Zinke Talks Public Lands, Infrastructure

Ryan Zinke is ready to be back in Washington, D.C., representing Montana. Zinke is running for Montana’s newly added second seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Zinke this week set out on a 1,200-mile tour through the district. He stopped in Thompson Falls on Tuesday, visiting with The Ledger after meeting with the Sanders County Republican Central Committee.

Zinke, a Republican, talked about the tension between federal control and power and having local influence and voice. He said that America needs to function less on red team vs. blue team and more red, white and blue. When asked where he stood on counties taking federal money tied to COVID, he said he determines his stance issue by issue. He said he thinks the recently passed infrastructure bill was “a Trojan horse,” and that states need to judge whether tiebacks are too onerous when accepting federal funds. “Taking federal funds in some cases is taking the bait.”

Zinke has previously served in the Montana Senate and spent two years in the U.S. House before being named to Donald Trump’s cabinet, serving two years as Secretary of the Interior. Zinke, who was raised in Whitefish, says managing public lands should be up to states, not the federal government, and that public lands should be open for multiple-use recreation.