Certain politicians get thanks from moms for Mother’s Day

A group of about 20 moms and their kids – a stroller brigade – strolled along the street between Missoula’s Public Library and Montana Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus’ Missoula offices earlier today.

Stroller brigadeHere’s why: They were showing their support for strong federal clean air protections, and wanted to thank the senators for their support of stronger Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

The full news release on the event is available below.

But as they say: Wait, there’s more!

Montana Women Vote is also encouraging folks to thank their favorite state politicians now that the 2011 legislative session has come to a close.

“As this challenging Montana legislative session has come to an end, we can all be grateful to the brave and tireless legislators who stood and advocated for issues important to women and families,” says the notice sent out by Montana Women Vote.

The note includes a link to a Mother’s Day card you can print out, write on and send to an elected official of your choice. It reads, “Thank you from all the mothers, fathers, children and grandchildren for your hard work for the future of Montana. Your mama would be proud.”

The folks at Montana Women Vote, thorough people that they are, also include handy links to a complete list of Montana legislator addresses, and a list of other statewide elected officials’ addresses.

If one of your favorite state legislators happens to be Missoula Democrat Carol Williams, the first female Senate Majority Leader in Montana history, then you will be delighted with this coming Sunday’s guest column. It’s also about certain congressional delegates and the Clean Air Act.

But, dear readers, I won’t make you wait to read the opinion piece by Williams, a mother of three and grandmother of three. Here’s a special sneak peek for your reading pleasure, following the news release about the stroller brigade.

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Whoa! Check out the entries for the Congressional Art Competition

There are only a few days left to vote for the Montana-wide winner of the 2011 Congressional Art Competition! Voting is scheduled to close this upcoming Sunday – Mother’s Day – and whether you pick a favorite or not, you will definitely want to browse through the entries.

The only place I could find them is on Rep. Denny Rehberg’s Facebook page. As Montana’s Congressman, he’s the guy corralling the entries from Montana’s high school students. He has 27 of them posted, and the talent and range of materials is absolutely stunning. There’s some pencil drawings, some paintings, a photograph, a couple of digital images … well, you just have to see them.

The submissions with the most votes will move on as finalists in the competition. In order to vote, however, it appears you have to “Like” Rehberg on Facebook first. If I have that wrong or the entries are available anyplace else, hopefully someone in the know will set me straight.

In a prepared statement, Rehberg had this to say about Facebook and the contest:

Facebook is not only an excellent place for me to directly interact with Montanans, it’s a remarkable forum to showcase the talents of our state’s young artists through The Congressional Art Competition. This year’s contest will be truly interactive, as the Facebook users will vote for their favorite submissions, helping me to select the finalists.  I hope everyone will log on to take a look.

For more information about the contest and the prizes – including college scholarships – you might want to check out my earlier posts on the subject.

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Congressional Art Competition open to Montana high schoolers

In a press release from Montana’s congressman, Denny Rehberg, high school students across the state are urged to submit original artwork for the annual Congressional Art Competition.

Winning entries will be displayed in the Cannon Tunnel at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., for a year alongside the winning artworks from other congressional district. One winner will be chosen from each district, which in Montana’s case encompasses the entire state.

In the release, Rehberg described the competition as “a great way for Montana’s young artists to be recognized and rewarded for their talents,” adding, “I believe Montana’s rural settings and friendly people lend itself to some of the warmest and most inspired entries in the art competition, and each year I look forward to viewing the artwork and showing my colleagues Montana’s talent.”

The first runner-up from Montana will be displayed in Rehberg’s D.C. office. A grand prize winner will also be selected to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception in D.C. this June.

Submissions are due by April 22. Rules, instructions and other entry information can be found on Rehberg’s U.S. House website.

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Half a million dollars for babies at Community

It must be my day to get press releases about babies from Rep. Denny Rehberg. First there was his note about the Congressional Baby Caucus, below, and now this:

Rehberg Secures $500,000 for Women & Infant Care at Community Medical Center in Missoula

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg today announced $500,000 for the replacement of Women and Infant Care equipment at Community Medical Center in Missoula. The funding was included in the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee bill for Fiscal Year 2010.

“Ensuring a newborn receives the best possible care is one of the most important aspects of modern medicine,” said Rehberg, a member of the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee and the co-founder of the Congressional Baby Caucus. “Funding this CMC Initiative will help ensure that effective pediatric care is available to Montanans.”

Community Medical Center (CMC) is currently in the process of critical service upgrades and replacement of an outdated Women and Infant Care Center. This funding will allow Community Medical Center to acquire up-to-standard equipment that is comparable to infant care units nationwide.

“Community Medical Center is actively working to secure funding to provide a new facility for Women’s and Newborn care services,” said Jean Jenkins the Executive Director of the CMC Foundation. “High risk obstetrical, neonatal, and perinatal care are core competencies at CMC and a much needed service for Western Montana and the region. We are grateful for the efforts of Congressman Denny Rehberg on behalf of our project to build a new facility as we continue to provide excellent medical care to the families in our region. Congressman Rehberg and his staff have worked diligently to support funding requests for this project. With this continued support of $500,000 we are one step closer to a ground breaking in 2010. Thank you for all your efforts on behalf of the mothers, babies and families of Western Montana. “

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– Missoula Mom


Congressional Baby Caucus the cutest caucus ever?

Following is the text of a news release that was sitting in my inbox this morning. I have to admit, my first thought after reading the headline was that our politicians were taking name-calling to a whole new level. So I was relieved to read on and learn that they are not actually launching new caucus for congressional babies.

Here’s the release:

Rehberg, DeLauro Launch Congressional Baby Caucus

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Denny Rehberg (R-MT) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) launched the Congressional Baby Caucus at a briefing focused on the challenges faced by infants and toddlers in military families, highlighting how public policy can support their healthy development.

The Congressional Baby Caucus aims to ensure that public policy reflects the latest research in understanding how children’s brains are shaped and developed, how positive behaviors can be encouraged, and how investments in early childhood create success in later years, as well as that families are supported with what they need to take advantage of the scientific advances.

“Recent scientific studies on young children and their families have demonstrated that there is a disconnect between what we know is good for America’s children and families versus what we as a country do about it,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “For this reason, Congressman Rehberg and I founded the Congressional Baby Caucus, which will champion efforts to identify and promote policies that take advantage of these scientific studies in a thoughtful manner to ensure the affect of policies on infants and toddlers is not an after-thought. Our goal is to focus on the opportunities for Congress to use science to dramatically improve the public policy opportunities for children in this country.”

There are 332,771 children ages 0–3 of Active Duty members. The physical separation from a parent due to deployment can be a loss in itself. Trauma, grief and loss experienced by families of Service members who have been injured or killed, or are experiencing combat?related stress and/or illness, may further challenge the ability to maintain the healthy parental relationships which are essential to young children’s development.

“The first years of life are crucial for a child’s development,” said Rehberg. “The educational, nutritional and emotional nurturing that they receive during these years forms a foundation that will guide the course of their lives. It is crucial that policy makers accept our role in ensuring that every American child grows up in a safe and healthy environment with the resources they need to grow into strong, productive adults. I am proud to be a founding member and co-chairman of this caucus. I have enjoyed working with Rep. DeLauro on issues like Country of Origin Labeling, and look forward to partnering with her to develop bi-partisan solutions to the challenges facing infants, toddlers, and their families.”

More than 30 bipartisan members of the Caucus will be champions for awareness and early investment – promoting that which is best for children, from the get-go, rather than have the effect of policies on infants and toddlers as afterthoughts. The Caucus will focus on a broad range of areas, including nutrition and basic needs for babies; the effects of trauma; federal programs: existing programs like Head Start and Child Care Development Block Grant – how well they are serving infants and toddlers.

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– Missoula Mom


Children’s shelter in Missoula to get $500,000

According to a Tuesday announcement from Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg, Watson Children’s Shelter in Missoula is slated to receive half a million dollars in fiscal year 2010. That’s part of $2.5 million in federal money recently designated by the House Appropriations Committee, of which Rehberg is a member, for Montana projects.

In his announcement, Rehberg had this to say: “When I toured Watson’s Children Shelter, I was impressed with the level of service and the quality of care given to some of the community’s most vulnerable children. The Watson’s Children Shelter fills a critical need in Western Montana, and I’m pleased I was able to secure this crucial funding to help make a real difference in the lives of Montana children.”

Earlier this month, the Missoulian ran an editorial highlighting the shelter’s situation. Like many nonprofits, Watson’s has been seeing a decrease in funding and an increase in need. The thing is, Watson’s provides the only emergency shelter for children in the area – so when it’s full, as it has been for quite a while now, it has to turn children away, which it has been doing for quite a while now.

This money will help the Watson’s move foward on its plans for a second shelter. It comes after the Missoula City Council voted to award the shelter a $215,000 grant. New West has more on this, here.

It’s a good start for Watson’s $5 million capital campaign, set to launch later this month. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the shelter keeps the momentum going.

– Tyler Christensen

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