Helena Missoula Montana Politics Steve Bullock

A new game plan for Montana Progressives: Win the Legislature back in 2018

Even against the best team, the opponent is going to score once in a while. Especially when the other team is playing a little dirty and the refs can’t catch everything. The opponent will score, but the most important thing is achieving victory.

When the opposing team has more players, they are bound to score some points. As much as Governor Bullock has pushed the state forward in a progressive direction, we can’t just sit back and think progressive priorities will not be threatened by the Republican Legislature.

During this Special Session and in the next 2019 Legislative Session, the Republican Majority will be doing everything they can to prevent wins for progressive causes and roll back the progress we’ve made. Medicaid expansion, regulation of dark money and ensuring Montanans are paid fair wages for good jobs with benefits.

For coverage of the impossibly quick special session read these two pieces by Pete Talbot as a primer:

Republicans making a mockery of special session

Could this special session get any worse?

Governor Bullock can only serve 2 terms and can’t run for reelection in 2020. If the Governorship goes to a Republican, progressives need to have a majority to fight against what will be an onslaught of regressive policies by the GOP.

The session has finally ended and a good recap was written by Chuck Johnson, check it out here: Missoula Current

After the session adjourned, Governor Bullock issued this statement:

“Tonight we reached a reasonable and responsible compromise to balance our budget and pay for Montana’s record fire season. While I’m disappointed we were not able to reach a full agreement, I would be remiss not to acknowledge all the progress made to minimize the impacts of severe budget cuts on the most vulnerable among us,” he said.

“We’ve ensured most seniors will still be able to access the prescription drugs they need. We’ve assured most young kids with autism will continue to receive services helping them make developmental gains. We’ve prevented steep tuition increases.

“We’ve prevented many job losses. We’ve protected public safety and prevented strains on local sheriffs’ offices. We’ve prevented financial duress on rural hospitals.

“These aren’t just numbers on a balance sheet, these are real people. These are our friends, our families and our neighbors – our children, our grandchildren, our parents and grandparents. While we still have work to do, tonight Montanans can be pleased.”

We need to start drafting serious and better players to the team now. We need players who are young or seasoned but committed teammates. Tactics must be changed, and new ideas put forth.

A great piece by Pete Talbot on where our party goes from here: Montana Democrats’ strategy, 2018 and beyond

Back in the cold war, America lost to the Russian hockey team every 4 years in the Olympics. The Russians were unbeatable. A Juggernaut. Then came a change in tactics and vision for America. New blood made the team no longer a defeatist unit and set their sights on an achievable victory. Scrappy, resourceful but committed Americans can overcome the new Russian/GOP threat.

Do you believe in Miracles? Montana Progressives should.

The tide is here, the inability to govern by the Republicans is visible everywhere, and their American values are lost. It’s great to have an All-Star player in the Governor’s Chair, but we can win more games when we have a strong supporting team.

Montanans want a government that looks out for them and their family’s needs—not a political party beholden to Russian propaganda and wealthy elites. The GOP is a party that has sold its soul for tax cuts to their wealthy donors and dark money interests at the expense of the middle class.

Progressives in Montana cannot be lazy these next 4 years with Governor Bullock like we were during the last 4 years of President Obama’s administration. Great strides and progressive causes must be pushed throughout the state and in the Montana Legislature. The work to do this didn’t start today, it started back on November 8, 2016. Let go get it done in 2018.

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.

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Nathan Kosted

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