MTN Politics


Kyle Austin, Republican candidate for Montana's eastern U.S. House seat

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Posted at 9:00 PM, May 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-02 13:15:42-04

BILLINGS — Pharm406 pharmacy owner Kyle Austin is stepping onto the political field once again to vie for the open eastern congressional district seat. He says he’ll operate differently than current HD2 Representative Matt Rosendale.

“I’m not a fan of Matt Rosendale. That’s kind of why I wanted to run against him in the first place,” Austin said.

Austin lost to Rosendale in the 2022 eastern district republican primary.

“He’s a transplant. He wasn’t born and raised here, he doesn’t have Montana values, he was always in D.C., he wasn’t a leader. I kind of feel like he was asleep at the wheel,” Austin said.

(Watch: MTN's profile of Kyle Austin)

Kyle Austin, Republican candidate for Montana's eastern U.S. House seat

Austin is originally from Havre, opened Pharm406 in Billings during the pandemic. He says he will lean on his experience farming in Havre to tackle what he believes will be one of the first challenges for the next representative.

“The farm bill is huge. Congress has a very big impact on the farm bill. The last congressional representatives failed to do a new farm bill. That’s going to be a big challenge for whoever is elected,” he said.

He wants to bring new business to the state to boost the economy and offset the property tax burden on homeowners.

“As a congressman, I would like to bring a fertilizer plant up in the Sidney area, eastern Montana, where we can start making our own fertilizer for the farmers. We’re going to create that economic stability, create the jobs,” he said.

Austin also proposes increasing gaming and entertainment opportunities in certain cities and placing toll booths at the state border.

“Anybody that is not a state resident coming into our state that has an impact on our economy here, they pay a toll fee to enjoy our state parks and our culture here,” Austin said.

He says when it comes to reproductive rights, he doesn’t want to see abortion used as a form of birth control, but that it should be available in some circumstances.

“There should be some guidance from the federal level that prevents one extreme to the other. Should abortion be illegal in some circumstances, yes. Now, the state should create the criteria on who, when, where, and like I mentioned create that database so people can be tracked and criminalized, if necessary,” he said.

Austin is one of eight Republicans, and 12 candidates overall, running for the eastern district House seat. You can find interviews with all of them here.