By Bella Butler EDITORIAL ASSISTANT
BIG SKY – On May 14, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock became the 22nd of now-23 Democratic candidates that have tossed their hats into primary ring for the 2020 presidential election when he officially announced his campaign.
Bullock prides himself on being the only democratic candidate to win in a state that President Donald Trump carried in 2016. While Trump won in Montana by 20 percentage points, Bullock still managed to win the gubernatorial race by four points.
Bullock served as the Montana Attorney General from 2009-2013 and is currently in his second term as governor.During his time in office, he has focused his energy on progressive efforts like expanding Medicaid and protecting civil rights, but has grown recognizable for his fight against dark money and the dangerous influence he believes big dollars have on elections. Bullock has carried his position on campaign finance into his presidential campaign, vowing to continue the fight against the 2010 Citizens United decision. As the most outspoken democratic candidate on the issue, but in a crowded field decorated with high-profile candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, it will be no easy feat for the Montana native to distinguish himself in this race.
In addition to campaign finance reform, Bullock’s platform also includes increased spending for apprenticeships and vocational training, which he believes are overlooked in a culture that encourages universities as a one-size-fits-all option. He also supports more state funding for universities, however, and has been successful in achieving a tuition freeze for the Montana University System.
Over the years, Bullock has protected rights for women to make their own healthcare decisions and will continue to take a pro-choice stance in his presidential campaign. The governor has also shown support for LGBT state employees, protecting them from discrimination.
While Bullock has yet to speak in depth on immigration issues, his previous actions indicate a centrist perspective. However, in 2017 he joined 11 other governors in composing and submitting a letter to Congress, urging representatives to protect “Dreamers.” And last year, he made a statement in which he refused to deploy Montana National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in response to a call for action by the president.
Bullock has, however, spoken clearly on his aim to protect public lands and to take action on climate change. The governor has also supported a ban on assault weapons and gun-control legislation, a controversial stance considering the value Montana puts on hunting and gun rights. Bullock has been known in the past for his ability to encourage progressive legislation in a Republican-dominated state, a credential he continues to emphasize in his young presidential campaign.