I-181 will serve hundreds of thousands of Montanans

By: 
Submitted by supporters of I-181

All Montanans are touched by mental illness and brain diseases and disorders. We all have relatives and friends who suffer from addiction disorders, depression, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and the scourge of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – to name just a few. The fact that one in four Montanans suffers from a brain disease, brain disorder or mental illness should be unacceptable to us all. We have a responsibility to remain constant in our search for cures and effective treatments.
Because all Montanans are impacted by those who suffer, we strongly encourage all Montana voters to support I-181, the Montanans for Research and Cures Initiative, which would generate $200 million in funding for neurological research in Montana over the next decade. Volunteers and organizers have collected more than 39,000 signatures in support of I-181. While elections officials still need to verify the signatures, the total number of signatures submitted is far more than the 24,175 needed to allow Montana voters to decide on this critical initiative on General Election Day in November.
The I-181 initiative would establish the Montana Biomedical Research Authority to award grants “for the purpose of promoting the development of therapies and cures” for brain disorders and mental illness. An independent panel of doctors, scientists, nurses and advocates would then award these grants to non-profit organizations in Montana qualified to conduct research (out of state research institutions would not qualify).
Having already earned the support of both Republicans and Democrats as well as numerous doctors, scientists, hospitals and organizations, I-181 is gaining momentum. This initiative will bring to Montana world-class research, resulting in well-paying jobs. We will be able to provide more opportunities for our young people interested in science and medicine to stay in Montana and build on the exciting research already underway in Big Sky Country.
I-181 is also attentive to the future of Montana, preparing our state by addressing diseases and disorders often associated with our growing population of seniors and our large number of veterans. The research conducted through I-181 will be “made in Montana,” likely providing Montanans earlier access to new treatments and cures and possibly allowing them to participate in early clinical trials.
And instead of traveling long distances to specialized hospitals such as Mayo Clinic, Montanans suffering from brain diseases and disorders will have access to centers of excellence right here in Montana.
An investment of $20 million in funding per year for 10 years through general obligation bonds is a powerful commitment to the hundreds of thousands of Montanans –and their loved ones – who suffer from brain diseases and disorders and mental illness. The proceeds from the sale of these bonds, if appropriated by state legislative sessions, would be used to fund research grants to qualified Montana institutions. Bond interest rates are very low, so this is a good time for Montana taxpayers to make this investment.
This targeted research investment will help bring state of the art diagnostic and treatment techniques to Montana that will help reduce the enormous costs families and the state budget will face in caring for the increasing numbers of Montanans who will face the issues over the next 50 or 100 years.
We believe ensuring robust research for the sake of our children, grandchildren, our seniors and our veterans is both a responsibility and a Montana value. And we look forward to a Montana that honors all people through a sustained commitment to research and cures.
We invite you to learn more about I-181 and its exciting promise for Montana at montanacures.org.  

Randy Gray, Treasurer of Montanans Research and Cures, Great Falls; Alzheimer’s Association-Montana Chapter; Bob Brown, Former Republican Montana State Senator and Former Montana Secretary of State, Whitefish; Dr. Dennis Dietrich, MD- Neurologist, Great Falls; Monte Dolack, Missoula Artist; Pam Hillery, ALS Patient and Former City Council Member, City of Havre; Patty Mazurek, Alzheimer’s Advocate and wife of former Montana Attorney General Joe Mazurek; Montana Parkinson’s Foundation; NAMI Montana; National MS Society-Greater Northwest Chapter; Dr. Roger Williams, MD, Billings.

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