Former United States Secretary of the Interior and current Republican candidate for Montana's open seat in the House of Representatives Ryan Zinke joined Townsquare Media this morning.  Right out of the gate, Zinke stressed the importance of voter turnout.  "When people don't care and have given up we have much larger problems than this election," Zinke told Townsquare Media's Tom O'Neill.

We asked him what makes him the best candidate.  Zinke told O'Neill it is his vision for "freedom, the constitution, self-determination, family values, making sure that we bring energy costs down where they should be, making sure that we curb spending so that we can bring inflation and interest rates down so that Montanans can make a living."  He also stressed the differences he has with his opponent, Democrat Monica Tranel.  "My opponent would care for 133 trillion dollars, with a "t", of new spending, enjoys the inflation reduction act which sends 87,000 IRS agents across the country to harass, and raises taxes on every Montanan, and to kill the oil and gas industry will kill Montana's economy.  Flat and simple, that's it," Zinke said.  Regarding domestic production, Zinke said  "it is better to produce energy in this country under our regulations than to watch it get produced overseas with no regulation".

Zinke on Putin

He's a war criminal.

Opening Ceremony - Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Day 0
Photo: Getty Images

Zinke is a highly-decorated former member of United States Navy SEAL Team 6 and in that regard was asked for his take on the Putin/Ukraine conflict.  He did not mince words.  "I think the world should identify Putin for exactly what he is, he is a war criminal," Zinke said, "When you willfully and knowingly kill and target civilians, which he has done, he is a war criminal," he told O'Neill.  Zinke said we are now "seeing the effects on Europe for being dependent on Russian energy and raw materials," and that the European economy is being "held over the barrel."  Zinke said America must not find itself in a similar situation of being dependent of foreign energy and energy sources, saying we need to "make sure that critical components in our economy are made in the U.S. and the only way to do that is to make sure that we have energy costs that are not subsidized by our taxpayers, but low energy costs so that we can afford to pay people to manufacture in this country."

Fentanyl problem in Butte

Drug bag
Photo: Townsquare Media

O'Neill asked Zinke if he thought there was a connection between the current Fentanyl crisis in Butte and the problems with illegal crossings on the southern border.  Zinke replied, "One hundred percent.  One hundred percent.  Ask any law enforcement official, ask our AG, the fentanyl problem is coming from the southern border and the cartels now surpass China in production, so they are cutting out the middle-man.  So, the fentanyl problems in Butte, Montana, the fentanyl problems across Montana are being driven by no border, coming straight up the gut from the southern border."  But Zinke said the problem goes much further.  "It's sex-trafficking, it's child-trafficking, it's drug-trafficking, and we see the effects on almost every street corner.  Certainly in Butte we see it," Zinke added "and we see violent crime up because of the drug problem."

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