Skip to main content
English | Español

L-11 president attends Obama State of Union

[+]Enlarge

L-11 PRESIDENT JASON SMALL, left, accompanies Montana Sen. Steve Daines to the 2016 State of the Union in Washington, D.C.

Jason Small recalls impression of Capitol event

JASON SMALL, PRESIDENT of Local 11 (East Helena, Mont.) enjoyed a bird’s eye view of one of the nation’s top political events when he attended the annual State of the Union (SOTU) at the U.S. Capitol January 13.

Small, who is politically active, especially on matters pertaining to the future of coal and opportunities for Native Americans (he is a member of the Northern Cheyenne Nation), attended the SOTU as a special guest of U.S. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana.

“I was actually out feeding my cows when I got a text from Senator Daines’ chief of staff, asking if I’d be interested in attending,” he recalled. “We live out in the boonies. I said, ‘Shoot, isn’t that next week?’”

Small had to rush to get his suit to the cleaners and make travel arrangements. On the appointed day, he met the senator for photos and a briefing and then rode the underground train from the Senate building to the Capitol.

“It was a grandiose event. I took my seat on the balcony,” says Small. “A lot of it was pretty neat.“

While Small enjoyed the experience, he says he is not a fan of President Obama’s energy policies, especially the Clean Power Plan, and in fact Small has testified against the plan at several EPA hearings.

Regarding Obama’s state of the union address, he says, “It was not good from our standpoint. He made it 100 percent apparent that we were going to get away from fossil fuels and everybody should get ready for it. He tried to make a humorous comment that it was asinine to think you can still work 30 years at the same place. You know, through the craft, you establish yourself in the middle class. You expect [the work and the benefits] to be there when you retire.”

Small says he met Daines, a Republican, when the senator, was a congressman, and over time the two developed a cooperative relationship. “He’s really pro-industry, pro-coal, pro-logging. Those are the things that matter up here.”

Small stresses that many Local 11 members rely on outage work at the 2,100-megawatt Colstrip power plant, located in the Montana city by that name. EPA regulations like the Clean Power Plan along with aggressive environmental activism threaten the continued operation of the four-unit facility, which employs more than 300 people full time. Utilities in Washington and Oregon are partial owners of the plant and sell Colstrip electricity to customers in those states. Both states are under political pressure to cut their ties with Colstrip. The state government in Oregon recently passed a bill to phase out electricity from all coal sources within the next 19 years. The state government in Washington is considering doing the same.

Tags  Local News
Locals  L-11
Reporter  V55N1
Published on the Web: April 19, 2016

Latest News

  • Derek and Joni Gusoskey

    Mortgage perks are plenty with Union Plus

    Read More

  • Pictured left to right: IP Newton B. Jones, L-92 BM-ST Oscar Davila, IVP Western States J. Tom Baca and MOST Administrator Mark Garrett.

    Top safety award goes to Local 92

    Read More

  • Locals award service pins

    Locals award service pins

    Read More

  •  L-D23’s Terris Deans, left, and Daniel Jones repair crane cables at the Cemex plant in Clinchfield, Georgia. Both Deans and Jones are in college through the plant’s college education program.

    L-D23 boosts education and safety at Cemex plant

    Read More

  • From l. to r., B&W’s Boilermaker superintendent Don Wallace, supervisor Eric Boggs, rigging engineer Steve Fox, construction manager Marty Crum, and L-744’s Steven Walters, foreman Stephen Ginley, Business Manager Martin Mahon and (kneeling) Gregory Pamer.

    Babcock & Wilcox asks L-744 members to install antique boiler

    Read More