Brian Schweitzer

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Montana GOP’s long civil war could finally be at an end


For the better part of the past decade, Montana Republicans have enjoyed comfortable majorities in the state Legislature. Despite those majorities (or maybe because of them), GOP caucuses in the House and Senate have spent much of the past 10 years engaged in a bitter, and oftentimes very public, intra-party feud. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Last special session in Montana was 10 years ago


HELENA—This will be the 33rd special legislative session in Montana history and the first called by Gov. Steve Bullock, who took office in 2013. The most recent special session was a one-day session in September 2007, called by Gov. Brian Schweitzer to replenish the state’s wildfire firefighting fund. Among the tasks of the session next week is to restore money to the firefighting fund. (See related story.) (more…) Continue Reading →

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The irony of the Real ID


Like the footfalls of a villain in a thriller movie, Montana’s Real ID imbroglio comes ever closer … and ever more ominous. Another footfall, closer and more ominous than the earlier ones, was heard on Jan. 5 when Washington declared that “Montana is not in compliance with the Real ID Act and Federal agencies will not accept driver’s licenses” issued by Helena. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Montana government’s mythical spending spree

Two prominent Republican legislators published an op-ed in Wednesday’s Billings Gazette calling for an end to “irresponsible spending” in Helena. House Speaker Austin Knudsen, R-Culbertson, and House Majority Leader Ron Ehli, R-Hamilton, say they want to be “a check on the governor’s spending and expanding government.” They also say that Montana faces a tight budget this year because of falling prices for oil and agricultural commodities and a “non-existent timber industry.”

Because of “poor management and excessive regulations,” they say, revenues are too low to meet basic costs. They don’t explain how poor management and regulations made oil and food cheaper, and they don’t explain how a nonexistent timber industry managed to bring in $296 million in labor income in Montana as recently as 2013. They do say that state government has added “well over 1,000 new state employees” in the last 12 years. Why 12 years? Continue Reading →

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Schweitzer: Values unite us, issues divide

The guv

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer showed up on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning to talk about prospects for the Democratic Party. Schweitzer’s name has been tossed around as a possible Democratic candidate to replace Ryan Zinke in the U.S. House of Representatives if Zinke is confirmed as President Trump’s secretary of the Interior. The speculation hasn’t come from Schweitzer, who has kept quiet about his political prospects since early talk about a run for president ended with a couple of ill-considered remarks to the National Journal in 2014. Given how the 2016 race played out, those remarks seem almost comically innocent. But Schweitzer publicly apologized and talk of his candidacy dried up. Continue Reading →

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Opinion: Law prof’s moonlighting a disqualifier for high court


Professors are not just employees of the institutions they serve, they are ambassadors. Rightly or wrongly, their conduct reflects on our Montana universities as a whole. According to the American Association of College Professors’ Statement of Professional Ethics, “Professors must give due regard to their paramount responsibilities within their institution in determining the amount and character of work done outside it. Professors need to stay away from employment outside the university that creates the appearance of a conflict of interest or otherwise negatively affects the university.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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Schweitzer in new media world: easy to be cruel

The guv

New York magazine has an infernally long but rewarding story about everything wrong with the media today. Based on interviews with more than 40 journalists, the article gives 53 reasons, with examples, of how the media screw up. If you are insufficiently depressed, it’s worth a look. Even if you aren’t, you might take a moment to skip down to No. 29, under the heading “Whoever the subject, the press can be cruel.” Marin Cogan describes traveling to Montana to interview former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, then a bit of a national media darling with possible presidential aspirations. Continue Reading →

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Consumers hold key to energy future, Schweitzer says

The guv

RED LODGE — “It’s about the batteries, stupid.” Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said he thought of using that phrase—which occurred to him the first time he drove an all-electric Tesla car—as the title for the book he published last year. (more…) Continue Reading →

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In the face of failure, Meth Project touts ‘success’


Nine years after the Montana Meth Project was founded, nine years after millions of dollars were spent to saturate the state with horrifying images (and to enrich countless publishers, TV executives, billboard companies, etc.), meth use is said to be making a huge comback in Montana and is the No. 1 public safety threat in Billings. What can we do? “We need to expand this ‘Not Even Once’ message,” said Montana Meth Project Executive Director Amy Rue, referring to the group campaign targeted at teens. “We need to extend the message to adults.”

I don’t know if the Montana Meth Project is entirely privately funded these days, but if it isn’t my own slogan would be “Not Even One Dime in Public Money.” Continue Reading →

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