This article originally appeared in the Broadwater Reporter on Thursday, July 28, 2016. The article was written by Questen Ingrham.
On Wednesday, July 20, Broadwater County Democrats convened for a spaghetti feast at Heritage Park, as Governor Steve Bullock made a stop on his campaign for reelection in November. The evening speeches began with a heartfelt and powerful introduction by Paul Putz, President of the Broadwater County Central Democratic Committee. He described his first impression of Bullock: "He impressed me as a person a great deal. He was genuine, he was decent he was smart... very practical, down to earth... I thought he was a person devoted to Montana, he was not out to get rich, or on some kind of power-trip. He wanted to make things work for Montanans- a man of the people."
Putz then described an opposing force today, one of "racist, xenophobic, and pernicious impulses" and one that denies "that America stands for liberty for all." "They want Montana's public lands sold off. They want Montana's environment in peril. They want Montana's workers subjugated to their efforts. They want our small businesses, our farms and ranches swallowed up by their corporations. And that's happening." Putz stated before introducing the governor.
"We always say elections matter. But I think this election does fundametally manner," Governor Bullock began. He moved quickly to the topic of public lands. "It doesn't matter how wealthy you are, you can get out and enjoy these lands and the last thing I want to do is see them sold off. Candidily, there is a group working on it and it's a group my opponent has given to... I don't think that's consistent with our values, nor is it consistent with our economy".
Bullock highlighted some economic achievements of the state, including JPMorgan's declaration that Montana is the "most fiscally prudent state in the country." He also claimed that 20,000 jobs have been created during his term and that Montana is the 6th best in the country for personal income growth. "It's truly about the Montana we are creating not only for this generation but for the generations that follow." said Bullock before asking for the help of Broadwater voters.
After the Governor's speech, Huch Van Swearingen introduced Merlyn Huso, who is running for House District 70 against incumbent Kelly Flynn. "We need a democratic legislator... and I think Merlyn has a huge amount of courage to step up and do this." Van Swearingen said.
"I've been extremely humbled by the reponse that I've gotten from Broadwater County in supporting me," said Huso. "I certainly appreciate your support in voting for me in the election."
Putz concluded the evening in reminding everyone that it is their responsibility to vote in November.
The Broadwater Reporter was able to speak with Governor Bullock exclusively.
"I think we have fundamentally different values about the direction this state should go," Bullock said when comparing his campaign to that of his opponent's, Greg Gianforte. Bullock was very critical about the tone of Gianforte's campaign, that he says that "things are worse than they are." "You don't build up a state by trying to tear it down". "We bring different values of where the state is, and where it ought to go," Bullock stated.
"I never think that we should let fear define the values that we hold," Bullock said about the rise of anti-immigration sentiment in the nation. "No there should not be unvetted refugees in Montana. Protecting Montanans is what I did as Attorney-General and what I will continue to do as Governor," affirmed Bullock. But he is opposed to see relocation centers closed in Montana, as his opponent suggest. "It's ultimately not the state's call."
"The climate's changing. It's human caused... But I think it's a false choice to say that we'll either address climate change or we'll utilize coal. Montana is 28% of our nation's coal resource. We need to find ways to use it with as less greenhouse gas possible." Bullock reasoned.
"It's about the values we bring to a job like this. My values are wanting to take care of our public lands, wanting to make sure that every Montanan has opportunity, wanting to invest in our public education system and maintaining values of bringing people together not further dividing us."