What is your name and office you are running for?
Matt Rains, Montana’s US House of Representatives seat
What is your background?
1) Raised on the Birdtail Ranch in Simms. Top quality Quarter Horses and Angus Cattle were our ranch specialties.
2) Graduated from United States Military Academy (West Point) in 2002.
3) Military. Served seven years active duty. Flew UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters. Served three years in South Korea and deployed for 12 months to CP Taji, Iraq. Left the military in 2009 as a Captain.
4) Humanitarian Photography. Traveled 60 countries as a humanitarian photographer.
Main projects were in the Kibera slums in Kenya, various NGO & Red Cross projects in Afghanistan, first foreign photographer to document the Rohingya Genocide in 2012 with 4 remote camps visited. Also photographed the YPJ female fighters in Kurdistan as part of a Women’s Leadership project.
5) Engineer. Four years inspecting power plants with the company Dynegy. Plants were coal and gas primarily. Job was “boiler inspector”, but due to helicopter, photographer, inspector experience, I developed the first UAV inspection program in the country for power plants.
6) MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. Olin Business School is a top 15 business school in the US.
7) Returned and am the 4th generation to run the family’s Birdtail Ranch.
What makes you qualified for this position?
My diverse experience with both growing up in Montana along with now running a ranch operation allows me to bring both national and international experience to my local understanding of issues. I have been in the shoes of the majority of Montanan’s in one form or another. Additionally, I am qualified to make decisions in Congress from firsthand experience in a multitude of professional career paths.
What is your campaign platform?
1) Jobs. Montana’s primary issue is not an absence of jobs. Our issue we must address is quality of jobs, wages, and providing graduating college students careers in-state that pay salaries which allow them to tackle their student debt and make a living. My focus will be on Agriculture and returning prosperity to ranchers and farmers. In Montana, our small rural towns continue to shrink. Our schools continue to consolidate downward.
My principle job in Congress will be to reverse that trend. The success of ranchers and farmers is instrumental to returning investments into rural Montana.
2) Healthcare. I am for Medicare for All with Public Option. Universal Healthcare should be the long term standard we strive for, but practical milestones must be the focus. My fight will be to evolve our healthcare system so no Montanan should ever have to pay more than $500 out of pocket for a visit to any hospital in state for any reason. Regardless of age, prior medical issues, or pre-existing conditions.
3) Education. We simply cannot spend enough on the children and young adults of Montana. Every dollar invested in our youth will pay generational dividends. There is no better investment for our state and country. Salaries for both teachers and staff must be increased to make them competitive with above average state-wide salaries.
4) Military. As a veteran, I will ensure our active duty, national guard, and reserve military are protected and have a been-in-uniform-myself voice in Congress when their lives are put on the line to defend our country. Veterans and VA will always be a priority and fight on my plate. Until all VA hospitals and local hospitals provide equal care, I have a fight before me.
5) Climate Change. From growing up on a ranch, I have always been tied directly to nature. Protections for our future generations must be embedded in all decisions to ensure we provide them a state, country, and world as healthy or healthier than we were given.
Any less is a failure of those in positions of responsibility.
What are three key points that set you apart from your opponent?
1) Born and raised in Montana
2) Diversity of experience: Agriculture, Military, Energy, Humanities, Arts, Business (MBA)
3) I can represent that majority of Montanans and not a subset or far left/right
What is your top priority if elected?
My top priority is returning profitability back to ranching and farming. I will save rural Montana and this priority is the first step in the process.
Is there anything else you want people to know about you?
As a horse trainer, I prefer two and three year olds. My photography is online at www.luxcapio.com (not as a promotion, but reference to statements above). I am comfortable hanging at the NILE in Billings, a rodeo, or a climate change meeting.
There are not a “type of people” in Montana I avoid because I’m concerned how they will react to me. I believe this is the case for a lot of other candidates.
Why is it important for people to vote?
Due to my travels and time working out of state, I have not been able to vote often myself. This is a failure and significant negative against me. I cannot answer this question without pointing out this fact. I pledge to be honest with Montanans and it starts with questions like this one. I do understand the weight and significance of voting and how it determines the fate of our towns, counties, districts, state, and country. I will be asking all Montanans to consider my campaign and support Rains for Montana. To create the Montana we want for ourselves and our next generation, we must proactively put those in positions of power with our best interests. I know I am this candidate for the entire state of Montana. Their vote is the only way I can serve the state I love.