Montana Politics

Rob Quist: Where He Stands on the Issues

Written by Nathan Kosted

From newly crowned Democratic Congressional Candidate Rob Quist.

“We can never be free until we lift all of humanity. We can’t exclude anyone. It has to be inclusive.”


Rob Quist will be an independent voice for Montana in the United States Congress. He believes that in Montana, you shouldn’t have to be a millionaire to hunt, fish and hike in our great outdoors, get a good education, or be able to support your family. As a small businessman, award-winning songwriter, and entrepreneur, Rob will fight to help hard-working Montana families get ahead, defend our public lands and stream access rights, and strengthen our public schools, not privatize them.


Growing up on a ranch north of Cut Bank, MT, where his family still lives, Rob’s parents instilled in him the values of rural Montana–the joy of hard work, the importance of family and caring for the community. Rob will bring those values with him to Washington, D.C. as Montana’s next congressman.

Rob graduated from Cut Bank High school as Student Body President and co-captain of the State Championship Class B basketball team and went on to play basketball for the University of Montana. At the University of Montana, he co-founded the Mission Mountain Wood Band and toured nationwide for 12 years, performing at colleges and concert venues across the country and charting original songs on Billboard’s top 100 songs. In 1979 he married Bonni Willows Quist. Rob and Bonni settled down on a horse ranch in Creston where they raised their children, Guthrie and Halladay.

Rob knows firsthand the challenges faced by Montana’s small business owners. He founded RQGN headquarters in Kalispell–a small business that provided employment for up to 15 Montanans at any given time.

Throughout his career, Rob has gotten to know Montanans of all stripes– from Libby to Ekalaka and everywhere in between. He is driven by the desire to improve the lives of everyday Montanans and make sure Montana remains a great place to live, work and raise a family.

Rob was appointed by two governors to serve three terms as a member of the Montana Arts Council. He also developed an anti-bullying seminar that he has performed for schools across the state. Rob was chosen by the Montana Department of Commerce as the state’s cultural ambassador and visited Japan several times in that capacity. He has also served as spokesman and fundraiser for the Montana Food Bank Network, where Bonni, Guthrie and Halladay have volunteered for years.

Throughout his career, Rob has remained dedicated to helping create healthy Native American communities and creating a message of cooperation between cultures, co-producing “Western Harmony” with Blackfeet writer and entertainer Jack Gladstone and later the “Odyssey West” program in conjunction with the Lewis and Clark Corp of Discovery bicentennial commemoration.

Rob continues to appear with his band Rob Quist and Great Northern as well as Mission Mountain Wood Band. Rob previously served on the board of the Montana Arts Council, working with the Office of Public Instruction on school programs. Bonni was a teacher in the Flathead school system for five years and served on the board of the Ravenwood Outdoor Learning Center promoting outdoor activities for Montana kids. Rob and Halladay were commissioned to write seven songs based on Native American Oral Traditions as part of the Indian Education For All program.



Born and raised on the Quist family ranch in Cut Bank, Rob learned that nothing gets done without hard work and commitment. In Congress he’ll fight for Montana families by working to invest in infrastructure and Montana’s manufacturing industry and reform the tax code so that it works for small business owners and rural communities.

Montana stands out among all other states when it comes to entrepreneurial spirit. Rob will work to bolster our thriving small businesses and hard-working families by investing in Montana’s universities, cutting unnecessary red tape and continuing to build up Montana’s high tech industry.

Public lands

Rob is a lifelong outdoorsman who opposes any attempts to transfer Montana’s public lands to private hands. He believes public lands are our state’s single greatest asset, and must be protected for future generations.

Farmers and Ranchers

As the son of a Montana rancher and dry land wheat farmer, Rob knows first-hand that agriculture is the backbone of our economy– with nearly 28,000 farms and ranches across the state. Rob will be a strong voice for ag in Washington, D.C, working to advance agriculture by investing in technology and product marketing, and scrutinizing trade agreements.

He will work across the aisle to ensure that American farmers and ranchers are getting paid competitive prices in every trade agreement.

Tax Reform

As a small business owner and entrepreneur, Rob understands the burden of an unfair tax system that makes it harder for small business owners to thrive. He will make tax reform a priority, working to close tax loopholes for corporations that ship American jobs overseas and rewriting the tax code to support Montana’s small businesses, workers and families.

Social Security and Health Care

Rob stands with seniors and will protect Social Security and Medicare. Seniors have worked hard and paid into these systems for their entire lives– and should never have to worry about losing these crucial programs.


Rob supports an energy plan made for Montana and written by Montanans. He understands the importance of developing a comprehensive energy plan that utilizes Montana’s natural resources while exploring new energy technologies that will put Montana on the cutting edge and serve the needs of all Montanans.

Timber Industry

Rob will fight for the development of and investment in Montana’s timber industry to preserve timber jobs. He will explore innovative ideas to harvest beetle kill areas and use those resources to help improve infrastructure projects in our communities.


The sacrifice made by our veterans can never be fully repaid. Rob will demand that veterans receive access to quality and efficient health care.

Veterans face cumbersome red tape as they transition back to the workforce– and Rob will work to streamline the job process for veterans and incentivize businesses to hire veterans.


It is unacceptable that students who come out of college face crippling debt and high interest loans, which take decades to repay. Rob will fight for Montana’s students and working families who face challenges due to high tuition costs.

He supports legislation that will streamline the student loan process and cap interest rates for student loans at a maximum of 3%. Rob will work to expand dual enrollment that will allow high school students to receive college credit, and will work to create more opportunity for students to receive loan forgiveness after serving in AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps.

Public Education

Rob believes public education is the bedrock of investing in our children’s future. His wife, Bonni, worked five years as an English teacher in Kalispell where teachers’ starting pay is lower than most school systems in the nation.

Rob opposes any legislation that attempts to take away funding from our public schools in order to direct it toward private schools. He will fight to expand investment in Montana’s public schools and teachers.

Women’s Choice

Rob believes women should have the right and freedom to make their own healthcare decisions without government intrusion. He stands against the defunding of Planned Parenthood, which provides vital health care services to thousands of Montana women.

Equal Pay for Equal Work

Rob supports equal pay for equal work. He will work to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and support initiatives that close the wage gap.

Freedom to Marry and Non-discrimination

Rob Quist believes the government should not be involved in people’s personal lives, and that everyone has a right to love and marry whoever they choose.

Native American Rights

Growing up near an Indian reservation, Rob understands the importance of working with Montana’s Tribes. He believes in Tribal Sovereignty and the right of self-determination for all Native Peoples.

Citizens United

Rob believes there is too much money in politics and supports an amendment to overturn Citizens United. He believes, like the majority of Montanans, that corporations are not people and should not be allowed to influence our elections.

The Arts

Rob supports preserving the arts in our education system and supports artists and musicians, who have chosen the creative path in the world.

“Stand with me Montana and I will stand up for you.”


About the author

Nathan Kosted


  • Russian continues its efforts to destabilize Afghanistan, and to interrupt the United States efforts there.

  • 10,000 women show up in Helena and whom do the dems nominate, Rob Quist?! So, we will have a successful business man running against a successful “singer”??? A billionaire v. a cowboy hat? It’s game over. Hell, even I have to admit who’s more qualified! Accomplisment v. wishful thinking.Time to send a message to the leadership and vote your conscience. Write in the candidate of your chioce. I will.

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. But we ain’t THAT desperate! Last time I was this mad is when the MEA endorsed racicot over Chet Blaylock.

    • Then pick up your toys and go home. I would have liked Curtis, but it didn’t happen. I’ll fight for Quist because he’s a far sight better than anyone getting selected Monday. And he’ll possibly forward well outside western Montana which helps.

      • Really? Guess we’ll have to wait and see how this thing shakes out. Again, I will vote my conscience, for I just don’t believe that 90 unaccountable party hacks get to select MY candidate for me, especially when we finally get a once in a Montana lifetime candidate like Amanda Curtis. It’s age vs. beauty, talent brains, guts, determination and experience. That’s all. I’m done compromising with the party hacks, for THEY are responsible for the dismal state of affairs in Montana. No guts no glory, no nuts, end of story!

        • She wasn’t right for that position Larry – and if you think about it you’ll know it too. She ran for this seat before, and lost – faring no better than the other women before her the Dems put up. Sure she had a short time to campaign, but this time is no different. 9 weeks before the mail in ballots go out.

          If Gianforte has the 140 votes in his pocket, and already $900k in the bank, he will be tough to beat.

          As a Republican, I wasn’t kidding, I was hoping for Curtis.

          Have you considered ‘Dem-exiting’ yet?

          The Dems are becoming a nearly extinct, permanent minority in Montana, why not come over to the true party of the people, the GOP? Even Ronald Reagan was a Dem once.

        • Still crushing on Amanda I see, just a little creepy coming from such an old guy. Seems to me you were fine with the party hacks picking her in 2014, but now you are not. She would not have gotten 42% of the vote, just what we need another candidate that has no chance whatsoever of winning, Quist gives us that chance, suck it up Buttercup, but then I see you voting for Gianforte out of spite.

          • Crush on Amnada? Nah. I have a crush on democracy, PURO democracia. Ever heard of it? Goes like this.

            Montana has a unique opportunity to show the world how it’s done. It’s a mail in ballot. No hassles. Everyone gets a chance to vote, not just the backus party hacks or chrissto fundies on the pubby side. We open this sucker wide open!, repbublican and democrat alike, all canidates in the mix! A free for all for the good of democracy! THEN, we’ll get the person Montana REALLY wants and can support. No complaining allowed. Fair and square. The people have spoken!

            What’s wrong with that? It would work for both parties! Is your boy Robby too much of a snowflake to play in the big leauges?

            It’s what I plan to do, and I hope my republican friends do the same. If they think about it, I’m sure they will. For no one likes being told how to vote. Time for Montana to lead the way. Let’s roll! It’s the Montana way!

        • If you had been active in your local Dem party, you could have been a “hack” too. As one who ended up being a Delegate I know

          • It’s a long process to get involved to the point where you can be a voting delegate. And some people don’t even have a local party in their county. If Rob is going to win he needs the support of all Dems and progressives, not just those who joined their local central committee far enough in advance.

            • Not so long, my State Committee Women had to be out of Town, so I was selected. Its the County Chair, Vice Chair, Committee man and women who vote in the State Convention. In a County with a small Party it can be done. You just have to SHOW up

        • The Green Party offers a local, life long trades man and carpenter who was insistent throughout the nomination process at our recent Green Party convention, that we either have woman representation as a our leadership or a Indigenous Tribal 1st Nations candidate. Only after incredible encouragement and endorsement for his already dedicated involvement in politics, did Thomas Breck step up to the position and promise to work hard for us Montanan’s and is committed to accomplishing this without a single corporate bank or entity flooding money into his campaign. Neither Quist nor Gianforte can promise that no out of state money will influence their vote.
          Remember folks that the Democrats are as corporately bought and paid for as the Republicans, they just purport to care more. I see little reflection of these promises reflecting in the more than 10 federally recognized Indigenous 1st Nations existing currently in Montana. The Green Party embraces powerful tribal leadership within its strategy committee and leadership and Thomas Breck defers directly to Tribal Leadership within the Green Party as Allies and not as experts on what Tribes need. This is a huge difference for a lot of Montana’s Indigenous 1st Nations people and a chance for Montana to reclaim our votes, our politics and our state back from the clutches of the Fossil Fuel Industry.
          Please… for anyone who refuses to vote currently as a result of the corruption that has widely dis-empowered our voices, consider 1st the Green Party to not voting. We know there are legions of none voters out there because we speak with them everyday. Hope is rising and the Green PArty is targeting local elections, of Judges, Mayoral candidates and more. As citizens we are simply tired of a (2) Party System that repeatedly fails to serve the need and wants of Montana’s people.

      • Quist is standing for murder!!!! Of unborn. He wants you to register your guns!
        Then he will sing you a song. Oh yeah!!

        • Quist wants to limit the sale of fully-automatic weapons. That is a good call. Don’the be paranoid. Remember when people were sure Obama was coming for their guns?

    • You obviously need to learn more about Quist. He is way more than a singer, and he is just as much a businessman as rich boy Greg. He supports Montana standards and is beholding to no one. One has to wonder why super PACS are supporting Greg. What will he owe them? We saw what Daines did to repay DeVos.

  • The Republican leaders know what we do not yet know. How many registered voters reside in Counties where Democratic leaders Voted for Quist, Curtis and McCarthy. And they know why McCarthy Counties switched to Quist on final Ballot.
    And they know who polls best against Rob Quist. Greg Gianforte or Senator Ed Buttrey.
    And they know their threat of a dirty campaign against Curtis, tipped the Democratic County Votes in favor of Rob Quist on the Special Election Ballot.

  • Bummer – As a Republican I was hoping for Amanda Curtis, a younger version of Hillary with an MSSA / NRA ‘F’ grade.

    Now we just gotta see who the GOP picks tomorrow.

  • I’se got a nickle, you’se got a dime…
    You buy the coke and I’ll buy the wine.
    Ho, ho, honey take a whiff on me.

  • I have listened to Rob Quist and his Mission Mountain Wood Band and they are great. I just read through his political talking points and agree with his positions. I believe that he would be an excellent Congressional Representative for the State of Montana. I wish I could have attended our new Cabinet Mountain Brewery where he recently exchanged ideas with local residents of Libby, MT. ~ I don’t see the other wealthy congressional wannabes coming to my neck of the woods to discuss political positions. My vote is to support Rob Quist!!

  • Hopefully Rob Quist can be pushed to add more populist planks to his platform. Free public college tuition, opposing a national sales tax, card check for unions, lowering drug costs through legal importation, universal free school lunch and breakfast and a national $15 minimum wage, for example, would all go well with what he is already advocating and could go a long ways to winning over Amanda Curtis supporters.

    • I believe that by next week, almost all of the supporters of the also-rans will embrace Quist’s candidacy and start working for a Democratic victory. The salient distinction is not how Quist differed from Curtis or the other Democrats seeking the nomination, but how Quist differs from the Republican candidate — and that difference will be as stark as the contrast between high noon and midnight. In the meantime, I’m cutting some slack to those who are disappointed, even despondent, that their candidate didn’t win. I’ve been in their position, and I know it sometimes takes a few days for the steam to cool.

  • Gun ownership

    “I come from a ranching-farming tradition where guns are not only a way of life, but it’s something every young man goes through. We learn how to operate weapons in a safe manor and with respect. We learn that bringing meat home is a time-honored tradition,” he said.

    But he believes that efforts to increase public safety are being derailed by gun manufacturers, questioning the need to own assault rifles.

    “They’re only meant to kill people,” he said. “So maybe there should be some legislation to register those types of things. You register your car to drive, why not register guns.”

    This was from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle – doesn’t Quist know who his constituency is? This is gun country, and we (Montanans) own lots of sporting rifles. Dumb Dumb Dumb !

    • At times it seems Jon Tester is the only Democrat that understands this. I cut him a whole bunch of slack on the vote to allow mentally impaired people the ability to own firearms, why, because it would have passed either way and a no vote would have just been twisted around to make it sound like he is in favor of gun control. These type of votes are a set up for republicans to nail rural Democrats, why do you think Hillary did so poorly in Montana. She spent the entire primary season talking about how she wanted Australian style gun confiscation and in the process lost a whole bunch of votes. Just for the record 20,000 more Montanans voted for Governor than did for President and I would bet a huge majority of them voted for Bullock. Rob just stay away from the gun issue, it can only hurt you.

  • Hi. I am a total newb to this, and to MT politics in general. And, I, um … from Rob Bishop’s District – UT 1 – you know – the guy who wants to sell off public land? Yep, that dumbass. So if someone can cut thru the back and forth – does Quist have a chance? Look – ANY democrat is one fewer for the trump-putin-pence-ryan-mcconnell politics. He needs – like 200,000 votes to win ? Can someone point me to some details? Can he run an “aw shucks Its too bad that the Repubs want to elect a big money guy and want to spend all that money to insult us montanans” campaign?

    • Yes, mylonite, Quist has a very good chance. High name recognition, no baggage from holding a previous office and his opponent just lost the gubernatorial race.

      • Pete – now that the election season is here, it’s shaping up like a ‘Rob-who?’ election, which will probably be a 49-39-5 Gianforte victory.

        When he came to Billings, I saw the picture in the paper and I could put a name to almost every face because they are the same crew that shows up to the obscure Dem functions and lib causes.

        BUT – maybe the Dems (the party of the rich) will get off their wallets, but coming from behind isn’t something they have done well lately.

        • Eric, you don’t get it. The Dems are SO much into diversity that the entire Rob Hoo campaign is starting to resemble a Chinese fire drill, for that is exctly what it has become! Only the Dems could sucessfully snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in such a manner. Always looking for a Hail Mary pass is NOT a winning strategy!

    • Rob has a lot more drive that I realized before reading this front page article in the Missoulian. Think it thru like he did. He knows far better than me what kind of campaign would be mounted against his name and image.
      Enough of casually evaluatinge him from distant, sketchy data.

      Time for the Quist campaign to flip from stealth to activism.

      Mail in Ballots go out April 25.

  • Where does he stand on Climate change and the Keystone XL pipeline.? That’s kind of all that really matters.

    • All that matters to you, perhaps, but not all that matters to people who depend on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, food stamps, and a host of other environmental and social issues.

  • Planned Parenthood is unnecessary and quite frankly, is almost like double dipping Medicaid. Abortions aside, the other services they claim to provide are also available through private practices. I’m pro-life, except in cases of rape and incest. I believe in personal responsibility.

    Rob’s mention of tolerance to Muslims is irrelevant if they aren’t tolerant of us, which is heavily debatable right now, not only in our own backyard, but all over the world. The fact that he doesn’t support the travel ban scares the hell out of me. We have to figure out the scope of what we’re dealing with and slow the flow for a while as we figure that out. Its the smart thing to do, placing the safety of Americans first, which is our governments #1 job. Period.

    Teachers should be paid according to how well their students perform and parents should get to decide where their children go to learn, not via “district” guidelines and how close student live to the school.

    Someone has to pay for student debt forgiveness. If the students aren’t required to pay back the loans, it will be shifted in some way back on taxpayers and that’s not acceptable. I didn’t want to pay for myself to go to college, why would I want to pay for someone else’s college education?

    I’m blessed to have state employee health coverage, so I don’t have to deal with ACA penalties and individual mandates, but dear gawd, what a mess. We’re better off going back to how it was before with medical underwriting, optional preventive care, pre-x exclusions, supplemental Aflac type plans and wellness program incentives for people who actually care about being healthy. And for goodness sake, someone do something about BIG PHARMA if anything….personal accountability.

    Harsh, I know. #sorrynotsorry

  • I just listened to Rob Quist in Whitefish and was impressed…I am a veteran and he pledged to support Veterans health care and issues critical to returning veterans.

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