Tim Leeds Havre Daily News email@example.com
Steve Bullock, Democratic candidate for Montana attorney general, was in Havre Saturday running in the Festival Days Fun Run/Walk as part of his Justice Tour of Montana Bullock said he plans to visit with voters and run in every county in Montana before the June 2008 primary. “If you really want to represent the state of Montana you have to see the people,” he said after Saturday’s race, “and what better way than to run races and to get to talk to the people?” Others who have announced their intention to run for attorney general include Montana Democratic attorneys and former legislators John Parker and Mike Wheat. Official filing as candidates for the race does not open until January. An experienced runner who has competed in the Boston Marathon, Bullock, 41, said he enjoyed the Havre run. “I think for the old guys, for the over-20, I did pretty well,” he said. He also said every high school cross country runner at Saturday’s event beat him. He said talking to those high school students is part of why he is running for office. “A piece of why I’m even running for attorney general is for those kids who beat me, so they have the chance to grow up in the same Montana I grew up in,” he said. “ That will be a big focus if I get elected; what kind of a state are they going to inherit?” He said some key issues he wants to address if elected as secretary of state are consumer protection, safeguards for the Internet including fraud protection and safety for children using the Net, and working to help local law enforcement. Bullock’s concern for the future of Montana starts with his own children he and his wife Lisa have two daughters, Caroline, 5, and Alex, 3, and a 1 - y e a r - o l d s o n , Cameron and by extension to all children in the state, he said. As the state’s chief attorney and head law enforcement officer, the attorney general can help ensure the children of today continue to have the quality of life Montana offers, he said. “I think the attorney general plays a big role and can have a significant role in that,” he said. Bullock, a Missoula native, moved with his family to Helena when he was 4. He graduated from Helena High School, then attended Claremont McKenna College in Los Angeles, where he studied politics, philosophy and economics, he said. After receiving his degree from Claremont McKenna, he studied at Columbia Law School in New York. After graduating, Bullock worked for large law f i rms in New Yo rk and Washington, D.C., before returning to Montana. He worked as chief legal c ouns e l to the Montana Secretary of State, then worked in the state Attorney General’s Office from 1997 to 2001, ending as acting chief deputy with the Montana De p a r tment o f Justice. Bullock said in 2001 he and his wife decided it was time to pay off his student loans, so he returned to Washington, D.C., where he worked for a large firm and also taught as an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law. He ended those jobs in 2004, returning to Helena to start his own practice. “It’s been great,” he said. “I’ve represented people and interests important to me.” He said his clients have included individuals; Montana Public Power Inc., the five Montana cities working to purchase facilities from NorthWestern Energy; the AARP and labor unions including peace officers, teachers, and electricians. “It’s a good mix of stuff that keeps me pretty busy,” Bullock said. In 2006 he also spearheaded a campaign to raise the state minimum wage, Raise Montana, which passed in November. “Seventy-three percent of Montanans voted to give 25,000-plus Montanans a raise,” Bullock said. He said the role of the consumer protection division of the Attorney General’s Office can be increased, especially work in antitrust operations including in agricultural areas, where large corporate interests can help hurt smaller agricultural operations and consumers. Another area to strengthen protection in the state is the Internet, both for children and to prevent fraud, Bullock said. “The world is changing for kids,” he said. “What used to be a playground is now a virtual playground.” He said he wants to work with local law enforcement agencies to help them with their problems, although what is needed varies from area to area. “It’s a big enough state that there aren’t cookie-cutter things to support local law enforcement,” he said. But, he said, there are common concerns in every community. When he ran races and talked to people from places as far away and as different as Browning and Butte, he heard common concerns. “You’re still talking to people concerned that kids have good schools and that there are jobs,” he said.