award 2007 
  • Most Creative Award, Passion for Excellence 2005 
  • Special Olympics Fundraising Supporter
  • Citizens Climate Lobby member
  • Northern Plains Resource Council member

 

 

Issues

Where Jennifer Stands

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education

Jennifer believes we should be investing, strengthening, and supporting our public-school system. As a community, we need to solidify the funding for critically underfunded schools in our district. She is against privatization through such tactics as privately-managed charter schools. Public dollars belong to public schools, and by working together, schools, families, and communities can prepare for a more promising future. We also need to look at other models for pre-kindergarten, free or reduced tuition community colleges and trade school programs to keep Montanans skilled and in the workforce. 

 

Livable wages

A minimum wage needs to be a living wage. The current Montana minimum wage of $8.30/ hour is a starvation wage.  No one in Montana should work full time and struggle to put food on the table. According to a new study, to afford rent for a two-bedroom home, Montanans would need to make $14.90 an hour. Jennifer recognizes that paying a living wage is an investment in the long-term prosperity of the economy and should be indexed to the cost of living so its value does not erode over time.

 

Healthcare

Jennifer believes in affordable universal Medicare-for-all healthcare. A public/private option is a fantastic way to get started. The public option is a single federal insurance plan (Medicare) that would compete with private insurance companies, in turn, keeping premiums low for those electing to keep their current insurance. So, having the choice; public, private or those who choose to be insurance-free, would have the ability to do so and with no penalties. Health care is a right, not a privilege. Hardworking, low-income Montanans lacking access to healthcare face a vicious cycle, especially within small rural communities. People cannot work if they don’t have their health. Denying people healthcare results in large medical debt. We should use tobacco taxes and the future possibility of tax revenue generated from regulated, legalized cannabis, as well as allocating funds from corporate taxes to take care of our citizens healthcare needs. We need to control the profit driven medical facilities that price gouge and put a strain on the budget. Reasonable caps on durable medical goods and equipment and reducing administrative costs will also benefit Montana. Medicaid expansion is essential and actual pays for itself with matched federal funds. (which we are losing right now because we are not spending to our obligation) It's about the dignity of every human being, be it average capable citizens, seniors, the disabled, people with mental health issues or children. Human services reflect human beings, and we're better than this. All of us are players at the table.  Health care is an economic driver and is essential for quality of life.

 

veterans & military

Jennifer has a strong, proud military history in her family and if we send our brave men and women to war, we should have the decency to take care of them when they return from service. Jennifer will work to fund and expand the VA so that every veteran gets the care that he or she deserves. She will substantially fight for improve the processing of Veterans’ claims for compensation, assist expanding the VA’s Caregivers Program, expand mental health service for veterans, make comprehensive dental care available to all veterans at the VA and look to alternative therapies such as cannabis for PTSD, anxiety and opioid dependence.

 

Paid leave

Real family values are about making sure that parents have the time they need to bond with their babies and take care of their children and relatives when they get ill. Jennifer will fight to require that employers with over 50 employees, provide at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; two weeks of paid vacation; and 7 days of paid sick days. If we build strong families, we build strong communities.

 

Unions

Jennifer believes and will protect the Workers Bill of Rights, Unions and Prevailing wages. Prevailing wages prevents our tax money going to support those companies that pay the lowest wages rather than the most skilled, highest quality, and most efficient. State funded or sponsored construction projects that are competitively bid go to the lowest bidder and without Prevailing Wage, the main factor in the lowest bid is who pays their workers the least. Our tax dollars should not be spent to encourage low wages and low performance. It supports worker training and safety, promotes the local economy, and supports careers in skilled trades. The State needs to support citizens deciding to enter a career in the skilled trades. Lower wages will only exacerbate the problem because wages and benefits will not be sufficient to attract workers or support Montana businesses. Jennifer absolutely believes in collective bargaining. She firmly stands that collective bargaining is a human right in that the compromises resulting from a process in which workers have an autonomous voice reflect principles of dignity, equality, and democracy consistent with human rights principles.

infrastructure

Sustaining and investing in our infrastructure needs to be a regular part of how we do business and we should assure that public projects, including our schools and roads don’t get caught in political gridlock. This includes investing and expanding our energy portfolio with additional renewable technologies to secure our energy freedom for years to come. We should also look at revenue sources, such as a local option tax on tourist goods and services. We must emphasize the benefits of infrastructure projects as employment opportunities and as economic stimuli. We must ensure the ultra-wealthy and corporations pay their fair share of taxes to fund infrastructure. As to date, that is not happening. In addition, cutting red tape and back door deals to safeguard wise spending, initiated through an impartial bidding and contractual process to eliminate favoritism. Given the large potential benefits of infrastructure investments stemming from its boost to productivity, growth, macroeconomic stabilization, and job creation, infrastructure is a prime mover for any fruitful community.

 

Campaign finance reform/
dark money

Jennifer believes in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The need for real campaign finance reform is not a conservative issue or a liberal issue. It is a Montana issue. It is an issue that should concern all Montanans, regardless of their political point of view. She will fight to eliminate super PACs and other outside dark money spending abuses and will work to aggressively enforce campaign finance rules.

 

public lands

Public lands and a healthy environment are vital to our economy and our identity as Montanans. Jennifer holds firmly in the protection and preservation of public lands and the public’s access to them.  This means fighting privatization efforts and keeping an open dialogue to assure access for a wide array of users in Montana, while protecting our natural resources.

 

small business

As a small business owner, Jennifer understands the importance of protecting Main street, not Wall Street. Small businesses owners are an integral part of the communities in which they live and work. Small businesses contribute to our community, worship, plays sports and socializes with community members, and cares about the individual. Because of this personal involvement, she will strive to provide the best possible outcomes for our vital small businesses.

 

guns

Jennifer believes we need to address gun violence in the order of public safety. As a gun owner, she believes in and respects the Second Amendment and values her Constitutional right to legally possess firearms. Though, she knows that with rights come responsibilities. Jennifer supports research on causes of gun violence and its consequences on public health. While protecting the second amendment, we must implement common sense. There are measures that can significantly impact the reduction of violence and deaths. Her stance is not to eliminate or confiscate firearms. She is not anti-gun but anti-violence. Jennifer believes that bi-partisan, sensible gun legislation protects life and liberty.

 

agriculture

Jennifer considers agriculture to be a vital industry and a significant economic sector in Montana.  The overall health of our community is benefited by promoting and increasing its capacity to create an environment that truly sustains our residents. An engaged community with a collective voice, gives agriculture a chance to work together for the common good.

 

middle class

The Montana middle class is in trouble. Median family income is down. Opportunities people thought they'd earned through hard work are disappearing before their eyes. Working families are falling further and further behind. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer because of government policies that benefit the very few at the expense of the vast majority of Montanans. Currently the ultra-rich and the largest corporations and banks in Montana don’t pay their fair share of taxes, which means there’s not enough funding for programs that will alleviate systemic inequalities. Jennifer will fight for the middle class and be a champion for the people.

women's rights

Women’s rights are fundamentally human rights. These rights include the right to live free from violence and discrimination; to earn a fair and equal wage; and the right to make their own healthcare decisions.

 

civil rights

Jennifer is a strong advocate for civil rights for all Americans. We all deserve to be treated fairly and with respect, including those with disabilities. Her actions have clearly supported equal rights and opportunities for all individuals and have been unwavering in her fight against discrimination.

 

economy

Montana’s economy suffers from high inequality. Wages have stagnated despite rising worker productivity. Our distorted tax code favors the wealthy while most Montanans struggle. The budget crisis in Montana could have been averted with healthy projections and compromise.  It is necessary to reaffirm our commitment to a robust economy with a balance of power between workers, corporations and jobs that provide a living wage. Jennifer supports building strong, local economies that create vibrant communities.

 

budget and taxes

As a seasoned executive with expansive business, management and budget experience, she sees financial opportunities that have not been utilized. We need to focus on restoring the service cuts effecting people with disabilities, the elderly, mentally ill and children. We need to be fiscally responsible by creating a budget that is accurate and realistic, not designed to fail. The government needs money coming in, just like a household. We need adequate funding for the long term and the Montana legislature needs to put people above politics. We need to eliminate waste and ensure oversight to take necessary steps to guarantee a balanced budget. We need to be open to looking at local option sales taxes to fund local projects, so funds don’t need to come out of the state’s general fund. Capital gains tax and Corporate tax rates need to be adjusted to be fair to build up the general fund to have the financial resources available.

 

energy

Montana needs not be shy to develop and deploy new clean energy sources that will power our economy long into our future. We can utilize the sources we have while protecting the health of our families and respecting the issue of climate change. We can transform our energy system to compliment, then when the time is right, transfer systems from fossil fuels by working towards energy efficiency and sustainability. In turn, creating new jobs and expertise.  This includes investing and expanding our energy portfolio with additional renewable technologies to secure our energy freedom for years to come.

 

environment

Now is the time for new climate leadership. Responsible environmental stewardship can coexist with economic strength, access and use of public lands and energy systems. With the provision of assistance and permits to private industry, we need to respect legally-mandated environmental impact assessments and enforce regulations to protect ordinary Montanans and our valued environments. Those regulations could be amended to make analyses more objective, honest, and unbiased, to make them more accessible to the public, and perhaps most of all, require real consultation with affected people - working with those affected, seeking ways to resolve their problems. Not giving either side an advantage but give the ability to make sure everyone’s concerns are on the table and considered. It has been done, it can work, and it can be cost-effective.

 

native americans

Jennifer believes in Tribal Sovereignty and the right of self-determination for all Native Peoples. She supports education, job-training programs, and transportation investments that will help tribal communities.  Montana has an obligation to fulfill the promises made to Native People and She will fight to ensure those promises are kept.

 
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