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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

State Of The State Highlights Division Between Parties In Helena

The Montana Capitol
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio

In his State of the State address Wednesday, Governor Steve Bullock mentioned a number of issues dividing the Democrats and Republicans this session. Those include funding infrastructure, funding pre-K education, and keeping a budget surplus of $300 million in case of emergency.

Jim Keane of Butte is one of the many Democrats who stood and cheered as the Governor talked about his proposals.

“I think the Dems were really energized over the issue which was very apparent, but I think the issues were the mainstream Montana issues, its about families it's about jobs and its about a fair, level playing field for everyone on the state of Montana.”

However, across the aisle, as many Democrats whistled and cheered, Republicans sat in silence. Republican Senate Majority Leader Matthew Rosendale said the speech highlighted the fundamental differences between the parties.

“I think the Governor did a very similar speech that the President did, to go out and try to convey a message of a bunch of free products to the citizens of the state and I just think that’s not realistic, somebody has to pay for these things, whether we’re talking about healthcare, weather we’re talking about infrastructure, whether we’re talking about education, someone has to pay for it.”

Despite the divisions, however, Rosendale and others said there is some common ground on issues like the need for infrastructure improvements and providing mental health care to people in the state.

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