Where Have You Gone, Senator Lewis?


It seems that Senator Dave Lewis has changed a bit since 2006. Listening to his work on the Senate Finance Committee this Saturday, leading the charge to increase tuition and cut education services across the state, I saw that he was no longer the person we first elected, a moderate voice in the Republican Party who knew education needed to be funded adequately.

This morning I came across a piece written by the Senator that shows the difference. What did he write in 2006?

Lewis believed in easy access for two years of education after high school:

Properly funding K-12 education is just part of the task. What if Montana established a program to assure that every qualified citizen of the state could have easier access to up to two years of additional education after they have concluded high school or obtained a GED. This could be a technical or first two year of college type of training. It could be obtained on campus or over the inter net as long as it was provided by a Montana institution of higher education. Adequate progress would have to be proven for the person to continue to receive assistance, and that would be verified prior to payment

Lewis advocated decreased college tuition:

John Mercer has recently proposed lowering College Tuition by 10%. Why not focus on the first two years and lower tuition by a larger amount to get students in to the system? Maybe there is a better way to do it but I think that we are both on the same track.

Why did he propose all of this? Because in 2006, Senator Lewis knew that a well-educated Montana was critical to our economic future:

What an economic boon it would be to provide potential employers with well trained employees and the ability to get added training for their work force. A well trained work force will earn more and help to provide the resources needed to help with the support of our aging population as well. We need a unified K-16 education system designed to turn out people educated to earn a living in a competitive world.
We need to do something dramatic to retain our ability to compete with the rest of the world. A well trained work force is our ace in the hole. We cannot afford to miss the opportunity to begin creating that asset.

Where have you gone, Senator Lewis?

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


  • When Senator Dave told the HomeTown Helena crowd that since this was his last (termed out) session, he was “going to have fun with it”. Uh huh. If this is fun, then a colonoscopy followed by a root canal, neither with anethesia, would be a trip to Disney World. What Dave has both proposed and done this session makes me wonder if indeed the original has not been abducted and some sort of droid has been put in his place.

  • It really makes me wonder if I was wrong about Senator Lewis or if he was a different person then. I always thought he was reasonably moderate, but listening to him this session (and even a bit of the last) makes me wonder what happened to him.

    Why isn’t there room for moderates in the modern GOP?

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