Cascade County Commission Race, District #3. Where facts are no match for fear!
The Cascade County Commission race between Don Ryan (Democrat) and Rae Grulkowski (Republican) is the only contested commission race this cycle in our county. Who are these people?
Commissioner Don Ryan was appointed in early 2021, after the retirement of Jane Weber. Don Ryan previously served in the Montana Senate for two terms and was elected four times for the Great Falls School Board. Ryan has been serving on the Cascade County Commission without any newsworthy problems. His website provides a long list of accomplishments during his tenure as commissioner…but what about his opponent Rae Grulkowski?
You might recognize the name from Grulkowski’s disinformation campaign against the National Heritage Area (NHA) effort in Central Montana. Based on conspiracy theory-filled information she gleaned from the internet, Grulkowski decided to fight the proposed heritage area in 2020. Her dishonest efforts were notable enough to make the national news, starting when she spent $1,300 to send out packets full of lies to hundreds of voters. According to the New York Times, Grulkowski told the voters that “the designation would forbid landowners to build sheds, drill wells or use fertilizers and pesticides. It would alter water rights, give tourists access to private property, create a new taxation district and prohibit new septic systems and burials on private land, she said. None of this was true [emphasis added].”
As noted in the article, Grulkowski did not identify a single instance of a property owner’s being adversely affected by a heritage area. What she is worried about is not anything specific, but “wide open things that could happened.” National Heritage Areas have been around since the 1980s. I guess nearly 40 years is not enough precedent for Grulkowski.
Emboldened by her success in spreading lies and conspiracy theories, she is now running for our county commission!
Aside from her lies on the NHA, what else can we expect from Grulkowski?
Luckily, the New York Times article provides a nice summary of her stated beliefs for us:
“Outside of a poultry coop, as her chickens and ducks squawked, Ms. Grulkowski ticked through the falsehoods she had read online and accepted as truths in the past year: The Covid vaccine is more dangerous than the coronavirus. Global child-trafficking rings control the political system. Black Lives Matter was responsible for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The United Nations is plotting to control world population and seize private land. Mr. Trump was the rightful winner of last year’s election. Even in Cascade County, where Mr. Trump won 59 percent of the vote, Ms. Grulkowski argued that 3,000 illegal votes were cast.”
One of the greatest hits on her public Facebook posts is spreading the “Big Lie” about election integrity. In one example, Grulkowski wants us to “write to the Secretary of State, Legislators, and Congressman to encourage them to investigate Montana’s 2020 election.” What information is Grulkowski looking for? Does she think the elected Republicans she is asking people to write to were illegitimately elected? Did Trump not get 56.9% of the vote in Montana in 2020? Were Democrats robbed of their seats?
It really makes a person wonder. What kind of detachment from reality can we expect next if she is elected?