May 28, 2017

What we can learn from Montana

The recent Montana congressional election, while producing a GOP victory, had a substantially lower Republican margin than Trump has gotten in 2016. But more significant is the fact that as recently as five years ago the state had a Democratic governor with the largest approval rating in the country. The record of Brian Schweitzer is a good lesson for how Democrats can do well (and could have down better with Schweitzer rather than Clinton as their presidential candidate)

Wikipedia - Schweitzer consistently held one of the highest approval ratings among governors in the nation, with polls regularly showing a rating of above 60 percent.Due to term limits in Montana, he was barred from running for a third term in 2012.

As governor he supported and signed into law voluntary full-time kindergarten. Governor Schweitzer was instrumental in implementing, for the first time since the Constitutional Convention of 1972 called on the State to “recognize the distinct and unique cultural heritage of the American Indians."Indian Education for All was funded in House Bill 2 and signed into law by Governor Schweitzer on May 6, 2005.[30]

As one of his first endeavors, Schweitzer proposed and passed the “Best and Brightest” scholarship program. This scholarship has given the opportunity to more than 2700 students to study at any of Montana's 2-or 4-year public colleges and universities, including community and tribal colleges.

Montana's electrical generation capacity increased more during his term as Governor than the previous 16 years combined. Schweitzer has been a catalyst for alternative energy development in Montana. The state had 1 MW of wind power online in January 2005; by the end of 2012 Montana was expected to exceed 600 MW of wind power.

 Schweitzer signed into law the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, The law exempts firearms made and kept in Montana from Federal firearms regulations. It applies mostly to non-military types of firearms, along with ammunition and accessories such as silencers provided that these items are manufactured in the state, and do not leave the state.

In 2011, Schweitzer announced his intention to provide single-payer health care in Montana, based on the Canadian model.

On May 3, 2006, Schweitzer granted posthumous pardons to 78 persons convicted of sedition during World War I for making comments that were critical of the war. These were the first posthumous pardons in Montana history, but the convictions had become notorious in recent years because Montana's sedition law had been one of the broadest and harshest of its time: one man went to prison for calling food rationing a joke, while others were targeted because they refused to physically kiss a U.S. flag or to buy Liberty Bonds.

Following the suicide of Iraq war veteran Chris Dana in 2007, Governor Schweitzer started the Yellow Ribbon Program. Schweitzer testified in Washington D.C. saying, “the federal government does an excellent job at turning a civilian into a warrior, I think they have an equal responsibility in turning that warrior back into a civilian.” More than 13% of adult Montanans are veterans.[citation needed] This program developed policies and procedures that each Montana guardsman would undergo to ensure that physical and mental health were documented before, during, and after deployment. Automatic enrollment into the Veterans Affairs system would also be required of guardsmen to ensure delivery of benefits entitled. Following its success in Montana, the Yellow Ribbon Program was implemented nationally and is now a part of the National Defense Act.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Schweitzer was a 'D' in name only, another of that centrist-right DLC/corporate/sycophantic kind of bull shit politician that's driven folks away from the party. You don't it Sam. And the Democrats especially don't get it as they more or less continue to avoid authentic populism. The party is adrift, floundering, and about to sink. Let it go away, they are no more relevant today than the Whigs.