With the wrap up of the 66th Legislative Session Democrats are highlighting the impressive wins for Montanans that their caucus and Governor Bullock delivered for Montanans. Leader Casey Schreiner, Whip Shane Morigeau, Whip Kim Abbott, Whip Denise Hayman and Caucus Chair Laurie Bishop.
From Medicaid Expansion being reauthorized, freezing tuition for Montana students, passing Hanna’s Act, outlawing foreign money in elections, and finally getting presumptive illness passed for Montana firefighters, Montana Democrats delivered.
Democrats also got the infrastructure and bonding bills done that will build the Montana Heritage Center, Remodel Romney Hall, a Dental School in Great Falls, and they put shovels in the dirt all across Montana with water projects, roads, bridges, and other critical infrastructure.
There are a lot of accomplishments that Montana Democrats and Governor Bullock can be proud of after this session but none of them would have been possible without the direct and personable leadership of Democratic Leader Casey Schreiner, and his whips Shane Morigeau, Kim Abbott and Denise Hayman.
Rep. Schreiner is in his last term as a Montana House Member and has spent his time in the legislature honing the fine art of being an effective leader.
Keeping the Democratic caucus together can be a tall order. While Democrats don’t have an open civil war amongst their members like the GOP does, the radical conservatives actually took their own end of session photo without the GOP “solutions” caucus, Democrats don’t always see eye to eye on policy issues and personalities can get in the way. That’s where the smart work of the whips like Shane Morigeau from Missoula, Kim Abbott from Helena and Denise Hayman of Bozeman really gets stuff done.
With their hard work and his guidance Representative Schreiner brings them all together. His calm demeanor and open door policy allows members to express their differences, their frustrations and to trust their leader. Trust in their House caucus leader is crucial to keeping everyone on the same page and not let Republican misinformation seep in.
Big wins this session happened because of Democrats fighting together, not against one another, and their unity exploited the underlying REAL divisions within the Montana Republican caucus. At end of the legislative days, radical Republicans began crying that they were actually the minority party.
Hats off to House Minority Leader Casey Schreiner, Whips Morigeau, Abbott, and Hayman and all Democratic Legislators for their work. Representative Schreiner is termed out in the House, so I look forward to seeing what he has in mind next to keep serving the people of this great state. I am hoping he thinks about a statewide office as leadership suits Casey Schreiner.
I’m hoping those whips move up too, Shane Morigeau is whip smart, dedicated to community and a highly successful attorney. Shane is also the only urban Native American male legislator in Montana.
Kim Abbott is one of the most brilliant people in Montana, we’re lucky to have her in the legislature and at the Montana Human Rights Network.
Denise Hayman is the legislator I’ve known the longest of any current legislator. We sat on the Bozemsn school board in 2001-2002, I was the non-voting student representative and she was the chair, but we sat next to each other and were friends. She’s a wonderful representative of my hometown of Bozeman.