Gazette opinion: Stapleton for Montana secretary of state

Republican Corey Stapleton’s goals, if elected Montana secretary of state, are to:

  • Improve business services.
  • Protect the integrity of the elections process.
  • Be a great steward on the State Land Board.

That’s what Montanans want in their state elections and information chief.

To Stapleton, a financial planner in Billings, “election security is a big deal.” He’s determined to protect Montana elections from hackers.

Stapleton dove into state computer system improvements when, as a Republican state senator, he sponsored legislation that eventually replaced the failed Department of Revenue POINTS system. In the legislature, Stapleton said, “I was kind of a friend of the whistleblowers.”

As a state senator, Stapleton also carried legislation for studies that preceded the leasing of state-owned Otter Creek coal. The state reaped an $80 million advance payment from leasing to Arch Coal Co. before the coal markets disappeared and the project was shelved.

Stapleton pledged to protect public access to public land as a member of the Land Board.

Stapleton’s Democratic opponent, Monica Lindeen, is completing her second term as state auditor, an office that regulates insurance and securities. Lindeen, a Huntley native, has built up the office’s customer service and consumer protection outreach over the past eight years. She has successfully argued for laws that provide more transparency and protection to Montanans who purchase insurance or securities. Like Stapleton, Lindeen served in the Montana Legislature, where she used her small-business experience to champion legislation to encourage business and economic development.

However, Lindeen went from legislator to state official. Stapleton returned full time to the private sector after his legislative stint. In the secretary of state office, that private sector perspective will be valuable for streamlining the processes that affect every business in Montana.

“I want to empower and allow 56 counties to be our retail representatives,” Stapleton told editorial board members.

Stapleton gets The Gazette’s nod for secretary of state.

From Billings Gazette