Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who was in the area touring the flood repairs at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation Tuesday, stopped off at a Democratic fundraiser to call on voters to help bring Democrats to the state Legislature.
“If you send Jack (Trethewey), Dana (Sapp Seidel) and Bob (Bergren) to the Legislature we can continue to move forward,” he said. “If you send the wrong people to the Legislature, we can’t move forward.”
The fundraiser was for Seidel, who faces Rep. Wendy Warburton, R-Havre, in the race for House District 34, Trethewey, who faces Republican Kristin Hansen in the race for House District 33, and Speaker of the House Rep. Bob Bergren, D-Havre, who faces Republican Rowlie Hutton in the race for Senate District 17. The general election is Nov. 2.
Schweitzer said one of the reasons the state has a balanced budget and money in reserve, when 48 others are working with deficits, is the help he had from people such as Bergren in passing his budgets.
“We’ve had six good years in Montana,” he said, adding that for the state to continue to do well will require the right people in the Legislature.
The state is working on many programs to increase education, better prepare workers, and bring new business and innovation to Montana to stimulate the economy, creating the fuel for prosperity, he said.
“We want to put the spark to that fuel to start the fire, and that’s why you need to send the right legislators to Helena,” Schweitzer said. “I don’t want to go backward.”
Bergren said that in the last six years with a Democratic governor, after 16 years of “tyrannical control in Helena,” the state has moved forward on numerous issues including improving education, improving health care, creating jobs and working to reduce local property taxes.
“We need to continue on that road,” he said.
Trethewey said his experience — 20 years in Havre both managing a convenience store and serving as a firefighter for 18 years — gives him a varied background that would let him serve the Hill County voters well.
Seidel said she was persuaded to run after looking at Warburton’s voting record. She added that those votes do not make her opponent wrong; what people believe comes from the paths they have been walking.
“Wendy and I have been walking very different paths,” Seidel said.
She said her background comes from being a nurse, raising her three daughters, lying awake at night wondering if she could provide health insurance for those daughters, watching her husband go on the road to work to provide that insurance and starting their own small business.
She said her background in nursing also runs the gamut, from working next to firefighters and law enforcement and working with patients ranging from children in schools to people with terminal illnesses in hospices.
Warburton does not have that background, Seidel said.
“Her path is black and white, her path fits in a box, and that’s very nice for her,” Seidel said, adding that her path has branches, different colors, different routes.
“My path doesn’t fit in a box,” she said. “I guess it’s up to you to pick who you want on your path to help you.”