A group of about 20 moms and their kids – a stroller brigade – strolled along the street between Missoula’s Public Library and Montana Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus’ Missoula offices earlier today.

Stroller brigadeHere’s why: They were showing their support for strong federal clean air protections, and wanted to thank the senators for their support of stronger Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

The full news release on the event is available below.

But as they say: Wait, there’s more!

Montana Women Vote is also encouraging folks to thank their favorite state politicians now that the 2011 legislative session has come to a close.

“As this challenging Montana legislative session has come to an end, we can all be grateful to the brave and tireless legislators who stood and advocated for issues important to women and families,” says the notice sent out by Montana Women Vote.

The note includes a link to a Mother’s Day card you can print out, write on and send to an elected official of your choice. It reads, “Thank you from all the mothers, fathers, children and grandchildren for your hard work for the future of Montana. Your mama would be proud.”

The folks at Montana Women Vote, thorough people that they are, also include handy links to a complete list of Montana legislator addresses, and a list of other statewide elected officials’ addresses.

If one of your favorite state legislators happens to be Missoula Democrat Carol Williams, the first female Senate Majority Leader in Montana history, then you will be delighted with this coming Sunday’s guest column. It’s also about certain congressional delegates and the Clean Air Act.

But, dear readers, I won’t make you wait to read the opinion piece by Williams, a mother of three and grandmother of three. Here’s a special sneak peek for your reading pleasure, following the news release about the stroller brigade.

Local Moms “Pushing” to Protect Children’s Health, Clean Air

Stroller Brigade in Missoula Aimed at Strong Clean Air Protections

(Missoula) – A stroller brigade of local moms and their children, along with other mothers whose children are in school, grandmothers and a few dads, filled the Missoula district offices of Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus to “push” the importance of protecting clean air and public health.  Clean air safeguards will protect children from asthma attacks, acute bronchitis and other respiratory diseases.

At the event, mothers thanked Senators Tester and Baucus for protecting clean air and encouraged their continued efforts to protect clean air.  They asked the Senators to support the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s efforts to update standards limiting toxic air pollutants such as mercury, arsenic and dioxin, as well as carbon dioxide pollution, without delay.  Mothers urged Senator Tester and Senator Baucus to encourage the EPA to move forward with the strongest safeguards possible under the Clean Air Act to protect the public, and particularly children, from toxic air pollution and carbon pollution.  Children are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of air pollution.

“As a mother, my child’s safety, today and as she grows older, is my top priority,” said Amy Cilimburg, mother of a Missoula fourth grader. “I applaud Senator Tester and Senator Baucus for their commitment to protecting our children’s health, and I hope they again stand up for kids across the country by supporting the EPA’s efforts to push for tougher air quality standards that will make the air we breathe cleaner and safer.”

Mothers at the event delivered over 100 Mothers Day cards from moms throughout Montana asking Senator Tester and Senator Baucus to support the EPA’s efforts to protect their and their children’s health.

In MT, there are over 21,000 children that have asthma and there were over 2,000 emergency room visits by asthmatic children last year.

###

A Mother’s Day Message of Hope

By CAROL WILLIAMS

Today is my 44th Mother’s Day, and as a mother, a grandmother and Senate minority leader, I’d like to share a message of hope for Montana’s children.

But before we get there, a dose of reality is needed.

For 88 days during the 62nd Legislature, we fought back a frontal assault on Montana’s environmental laws that will affect our children and families for generations. The conservative factions put the will of industry above the will of the voters, rolling back protections that safeguard our communities from unchecked out-of-state corporate profit.

Among other things, Republicans tried to undo the will of the voters and bring cyanide heap-leach mining back to Montana, they attacked our basic right to a clean and healthful environment by attempting to benefit corporations over people, and they tried to repeal our renewable energy standard, which has created hundreds of jobs and brought a new, clean industry to Montana. The list, sadly, goes on and on. Our children deserve much better.

And while it’s easy to look back at the Legislature and find disappointment, I choose to look forward and find hope for our children.

My hope comes in the leadership of Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who boldly stood up for Montana’s children by vetoing these horrible bills – and scores more that were unconstitutional, frivolous or just plain wrong for Montana.

However, while we defended our communities at home, Rep. Denny Rehberg has attacked Montana families from Washington, D.C. By voting to gut the Clean Air Act, he voted against healthy children, clean air and strong Montana communities.

My hope comes in the leadership of Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus, who stood up and fought to protect the Clean Air Act and preserve Montana’s healthy air for our children.

In Montana, mothers are blessed. Our children grow up in one of the most beautiful places on Earth where they can run and play – breathing in clean air. However, we cannot take these blessings for granted. Protections like the Clean Air Act are under constant attack, and as mothers we owe it to our children to fight those attacks on our healthy families and communities.

My generation has done what we can, and now it’s time to pass the baton. On this Mother’s Day, I urge children and grandchildren from across Montana to be stewards of our environment and continue our proud legacy of conservation so that their children and grandchildren can enjoy the same beautiful landscapes and clean, healthy air that my kids did.

As we move forward and build for tomorrow, I look ahead and hope.