Tuesday, November 4, 2008

HOUSE DISTRICT 96: Teresa Henry wins third term



Experience and her drive for better health care is what Teresa Henry said won her a third term in the state House of Representatives.

In House District 96, Henry, a Democrat, won with 57 percent, 2,042 votes, in Tuesday’s election. Her opponent, Steve Eschenbacher, received 42 percent, 1,507 votes.

“I am the best candidate to represent House District 96,” said Henry. “I was so supported by my friends. I had support that I didn’t even know about.”

She said her knowledge as the incumbent won the race for her.

Henry plans to reintroduce and sponsor the Creative Responsible Sexual Health bill. It would create a sexual-education program to teach the health benefits of contraception, encourage family communication, teach skills for making responsible sexual decisions and promote healthy life skills such as setting long-term goals. The program would be age appropriate and medically accurate.

She also plans on sponsoring a prescription-drug-monitoring program, which would keep a database of anyone who takes prescription narcotics. Henry said she hoped that the database would be helpful in decreasing the number of deaths caused by narcotic overdoses each year.

The legislature had passed five of the eight bills Henry sponsored in her first two terms.

Though Eschenbacher, who ran as a Republican, did not win, he is “the happiest son of a bitch in the world,” he said.

“I lost because the Republican brand is tarnished, not because of my stance on the issues.”

Eschenbacher’s campaign advocated reforming health care. He also saw other issues that needed attention, including Montana’s handling of the mentally ill.

Montana’s system for handling the mentally ill is inadequate, he said. Because there is no insanity defense in Montana, Eschenbacher feels the mentally ill are unnecessarily criminalized, and because there is no facility for treating the mentally ill in Hamilton or Missoula, they are underserved in this part of the state.

Eschenbacher will not be involved in future Missoula politics because he is moving out of the county because of employment.

“Tonight we mourn; tomorrow we go back to work,” said Eschenbacher.

For Henry, that means another two years of work as House Representative of District 96.

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