Two issues in this year’s election overshadow all others:  the national debt, and our national security.

The candidates we Montanans send to Congress will have a direct voice in addressing our staggering national debt, at a minimum cost to those in greatest need, while also guarding our security at an affordable cost to the national treasury.

Our two most recent Presidents have either been good at making bad decisions, or bad at making any decisions.  Neither apparently understood President Eisenhower’s warning that “a bankrupt nation is a defenseless nation.”  Congress has acted like a befuddled bystander during the period of their presidencies. That’s how we got into our current alarming state of affairs.

Delay in addressing the debt is killing the country.  Steve Daines has real life experience balancing budgets.  I know him, and believe he has the courage as well as the knowledge to make the firm and fair debt decisions our economic survival requires.  We should send him to the Senate.

Ike would likely have doubted the wisdom of unending missions by expensive high-tech jets, hunting beat-up pick-ups packing cold war era machine guns.  We already know that “shock and awe” from the sky alone won’t eliminate terrorists on their home ground.  If that’s even possible it will require special operations forces sufficiently trained to guide airstrikes, and tough enough to take on the terrorists.

Ryan Zinke, perhaps unique among all Congressional candidates this year, could knowledgeably evaluate the capability and reliability of middle-eastern ground forces allied with us that the President proposes we train to fight ISIS.  Whether it’s “boots on the ground,” “sandals in the sand,” neither or both, a wrong strategy will ultimately result in more unaffordable defeat.  On the vital national security issue Montana and the nation need Zinke in Congress.

Bob Brown, Whitefish, is a former MT Secretary of State and State Senate President.