"Melinda Gopher, 44, an Ojibwe / Blackfeet from Missoula, Montana is seeking the State of Montana's sole Congressional seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. While many glass ceilings have been shattered; a Native American woman has yet to be elected to the U.S. Congress.
Gopher's running as a progressive Democrat and focusing her campaign on jobs. The current recession has hit Montana's communities hard, even though the state unemployment rate is not as critical as the overall national rate of 10%; it is deceiving. Montana does not count long term unemployed workers who have given up.
Melinda is a civil rights activist, and blogger. She is a Paralegal but decided to run for the U.S. House believing she can make a difference in the nation's capitol. Melinda Gopher believes the nation does not have to choose between cap and trade and carbon taxation as revenue raising; rather, clean energy must be pursued to create jobs no matter what.
Melinda supports the Employee Free Choice Act as a means for keeping American labor strong. She believes corporations have gone unchecked, and have had a negative impact in DC. This has led to the loss of jobs and outsourcing of jobs to artificially inflate corporate profit margins. Gopher believes exploiting labor forces in foreign countries is detrimental to the world economy in the long term. Loss of workers' rights has created unfair trade policies between the U.S., China, India to point to a few examples. Corporate exploitation and economic coercion do not create win/win partnerships: something Gopher wants to create.
Gopher supports overhauling the nation's ailing housing sector. She believes the low-income are mired in HUD programs of the past. Not enough of the nation's low and middle income people are building personal wealth equity--resulting in lost economic power and a declining tax base. She believes there must be revolutionary changes in the national housing policy that will reverse the housing crisis. She would enact laws ending financial apartheid in America, and ban policies mired in the FHA redlining legacy. She vows to "pick up where Bobby Kennedy left off" in ending American poverty.
Melinda is the spouse of a combat disabled veteran and cares about veteran issues. She believes the VA ratings system is broken, she currently supports the efforts of national veterans groups to work with Montana Senator Jon Tester to fix the system so that it works for veterans.
Melinda Gopher is a long time civil rights, tribal sovereignty, and environmental activist. She believes HUD has been a weak institutional home for civil rights and supports the creation of a cabinet level agency for civil rights. She believes state-by-state laws on gay marriage are the wrong approach and unjust. She believes the federal government must beef up the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Amendments to include sweeping protections for gays, lesbians, transsexuals and bisexuals.
Melinda Gopher points out, "the black codes are a disgraceful part of America's past. The state-by-state approach are the black codes for the LGBT community, why are we tolerating this inequality?" She believes to ensure an end to discrimination against gays and to provide for their full civil rights--will require federal intervention as was done in the 1960s civil rights movement.
Melinda Gopher has been a civil rights practitioner since her early 20s. She was the only Native American panelist in the 1994 National Fair Housing Summit and worked to enact fair housing protections in Montana. Melinda Gopher has worked in the public and private sector on fair housing.
She believes the nation needs another Fair Housing Summit to address the subprime crisis. She points out, "not enough is being done to ensure Americans keep their homes, and participate in the American dream of homeownership."
Melinda Gopher knows her candidacy is improbable; she believes her voice is needed to address the lack of effective Native American leadership in the state Democratic party. She believes the Native Americans advancing in the political party pipeline in the state are tokens and are placed in positions where they are politically neutered.
She is a vocal critic of Senator Max Baucus's mishandling of state tribal issues, his failure to address long term and chronic unemployment in the state's seven Indian reservations and urban areas. She has criticized the Senator over taking single payer off the table in health care reform. Melinda Gopher is likely to challenge Baucus in 2014 when he comes up for re-election."