The Montana Standard of Butte endorses Rick Hill for Governor:
Throughout the course of the campaign for governor of this great state, it’s become apparent that one candidate is best prepared to serve as its leader, and that is Rick Hill.
Hill brings a wealth of experience to the post that one-term, Democratic opponent and Attorney General Steve Bullock simply can’t match. We applaud Mr. Bullock’s accomplishments as attorney general, especially for his initiatives in curbing DUIs and reducing prescription drug abuse.
But Hill brings a wider breadth of knowledge to the post, as demonstrated by the many debates the two held across the state. One can tell he’s well-schooled on the issues. And, he has many ideas on how to move the state forward.
Further, Hill’s not afraid to challenge the status quo to think differently, to move away from the usual way of doing business.
For example, Hill’s been criticized for taking on the state’s education system, telling teachers that their performance must be looked at more closely if the state is ever to curb its high dropout rate and low graduation rate for high school students.
A strong education system is the foundation for bringing good jobs back to Montana and Hill is prepared to move on that.
A strong school system is key to attracting new business to the state. Aside from the Bakken oil fields in eastern Montana, business growth has been fairly stagnant in western Montana.
He also supports shifting revenue from oil and gas resources to provide tax relief to property owners. And he advocates permanent tax relief from state coffers rather than the one-time $400 for homeowners from the recent budget surplus that Bullock offers.
His priority-based budgeting is worth a strong look, too. That is where state departments have to justify every penny spent. While no one in Helena wants to look state workers in the eye and say that their jobs may be on the line, Hill has proposed looking for efficiencies in all state operations and that’s a good thing.
Hill is also a big proponent of leasing coal from Otter Creek coal tracts for mining and shipping to the West Coast. Between the Bakken oil fields and the coal mines in southeastern Montana, the state has the potential to finally grow its revenues so that all communities, such as Butte, can share in the boom. Hill has been a two-term U.S. congressman, a liaison to former Gov. Marc Racicot, who helped turn around the $550 million deficit in the Workers Comp fund within three years so that it has a $120 million surplus. He consistently talks about creating more high-paying jobs for the state, which is among the lowest in the nation. He also has plans to work with both parties in the Legislature and we think it’s high time that the partisan bickering stops for the good of all Montanans.
Because of all these factors, we believe that Rick Hill should be our next governor.