U. S. Sen. Max Baucus will step down from his seat to become ambassador to China.
Baucus’ long and distinguished career in the Senate will serve him well in China. He will face some diplomatic challenges in China, which faces some prickly problems with the United States. Baucus is especially suited to deal with these problems, and President Barack Obama made a wise choice in tapping Baucus for the post.
Baucus is chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, and in that role has been especially helpful to Montana in general and the Hi-Line in particular. The region depends heavily on assistance from Washington — everything from farm subsidies to aid to the reservations. Local residents could always be assured of having Baucus’ ear when they needed help from D.C. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore ., is likely to succeed Baucus as Finance Committee chair. He is an able senator, but will be far less knowledgeable to the needs of Montana and the Hi-Line, meaning state and local officials will have to redouble efforts to lobby for aid to the Treasure State.
Gov. Steve Bullock is likely to name his lieutenant governor, John Walsh, to the Senate seat. That may give him a leg up in the Democratic primary with former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger. It may even help him in the general election, when he may be opposing Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines.
The lineup of people representing the Hi-Line will change radically in coming months.
As he heads for China, we wish him well and thank him for his dedication to the state.
Baucus has said he has the best 1 million bosses in the world — the people of Montana. He’s been a good employee, and he will be missed.