People often complain that politicians are too staged, too programmed, too fake, and too eager to be seen as perfect. Today, we learned that in addition to her tremendous accomplishments, Denise Juneau is a real person just like the rest of us. And she’s not afraid to be honest about it.
Mike Dennison has a story up this afternoon talking about two DUI’s that Denise Juneau got 30 years ago, both that happened while she was in college here in Montana. One in 1986 when she was 19, and the other in 1989 when she was 22.
Somewhere in DC there is a political hack who thinks this kind of campaign mud signals a bump in the road for Juneau. But in Montana, it’s a very different story. The truth is, Denise Juneau just became an even stronger candidate who is lot more relatable to a lot more voters in Montana. And it’s not because she had a DUI 30 years ago. It’s because she picked herself up when she was down, took responsibility for mistakes she made, got her life straightened out, and went on to finish college, go to Harvard, get a law degree, and later become the first democratic Native American woman to ever be elected to a statewide office in the entire country.
As Juneau told Dennison, “I’m able to say I learned from those (incidents) and have moved on and done some good things, I think, for the state of Montana.”
Indeed she has. Her story is an inspiring one that people can relate to. We all know people who made mistakes when they were young, and we all know people who have turned their lives around when faced with those challenges.
Juneau has never been a politician who tries to hide from her past, or pretend to be someone she is not. That’s refreshing, a change of pace, and a good reason why Ryan Zinke has something to seriously worry about in this next election.