What Does Candidate Ronalee Skees Not Understand About Individual Liberty?
I have been accused of being a “hater” or part of a “hate group,” because I have written and spoken truthfully and critically about Ronalee Skees, candidate for House District 11, and why I think she is unqualified to be my representative. The truth of the matter is that this is not a personal vendetta. This is about telling the truth and the subject of my writing is up in arms about that. Mrs. Skees, and her husband, Derek Skees, have actively done their best to gaslight, bully, troll on social media, and do anything to discredit critical review of her record and what she stands for.
Mr. Skees is currently my representative in HD 11 and, as I have said numerous times, I have been grateful to have him as my representative. His voting record overall and his stance during the COVID debacle were solid. He truly stood for liberty and against tyranny. Prior to his outbursts, name-calling and throwing good citizens under the bus in defense of his wife’s actions, I would not have hesitated to vote for him again if he were eligible to run for re-election as my representative.
However, Mrs. Skees, now running to replace her termed out husband, did exactly the opposite in response to the COVID hysteria. This leads me to question how Mr. Skees can defend his wife’s actions and still claim that he stands for the principles of individual liberty. Mr. Skees stated that Governor Bullock’s orders, announced a day after his wife’s actions to close restaurants, bars, and gyms, retroactively excused Mrs. Skee’s votes. All while Mr. Skees, himself, was thumbing his nose at the Governor as a member of the legislature. One cannot have it both ways.
Beyond passive acquiescence in her role in shutting down businesses in the name of COVID on the health board, Mrs. Skees went even further by actively opposing concerned citizens who were peacefully protesting and attempting to calmly educate parents at the COVID vaccine clinic that was held at the Flathead County Fairgrounds on December 1, 2020.
As a medical professional myself, the “informed consent” presented to parents by the Flathead Health Department’s vaccine clinic was completely inadequate and was anything but fully-informed consent. The most egregious statement on the Health Department’s Registration and Administration form being, “No vaccination information sheet will be available for this vaccine until after the vaccine has gone through full licensure.” Is that the medical equivalent of closing the barn door after the horse escapes?
The concerned citizens peacefully present at the clinic handed out a fact sheet that had well-researched and truthful information, giving parents the data they needed to make a well-informed decision. The citizens I interviewed said that while some parents clearly were uninterested or even hostile to the fact sheets, several others received them gratefully and thanked the concerned citizens for the information.
According to witnesses present, Flathead County Commissioner Brad Abell, City Councilman (and incoming Flathead County Fair manager) Sam Nunnally and outgoing fair manager Mark Campbell all responded to calls from Mrs. Skees, who was at the clinic, shortly after the concerned citizens and peaceful protestors arrived outside the vaccine clinic. These public officials claimed they were “protecting the Constitutional rights of the parents bringing in their children,” while seemingly ignoring the Constitutional rights of the peaceful protestors and concerned citizens.
According to all witnesses interviewed, outgoing fair manager Campbell was particularly adamant that the citizens could be removed for trespassing, which was incorrect and would have been a violation of their First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly. After one citizen was told that the fairgrounds were under Kalispell Police Department jurisdiction, the citizen contacted the KPD to obtain a clear answer on whether they would be allowed to proceed. When a KPD officer responded to the call, he reportedly said that he could not remove the citizen group as long as they were peaceful and were not blocking walkways or the function of the clinic.
I interviewed two citizens present, who stated that they spoke with Mr. Abell, Mr. Nunnally and Mrs. Skees and expressed their concerns that parents were not being given truly informed consent. As a member of the health board, Mrs. Skees, in particular, should have been attentive to these concerns. The citizens reported that rather than sharing the concern for the safety of the children being vaccinated at the clinic, both Nunnally and Skees were worried that because the protestors and citizens were allowed to protest and hand out fact sheets at the clinic, “liberals” would now be free to do the same thing for upcoming Republican events that were to be held at the fairgrounds.
Abell, Nunnally and Skees all had to swear oaths to the Constitution upon assuming their roles on the county commission, city council and health board. The sworn oaths are public record. Yet they are seemingly ignorant about the First Amendment and what it really means. The First Amendment does not protect only speech that one likes or agrees with. It protects speech one might even find offensive. If these Republicans cannot handle a few peaceful protestors and concerned citizens, then what is it that they stand for exactly? It boggles the mind how politicians can quote the Constitution all day long yet demonstrate their ignorance of it when it truly counts.
Ronalee Skees has not proven in any substantive way that she really understands or even stands for the Constitution and for liberty. We have very trying times ahead of us and the next legislative session could prove to be the fight for our very lives. Based on her conduct, votes, and her inability to stand for liberty during trying times over the past two years, I have no confidence that Mrs. Skees will do any better with future crises.
Past behavior is typically indicative of future behavior. We in HD 11 need a representative in Helena who truly understands liberty and the Constitution and is willing to fight for it whether it is popular or not.