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2024 Montana Primary elections
Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Q&A: Kirk Bushman, Republican Candidate for PSC District 2

Kirk Bushman

We are gathering information from all statewide candidates as a resource for the 2024 Primary Elections. Responses were limited to 200 words per question. Political attacks may have been removed, but otherwise, the responses are published unedited.


What is your full name as it will appear on ballots? 

Kirk Bushman

What is your age? 

57

Where do you live? 

Billings, MT

What is your education background? 

Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Montana State University - Bozeman

Please list your current and previous occupations.

I currently work for an Engineering Consulting Firm as a Plant Designer

  • 2020-2023 Worked for Mining Company as a Project Specialist
  • 2017-2020 Engineering Consulting Firm as Senior Designer
  • 2013-2016 Served as Public Service Commissioner of District 2
  • 1998-2012 Engineering Consulting Firm as Designer
  • 1988-1997 Machinery Manufacturer Field Engineer

What motivated you to seek a seat on the Public Service Commission?

I am running for Public Service Commissioner because I was asked and encouraged to do so by some people who are concerned about this agency. I believe citizens need to be involved with their government. I have 4 children aged 10 to 16 and we should stop borrowing from the future of our children and make good responsible decisions for today’s challenges. My expectation is to work with utility companies and state agencies in a manner that benefits the customers (rate payers).

What are your top three priorities for the Public Service Commission and how would you focus on these in your role?

I do not have any agenda for serving as a commissioner. My priorities would simply be to:

  1. Establish working relationships with the other commissioners and PSC staff.
  2. Become familiar with existing current PSC dockets
  3. Make well informed decisions based on Montana Laws and regulations.

Do you think the PSC has a role in addressing climate change and, if so, what is it?

No, not unless it is defined in statute by the legislature.

What does effective regulation of the state’s monopoly utilities look like?

Effective regulation and the recovery of cost is complicated and defined in Montana law. However, today the primary risk to rate payers stems from inflation, higher interest rates, and ill-conceived federal regulations. A recent press release from the department of energy has announced $6 Billion of spending focused on eliminating carbon emissions. The Biden Administration’s “Net Zero” program has plans for building out transmission for wind and solar with a focus on ESG & DEI policies. These policies are a real threat to electricity prices across the state, not just utilities regulated by the PSC, but local Co-ops as well. We need our Senators, Congressmen, and the Governor to be involved in this debate at both the state and federal levels.

If elected, how would you work to provide more affordable electricity for Montana residents and small businesses? 

The Commissioners can work with utilities companies to make sure they are taking reasonable steps to keep electricity affordable for their customers. The Commissioners decisions can protect the residents and small businesses from over-aggressive developers and investors.

Commissioners should have experience that demonstrates they are familiar with economic and investment principles, as well as technical topics such as the generation and transmission of electricity, production and transport of natural gas, and telecom.

I have an engineering degree from Montana State University. I have worked with Montana’s largest energy producers and consumers to help them meet regulatory and production challenges. I have also served as a PSC Commissioner from 2013-2016. I will ensure that investments made by our utilities are both technically and economically responsible for the rate payers of Montana. I will push back on the agendas of the environmentalists using federal policy to push costly technology that doesn’t solve the challenges of today.

What can commissioners do to build public trust and transparency in the PSC’s work?

Public trust can be gained by Commissioners who work in a professional manner with the PSC staff and the Montana Consumer Council. They should be available for the constituents that they represent.

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