- Your Town
Two Democratic nominee hopefuls for U.S. Rep come to Red Lodge
Two men running to be nominated by the Democratic Party as candidate for U.S. Representative from Montana came to Red Lodge this week. They are vying to be nominated as candidate for the position formerly held byRyan Zinke, now newly appointed Secretary of the Interior. Lee “Link” Neimark appeared Wednesday evening at Red Lodge Pizza Co. and Thomas Weida appeared at the Coffee Factory on Thursday afternoon. Neither candidate was a former or current office holder in local or state service but found it to be an advantage.
Neimark said, “the fact that I am not your typical Politian is a real advantage. I have always been a very involved citizen.” Neimark is a graduate with honors from the U. of Wisconsin with degrees in psychology and zoology and a Master’s degree in Oceanography from U. of Alaska. He lives in Whitefish after inheriting a chain of auto parts stores and selling it. He invested proceeds into a real estate company on which board he serves. He said, “With my background in business, science and education I am well qualified to tackle many of the critical issues facing our country.”
Thomas Weida, 45, is a fourth generation Montanan and graduate of U. of Montana, Missoula. He spent 15 years traveling all over Montana selling Stanley Tools. Proud of his heritage, he said his grandmother was a “Cartwright” although not of Bonanza fame. He cherishes the family ties and old names such as Witt and Claude. He grew up in Deer Lodge and spent 10 years in Missoula and 15 in Helena, now his home.
He said, “I didn’t think I’d be a politician.” Then, “I looked at the climate…” He said, “We Democrats have stepped back from fighting rather than standing up to it.”
He is motivated to run because he sees a need to protect what he says are “Montana’s core values: Access to public lands; access for all to responsible health care, access for everyone to education and conserving core Montana jobs and bringing in more.” He includes among other industry, tourism and ag. Weida feels there are two issues with social security adding, “The government made a contract with the people on social security. How can they back away from that?” The issues are the removal of the cap for contributions by higher incomes and the need to protect and save it, not spend it or invest it at risk. He made clear he is not against the “1 percent” but there needs to be a more equitable formula so all feel good about putting money into social security and government programs. He said without the second part of securing the money the removal of the cap, affecting only about 300,000 people would not alone solve the problem.
He believes money is bad for politics.
Weida sees his assets as: his long term residence and generational history in Montana; his liberal support of the Democratic platform; he is young and he is very comfortable working around political people and hearing the issues. I can be vocal about it and accessible to concerns.” He said, “in Helena, how can you not be interested?”