I am deeply disappointed that we have come to this point in the 2019 Montana legislature.
Republican Albert Olszewski’s respect for the body he serves in was called into question by the chair as he was attacking fellow Republican State Senator Steve Fitzpatrick.
You can watch the moment at 16:17:45 of this footage on the floor of the Montana State Senate today.
The debate on HB 318 starts at 15:56:35.
And Senator Olszewski starts speaking at around 16:14:00.
The debate was over a very contentious and completely boring bill, yet it gets to the heart of the sickness in the Montana Republican Party.
House bill 318 cleans up the laws surrounding political party central committees in Montana. Defining the rules for precinct people, the disclosure of public rules for the central committees and how party business will be conducted in a fair, legal and open manner. HB 318 passed the Senate on 2nd reading yesterday and will receive a final vote on Monday, April 1st.
Seems simple enough, yet the Jennifer Fielder, Theresa Manzella, Al Olszewski wing of the modern Republican Party decided that setting rules for these central committees was ceding too much power to…gasp, actual engaged citizenry, instead of the Machiavellian authoritarian nightmare that the Olszewski wing of the Republican party represents.
We have all lamented on the decline of the modern Republican Party and Senator Fitzpatrick was merely trying to bring some order and fair debate back to the rooms where local central committees meet. He brought this bill as we’ve all heard the horrendous tales of nasty central committee fights in Gallatin and Sanders County.
Personally, it was a sad day for me when Matthew Monforton and Tom Burnett took the Gallatin County Central Committee over as many good, kind, hardworking Republicans used to represent the rural areas of Gallatin County. Republicans like Bill Worden and to this day Bruce Grubbs was able to wrestle Art Wittich’s seat away from him after numerous allegations against Wittich that need not be revisited.
Senator Olszewski called into question the integrity of Senator Fitzpatrick on the house floor several times and the chair gave Olszewski his final warning before Olszewski ranted a few seconds more and called for a vote to table the bill that did not pass.
Oh yeah, Senator Olszewski is running for governor in 2020. I guess he announced some time ago, but I just heard about it yesterday after his disrespectful comments perhaps brought to light his true motivation for grandstanding.
Billings Senator Jen Gross posted this brilliant analysis soon after:
How ironic Sen. Olszewski exhorts & alleges a member of the senate would move a bill for personal gain as he leverages the entire 66th legislature for his gubernatorial run.
How ironic Sen. Olszewski exhorts & alleges a member of the senate would move a bill for personal gain as he leverages the entire 66th legislature for his gubernatorial run @alformontana #mtleg #mtpol
— Jen Gross (@JenGross4MT) March 29, 2019
That is a tweet that needs a frame it is so perfect. She captures the moment in time so well that I have nothing more to add.
Sadly, Matthew Monforton had something to add. I really don’t have much to say about this and am merely posting the screenshot for posterity as a normal person would delete such an abhorrent tweet.
Thankfully, Senator Jen Gross was there with the perfect response again:
I can’t wait for more analysis from Senator Jen Gross in the future and I sure hope for less input from the Olszewski/Monforton crowd.