Rep. Bob Bergren, D-Havre, said he has started many projects during his eight years in the Legislature and would like to continue his work at the state capitol.
“I think there are lots of projects you can start in the Legislature you can’t finish in one term … I have more to do, I think,” he said.
Bergren, who cannot run for re-election to his seat in House District 33 due to term limits, faces Republican Rowlie Hutton in the race for the seat in Senate District 17 in Hill and Blaine counties.
Incumbent Sen. Ken “Kim” Hansen, D-Harlem, cannot run for re-election in that Senate district due to term limits.
Bergren said his experience and success in his last eight years in the Legislature would help him if elected to the Senate.
“I think my record speaks for itself,” he said. “I have been in the leadership three of four terms with approval on both sides of aisle.
“In these times where such bitter fighting is going on, the ability to work across the aisle is paramount,” Bergren added.
He pointed to the fact that he led an evenly split house, with a slight Republican majority in the Senate, to be one of two states in the nation with a balanced budget and a reserve in savings.
“I’m proud we balanced the budget, maintained our priorities, and still have money in the bank,” Bergren said.
He said his relationships he has built in the last eight years, as well as knowing the legislative system, will help him continue his work. He gets along well with his fellow legislators, Bergren said.
“I think I’m a people person. You have to have personality to work with all personalities. … I have great working relationships and have collaborated with many friends across the aisle.
“I think it’s a huge benefit to me, having the relationships already built, having the knowledge of the process and how the process works,” he added.
He said he has no special agenda if elected, but listed some areas on which he wants to continue his efforts.
He listed the Bioenergy Innovation and Testing Center at Montana State University-Northern, one of the premier biodiesel research facilities in the nation, as an example. As a freshman representative, Bergren said, he started working on creating the facility with the testing center. Last session, he spearheaded through state appropriations to help with its alternative energy research.
He added that, for the first time in years, the Legislature provided funding for programs like education that should give local property tax owners a break, with no increase in property taxes necessary.
Bergren said he wants to continue work in areas like that.
“I believe that Montana should continue on its moderate road to recovery from the recession,” he said. “I believe we still should live within our means, not raise taxes, provide good-paying jobs, provide affordable access to health care and fund education at the state level to stop the tax shift to property owners.”