HELENA – Inside the Capitol building, a large group of people worried about potential budget cuts aired their concerns…families afraid that state services for the mentally and developmentally-disabled will be affected.
“A lot of my friends and community members rely on these services that are being cut so it’s definitely personal for me,” said Sarah Howell, Executive Director of Montana Women Vote.
On the second floor of the Capitol steps, like-minded people rallied together holding signs saying “If you care, be fair, raise revenue” and “Do your job Montana legislature so we can do ours”.
“We wanted to have this rally so that people’s voices were part of this budget decision-making process, share their personal stories stand in line to testify in front of the committee that’s exactly what we think should be happening,” said Howell.
Wife and mother of three, Justine Kougl, said her daughter Quinn has Treachers Collins Syndrome, and that her family uses state medical services to help provide for Quinn.
“We are a rural ranching family with three children, just my husband and I, and these cuts come down to the wire for us, it’s very heart-warming and good to know that there are other people like us out there,” said Kougl.
Like Kougl, Glen Port shared his story with lawmakers.
“I wouldn’t be alive right now if I didn’t have my benefits and proper funding,” said Port. “Just work with us best as possible, realize that the most fragile of us can’t be here today,y cut us some slack, not the budget.”
Port and Kougl both told MTN News they hope their personal stories will get the attention of the Legislature.