By Editorial Board
Gov. Judy Martz is quickly learning to be extra careful when making comments in public.
Martz, Montana's first female governor, had a couple of minor missteps in her first state of the state address Thursday, Jan. 25.
Martz said in her state address that personal income in Montana increased by more than 5 percent in 2000, twice the inflation rate. In reality, even though all of the figures aren't in yet, the estimated growth will be between 3 percent to 5 percent. The cost of living in 2000 was up 3.4 percent.
Her second minor error was stating she wants to see a new program where many of Montana's youth are tested yearly and to have the results presented to the public. She won't have to wait long.
Students in grades fourth, eighth and 11th grades are tested annually and the results are published in many of the newspapers throughout the state. This mandated testing was debated and approved by the 1997 Legislature.
These minor factual errors are easily forgivable.
The biggest blunder in Martz' infant tenure in the state's top office came recently when she was speaking at a business and economic development meeting in Butte.
Martz reportedly made an offhanded comment about spouse abuse.
"My husband has never battered me, but then again, I've never given him reason to," Martz is reported to have said before the 650 people attending the meeting.
No one laughed.
The governor's spin control person later said Martz does not deny making the comment, but doesn't recall saying it either.
However, all is not forgiven for those poorly chosen words from our esteemed governor.
The Montana Women's Lobby blasted Martz right away and representatives from the organization tried to scheduled a meeting with the governor immediately.
The lobby was right in blasting our governor and it is unfortunate Martz hasn't made time to meets with the group's representatives immediately.
Mary Jo Fox, the governor's communications director, said the governor is busy but did offer a statement.
"Domestic violence and physical abuse are sensitive to me as a woman, as a mother and as governor. Let me leave no doubt that I consider such actions abhorrent and intolerable," Martz said in the release.
Martz should apologize to women, especially if this is a near and dear subject to her like she claims, and meet with the Women's Lobby group.
Martz may have been listening to Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., when it comes to the two-step blunder dance of open mouth, insert foot. Burns has been blasted for making several racial comments while representing Montana as one of its three Congressmen.
We at The Havre Daily News encourage Martz to think before making any more offhanded comments in public. One black eye is enough.