Dear Rob and Bonni Quist,
Thank you for running for the U.S. House of Representatives. Thank you for putting your principles and your lives on the line for our state. Thank you for working as hard as you possibly could.
You knew that your good names and the good times you have provided through your music for hundreds of thousands of us would be thoroughly trashed by the millions of dollars from the millionaire opponent and his billionaire friends. Thanks for fighting the good fight and coming darn close, in part by raising so much money from people at $30 per contribution.
We know exactly what you went through with your medical expense troubles. When Pat got breast cancer, she had a good job with supposedly good insurance. The insurance refused to pay most of the costs, saying costs of healthcare in Montana were too high. After over two years of fighting with them, we gave up and settled for about half of what we still owed. On top of this, a family lawyer advised us to get divorced so that Rusty would still have some credit while Pat could declare bankruptcy.
We didn’t, but only because our doctor and her clinic forgave many tens of thousands of dollars of our remaining debt. Later, her clinic closed, we think because of her similar kindness toward many other patients like us.
You know about folks like us because you are one of us. You know that the majority of individual bankruptcies are for medical expenses in this country. You would have only been one voice in the U.S. Congress of Millionaires (for the first time in history a majority are just that), but you would have fought tooth and nail for all of us who are one serious illness away from either bankruptcy or facing the choice of not going to the doctor or receiving treatment because we don’t have good enough insurance.
Yes, you would have fought against the Republican attempts to take away public access to lands owned by all of us, and for women’s rights and civil rights and the environment and just about everything else we believe in. Money buys elections, which is why we middle class folks have fewer and fewer people to represent us in Congress. You would have been great. You would have cared. You would have listened without assaulting anyone.
In a democracy, we voters get what we deserve. We Montanans weren’t smart enough to deserve you, and many of us will pay the price for the heavy consequences.
Thank you for your sacrifice. We refuse to believe that our democracy will continue to be sold to the highest bidder when people like you are willing to put your good name on the line, your car on the road, and your core beliefs on display. Thank you both very much.
We appreciate what you did.
In deep gratitude,
Rusty and Pat Callbeck Harper