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Montana Politics

Partisan Senate Drives Another Public Servant Out. Bob Ream Resigns

Fresh on the heels of depriving the Board of Regents of the sane, sensible voice Pat Williams brought to the body, the Montana Senate drove another committed public servant from serving the state. Fish, Wildlife and Parks commissioner Bob Ream announced today that he is withdrawing his nomination for a four-year term as commissioner.

KTVQ reports that Ream chose to step down to avoid a “sham hearing” by a body that that already decided it would vote against his confirmation. In the letter announcing his resignation, Ream wrote:

I choose not to waste my time on a sham hearing, nor subject myself or my family to a Senate confirmation process that has a predetermined partisan outcome.

While the House may still have more radicals, the Senate is fast becoming the real tragedy of this 2013 legislative session. The senior, more deliberative body owes the state more than partisanship and a political culture that drives out excellent and eminently qualified candidates like Bob Ream and Pat Williams.

The kind of reasonable, informed leadership each offered the citizens of Montana is all too rare—something it would seem the Republican caucus in the Senate should know better than almost anyone else.

Thanks for your service, Bob. As the Governor said today, you’ll be missed at FWP.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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.


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  • Here’s some more information about Bob Ream’s tenure on the MT FWP Commission. The first snip is from George Ochenski’s most recent Missoulian column:

    “Facing an even more grueling confirmation hearing, Bob Ream, Bullock’s pick to be re-appointed to the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission, decided to resign late last week. Ream said he didn’t think he’d get a “fair hearing” from the committee and acknowledged that the highly controversial purchase of the Milk River Ranch would likely sink his chances of confirmation. Ironically, some say the FWP Commission under Ream’s chairmanship didn’t give a “fair hearing” to the dozens of ranchers and sportsmen who opposed the purchase of the Milk River Ranch.”


    And here’s a brief snip from Marty Essen’s guest column in the Missoulian titled, “FWP ignored public comment on wolf trapping:

    “What if our representatives passed a new regulation that disregarded the wishes of 90 percent of all public comments? Now that would be extreme! Yet that is exactly what the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks commissioners did last year.

    In May of 2012, Montana FWP asked for public comments on proposed wolf killing regulations that for the first time would allow trapping. And boy did Americans speak out! Of the 7,750 comments registered, 6,997 opposed trapping. That’s 90 percent saying “no” to trapping.

    Later, without publicly acknowledging the results or even indicating the general viewpoint of the public comments, our FWP commissioners voted 4 to 0 (with one abstention) to open up wolves to the barbaric practice of trapping.

    What an insult to the public comment process. Not only does it prove that the FWP commissioners had already made up their minds, but it also discourages citizens from making public comments in the future. After all, if such an overwhelming landslide of comments had no effect on this decision, when would public comments ever have an effect on any decision?”


    As an avid hunter and “sportsman” I’m certainly not willing to place Bob Ream on a pedestal that, in my opinion, he hasn’t earned. I also have to wonder if those 90% of citizens who took time to actually comment strongly against wolf trapping in Montana felt that Ream’s meetings on the issue were along the lines of a “sham hearing” with a “predetermined outcome?”

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