HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Several debates have been set between the major candidates for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. Democratic House candidate John Lewis also introduced a plan this week he says will support women and families, while Democratic Senate candidate Amanda Curtis filed her personal financial statement.
Here's a look at the week's most interesting and important developments in Montana's election campaigns.
LEWIS UNVEILS PLAN FOR WOMEN AND FAMILIES
Lewis said he has formed an advisory group of Montana women. He said he supports the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Women's Small Business Procurement Parity Act, which would increase the number of women-owned small businesses eligible for federal contracting. He also supports legislation that would prevent companies from interfering in women's health care choices.
Lewis said he would encourage but not mandate flexible work schedules for parents and create incentives for guaranteed paid maternity leave. He also would like to discuss implementing a universal preschool program and supports the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, which provides for services such as Meals on Wheels, elder abuse prevention and support of family caregivers.
Republican opponent Ryan Zinke said he supports improving accessibility and accessible health care for all Montanans. He said the Affordable Care Act should be abandoned in favor of looking for ways to make health care and health insurance more affordable.
Zinke also said he supports equal pay for equal work, and that wages and job opportunities for women need to be improved.
CURTIS RELEASES PERSONAL FINANCE INFORMATION
Curtis released her personal financial statement this week. She reported personal assets worth between $15,001 and $50,000 in a retirement savings plan. She listed liabilities from $50,000 to $100,000 for a home mortgage and between $15,001 and $50,000 in student loans.
Her Republican opponent Steve Daines previously listed his personal assets, which are worth between $8.9 million and $32.7 million.
A one-hour debate between Curtis and Daines has been set for 6 p.m. Oct. 20 at Montana State University Billings' Petro Theater. It is scheduled to be broadcast by Montana Television Network stations and Yellowstone Public Radio.
Both candidates also have confirmed a second debate will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 in Sidney, which also will air live on television and radio.
Lewis and Zinke have agreed to an Oct. 4 debate in Bozeman. The debate is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. and will be aired on MTN stations. A forum with Lewis only will be held in Billings on Sept. 29 after Zinke said he will not participate.
A Montana Supreme Court candidate forum will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 23 at the University of Montana School of Law in Missoula.
FIRST GENERAL ELECTION BALLOTS MAILED
Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch said the first round of absentee ballots have been mailed for the 2014 General Election. County election offices have mailed ballots to voters deployed overseas in the military and to citizens who are out of the country. Voters have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to return their ballots.