MATT GOURAS Associated Press Writer HELENA
Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Wednesday he will be the next chairman of the Democratic Governor's Association. Schweitzer, previously the group's vice chairman, will lead the DGA as it enjoys big electoral wins. The Montana governor says he hopes to use the upcoming non-election year to advance policy issue. The DGA boasts 29 Democratic governors around the country, which it says is the most since 1994. The political group helps elect Democratic governors, advance their ideals, and raises money to do so. "We've never been in a stronger position than we are today," said spokesman Brian Namey. In a release, the group praised Schweitzer as a "dynamic" leader who will advance the goals of the organization. The governor has advanced his national profile with an active year that included a lauded speech at the party's national convention in Denver. He won re-election in Montana by a 2-1 margin. Schweitzer said he does not expect the role will require him to travel to Washington, D.C., more than he has in the past, although it will place some Demands on his time. "But it does give Montana an opportunity to be involved in the blueprint for the future, which is important," Schweitzer said. Schweitzer said the DGA will working with the Obama administration on such issues as energy and health care. "We will be a resource for the administration in that way," Schweitzer said. The outgoing chairman, Gov. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, says that Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland will serve as vice chairman, traditionally a step to the top post.