Hot race running in campaigns for Montana's U.S. senator: John Driscoll


John Driscoll

John Driscoll said he is running for Senate again because he wants to fix what he sees as a dysfunctional system.

"I've actually attempted to run for the U.S. Senate several times, I think the first time was 43 years ago, but for the Senate I never made it through a primary and I always ran as a Democrat," Driscoll said. "So, I have a really good life in Montana, a wonderful wife, but I'm really, really concerned about the country right now and I felt like I had to do something."

He said he decided to file as a Republican after he saw discussion about Abraham Lincoln and how the Republican party thought President Trump is a better man than Lincoln, which he disagrees with.

"So I decided that I was comfortable being the Abraham Lincoln Republican, so that's what I did and I decided to file as a Republican for the U.S. Senate and just give it my best effort," he said.

He said what makes him the best candidate is his experience in government. He was Montana's House of Representatives majority leader in 1975 and speaker of the house in 1977, as well regulated utilities for 12 years.

He added that he also has extensive military experience - infantry, armor, being an intelligence planning officer and worked at the Pentagon.

"I know how the military works and I think that's a valuable set of skills that a lot of people these days don't have," Driscoll said. "The other thing is, I always felt very strongly that from my legislative experience, mainly that you can't make the big changes that are necessary in Washington unless you get there a different way, and by that I mean don't take any money above a certain line of which I call a scrupulous line against graft."

If a person takes more money than they should from any one person, he said, it is really questionable and he thinks it falls under the heading of graft, which is unscrupulous of public office for personal gain.

He added that he thinks it's a huge problem in Washington, D.C., and to fix that so the nation can have a more responsible government, one needs to get there without being involved in it.

"I've always felt there is no reason to go to Washington if you can't make the big changes that really count and you can't make them if you go the wrong way," he said.

Driscoll said most people knew the COVID-19 pandemic was going to be a problem earlier than the federal government was able to get its act together.

He said he has been involved  in incident command and joint operations of planning and execution systems which is what he worked on at the Pentagon to get them to work together.

"I know what the capability of our government is to respond quickly to a tragedy or to a situation like this, and it's like nobody at the top level in Washington seems to have a clue about how we are supposed to react to something like this. It's like a hurricane and they just flat didn't do it, and, to me, it's the other side of people who like to throw stones at what they call the deep state, basically they don't know how our government works and it really showed. I think it's caused a lot of unnecessary death," he said.

He said the federal deficit and debt which was increased by the COVID-19 relief will be one of the biggest problems and going to make being a senator not much fun.

"It's going to be a really, really difficult job, because there's going to be a lot of people that have a lot of desperate needs that our government won't have a chance to respond to because it needs to marshal all of its resources for one last effort to put the economy back on the road and to do it in a way that's really well planned," Driscoll said. "... But now we have to really plan what we're going to do and build our resources and I feel that honestly, going into this that we're going to have to raise taxes on everybody."

He said he is trying to remind people in Montana how great this state is and that they have had a chance to build characters in the state's people that have "great compassion and great courage."

He said he thinks compassion is needed right now to heal the country, he said, not be critical of each other, just work together to heal the country as it is in bad shape right now.

"We also need the courage that we have naturally in Montana to adapt to our Earth, people keep arguing about climate change and this and that, and I think it's a waste of time, frankly," Driscoll said. "If the Earth is turning left we need to turn left with it and Montana is all about that - adapting to really hard times when the wind is blowing  50 miles per hour in winter, so that's one thing I'm really, really trying to highlight is for people to realize we have a lot going for us and we can do this."


Born 1946

Graduated from Hamilton High School,

Graduated from Gonzaga University, Columbia University School of International Affairs and Latin America Institute, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, University of Montana Graduate School of Business and U.S. Army War College.

U.S. Army Infantry; Montana Army National Guard including serving on the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Wildlands firefighter including smokejumper,

Montana legislator including House Majority Leader and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Montana Public Service Commissioner

Relevant experience: Wilderness work and Wild-land Fire Control

Married to Kathryn


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