Additional reading: Our one pager on the Montana Senate election.
As partisan squabbling threatens the very fiber of our democracy, few politicians seem able to get things done across party lines. But in a state that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, Governor Steve Bullock has nonetheless managed to make progressive change with widespread support, including from Trump supporters. That’s because Steve Bullock embodies the values that Montanans hold dear: integrity, responsibility, and a willingness to talk to people who disagree with him. He doesn’t let party division or outside influence get in the way of making decisions that are best for Montanans. But there’s no need to trust high-flying rhetoric with Steve Bullock because his long list of progressive accomplishments shows he knows how to set priorities and get things done.
While the Trump administration orchestrates the “largest reduction in protected public lands in history”, including opening pristine natural reserves to industrial oil drilling, Governor Bullock continues to fight all attempts to privatize and develop Montana’s public lands. Instead, he passed legislation to increase public accessibility and promote conservation. He also recognizes that the public’s ability to enjoy these beautiful places is contingent on rapid action to halt climate change. Under Bullock’s leadership, Montana joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emission by at least 26% below 2005 levels by 2025. In the Senate, he will fight for science-based solutions to our climate crisis.
Governor Bullock has fought to empower the voice of American people. It shouldn’t be a radical idea that elections ought to reflect the preferences of the people, not of corporations that throw money at candidates in exchange for favorable treatment. But thanks to Citizens United and unaccountable campaign finances, the power of the people’s voice is severely eroded. Governor Bullock has fought this wherever possible: as Attorney General, he was the first to take Citizens United to the Supreme Court. As Governor, he passed the most progressive campaign finance law in the country, the DISCLOSE Act, which protects Montana elections from being covertly influenced by large corporations and foreign money. Recognizing the threat that shady campaign finance poses to our democracy, Bullock pledged to continue the fight against this insidious form of corruption, culminating with the overturn of Citizens United.
Governor Bullock was a fierce advocate for public health and affordable healthcare long before the coronavirus pandemic struck. He gathered Republicans and Democrats to pass an expansion of Medicaid that brought affordable insurance to 90,000 more Montanans, expanded substance abuse treatment options to address the opioid crisis, and created suicide prevention programs for youth, veterans, and Native Americans. He also established the Office of American Indian Health and passed legislation aiming to address the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women. As Senator, he will fight to make healthcare more affordable for the vulnerable, including seniors, by taking on Big Pharma and ensuring that folks with pre-existing conditions can’t be discriminated against. And he will always, always fight for a woman’s right to choose what is best for her own body.
Steve Bullock believes that everyone should enjoy the fruits of American progress, but the farms and ranches that have been Montana’s way of life for generations are in trouble: between rising tuition rates and decreasing commodity prices, the burden of student debt is keeping many young Montanans from joining the family business. That’s why Governor Bullock created one of the few programs in the country that provides student loan assistance to young people who become farmers and ranchers. And unlike incumbent Steve Daines, he sees Trump’s trade war for what it is: an ego-fuelled power trip trampling the livelihoods of Montana farmers and ranchers. As senator, Bullock would fight for trade policies that fortify, rather than smother, Montana’s agricultural economy.
Steve has sought to eliminate the disparities between urban and rural communities at every turn during his tenure as governor. For decades, Montana’s rural areas were locked out of much of the growth and progress that other parts of the country enjoyed; under Bullock’s leadership, however, 100% of Montana public schools now have broadband access, an increase of more than 22%. He bolstered struggling rural hospitals and expanded telehealth services for communities that lack easy access to in-person care. And he passed numerous pieces of legislation to aid Montana’s Native communities, including strengthening tribal colleges and protecting sovereignty rights, because he believes that progress should be enjoyed by everyone.
Governor Bullock’s swift, decisive leadership significantly slowed the spread of COVID-19, saving Montanan lives and livelihoods from much of the chaos that the rest of the country has experienced. Governor Bullock’s pragmatic approach to achieving smart progressive reform is exactly the kind of leadership we’ll need to make dramatic changes for the better while knitting our country back together. We at Flip the West hope you’ll join us in putting our full weight behind inspiring candidates like Steve Bullock.