Montana to Get New Lt. Governor

As everyone knows by now, it was announced Monday morning that the lieutenant governor, Angela McLean, is departing to take a job at the Office of Higher Education. In her new job she will be Director of American Indian and Minority Achievement & K-12 Partnerships at the Office of Commissioner of Higher Education.

The announcement was a surprise, but there had been inklings (including a scoop on James Connor’s blog, weeks ago) that McLean was on the way out, and there were some whispers about how she was not happy with her job because it was a bit empty of serious policy work, McLean having come from the Board of Regents and a major figure in education policy. It is true the the job of LG is light on substance. It is a job in which you fill in for the Governor if he can’t be somewhere. That’s just reality and if it’s true that this is the reason McLean left, then it is probably for the better. Hopefully her new gig (with a $20,000 annual raise) will be more along the lines of what she wants.

Republicans are seeking to make hay over an off-hand made by a Bozeman academic who offered his personal speculation that the Lt. Governor’s decision to take a job may somehow raise questions about the Governor’s ability to run the state.

The facts don’t support such speculation. The economic numbers that have been coming in are stellar. Montana’s economy is as strong as its been in decades and far stronger than the nation as a whole. Employment is at an all time high. Montana offers a trained work force with advanced education levels well over the national average. We’re in the top ten states for education in the nation. Additionally, Business Facilities Magazine rates Montana as sixth for Best Business Tax Climate.

Bullock has a rare gift for reaching across the aisle, but still isn’t afraid to push back on the Feds when he needs to. He isn’t just effective, he’s also popular – with the high approval and favorability ratings to back it up.

With all this in mind, it’s a bit silly to think that Montanans will suddenly decide our Governor is no longer competent. I’m not buying it, and neither I suspect is anyone else.

Still, it is no surprise that Republicans have spent the last two days tweeting suggestions that McLean’s departure indicates some great scandal, as is their typical MO, because of the fact that her departure was a surprise and that the Governor said he was as surprised as the rest of us. That’s hardly a smoking gun. Politics is usually much more boring than House of Cards. Some bloggers and tweeters I’ve seen have made the awful decision to print silly, tasteless, baseless rumors, with nothing behind them, rumors likely being purveyed by the GOP. Any such person claiming to be a supposed source of news should be permanently discredited, if they weren’t already. (And I posit that the “Big Sky Words” blog, which indeed I don’t include on the blogroll here because it’s author openly posts bigotry against people of the Jewish faith including, I kid you not, anti-semitic nonsense of the “Jewish banking conspiracy” variety among its “most popular posts“. [screenshots  if  this  gets  taken  down  – yes, there are more])  Readers here want bigotry to be called out, not promoted.

More to the point, let’s speculate as to whom Bullock will select as a replacement, something he says he’ll do in the next few weeks.

Ideas, anyone? I’ve heard Amanda Curtis, Linda McCulloch and Pam Bucy’s names are being bantered about the Helena rumor mill, and I’m interested to hear what others are hearing.



50 Comments on "Montana to Get New Lt. Governor"

  1. This is how I feel about Lee’s “political reporting.” Or really anything it does.

  2. Let’s just hope it’s not Tracy Stone-Manning. Her leadership skills and ability to rally support are evidenced by her tenures at DEQ and the Clark Fork Coalition. Both entities were more than happy to see her hit the road.
    Maybe the current and woefully under-qualified Commissioner of Higher Ed, Clay Christian, will give up his $300k/year gig. Where his leadership skills have seen a rampant decline in student enrollment across the MUS (with only MSU increasing), while still justifying increases in salaries for those in his cabinet. That MO should mesh well.
    But have these two toed the line enough to make the short list? Their records certainly speak for themselves.

  3. We really don’t need the position anyway. Why pay this person over 80,000 a year to cut ribbons.

  4. I sent an email to the tip line of this blog – not only did I get no response, but apparently there is a concerted effort to suppress this information so I will post it here. These are facts that can be verified by anyone who clicks on the links pasted below.

    Tomorrow, Thursday December 4, just days after Lt. Governor Angela McLean suddenly took a new job (co-incidence??) her father- in-law will be sentenced for fraud and federal crime in U.S. District Court for apparently *allegedly* embezzling money from his clients and his peers, on purpose, from his law firm, where he worked with McLean’s husband.

    The Sentencing hearing is tomorrow at 1:30 pm.

    But all of that aside, the big question about these federal crimes is this: Who knew what, and when?

    Remember, Dave McLean is not just the Lieutenant Governor’s father-in-law, he is also related to the Anaconda Deer Lodge County Attorney, Ben Krakowka, who is Dave McLean’s nephew by marriage. Ben Krakowka is also Angela McLean’s cousin by marriage. Ben Krakowka has a hard time with ethics himself, so his connection to Dave McLean is very suspicious, to say the least.

    Montana politics is a sneaky business. Politicians can be really, really sneaky. If sneaky politicians accidentally commit crimes by accidentally obstructing justice, the first course of action is to cover it up and deny it. Maybe Ben Krakowka knew what Dave McLean was doing. Maybe Mike and Angela McLean did too.

    But maybe Angela McLean didn’t know a single dang thing about the $500,000 her father-in-law stole while he owned the McLean and McLean law office with her husband.

    US District Court Sentencing docket is only and the hearing comes up if you put in tomorrows date:

    LOCATION: Missoula , 201 East Broadway, Missoula, MT

    1:30 PM
        Presiding: 2:15-cr-00030-1 USA v David Michael McLean Sentencing

  5. Well, gee, a wife not knowing what her father in law is doing? Surprise, I didn’t know that my husband had gambling debts in the double digits, until well into the divorce proceedings. Granted, being in her position, she probably should have been keeping track of anybody even remotely connected to her…la dee dahhhh. As to keeping track of a cousin? Forget it

  6. By all accounts, to go from Chief of Staff to Lt. Gov would be a step down. I would also mention that Stone-Manning has been confirmed as a cabinet appointee by the GOP- controlled state legislature.

    • “I would also mention that Stone-Manning has been confirmed as a cabinet appointee by the GOP- controlled state legislature.”

      That likely says more about Tracy Stone-Minings, er, I mean Tracy Mandated Logging….geez, sorry….

      That likely says more about Tracy Stone-Manning’s ability to roll over on environmental issues and either outright support – or turn a blind eye – to more public lands logging, mining, toxic waste, etc than anything else.

      You really think the GOP-controlled state legislature would confirm a strong environmentalists with a backbone to head the MT DEQ?

      • Really? That was a rather childish attack.

        • Really Dan? My comments (which I 100% stand by) are posted here on a blog that proudly proclaims it features “political gossip and satire.” Thanks.

          • Fallen to childish attacks? You’ve become the poster boy for parody.

            • Thanks Dan.

              Did you see this? Where the Clark Fork Coalition actually had to sue Tracy Stone Manning (their former ED) for an ‘absurd’ Clark Fork River water pollution permit MT DEQ (under Stone Manning’s leadership) issued to the very shady new owners of the Frenchtown Mill (M2Green).


              “In it, the local plaintiffs [Clark Fork Coalition, Missoula City-County Health Board, the Missoula Valley Water Quality District and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes] say the state has authorized M2Green to discharge nitrogen and phosphorus from the site and into the Clark Fork at a rate ’30 to 40 times higher than M2Green requested, for a facility that does not exist and for a site that has not produced wastewater since 2010.’

              It says the Smurfit-Stone paper mill was ‘one of the largest sources of industrial pollution on the Clark Fork River,’ and the mill’s closure gave DEQ an opportunity to protect the long-term health of the river by terminating the permit and requiring an application for a new one.

              Instead, in disregard of its role as protector of the public’s waters and in contravention of Montana law, [Tracy Stone Manning’s] DEQ issued an unnecessary, unwarranted permit to M2Green,’ it alleges.”

              I can keep going, if you’d like me to. Just let me know Dan.

            • Mr. Dan please refrain from personal attacks. 1st warning!

  7. The next Lt. Governor will also be the successful Democratic candidate for governor in 2020. The Republican’s election balloons are popping and they are scrambling for a shred of evidence that they are still relevant.

  8. It’s very plausible she wasn’t aware of her father-in-law’s ‘habits with finance’ and best to move now than later, and a Lt. Governor prepared for 2020 is strategic. Maybe it’s time to reach into the legislature for a prospect?

    • Please suggest some prospective names from the legislature!
      Time to consider individuals we’d like to raise up
      for consideraton for vetting for Lieutenant Governor!
      Time for a prospect list from the people,
      by the people and for the people

    • Please suggest some prospective names from the legislature!
      Time to consider individuals we’d like to raise up
      for consideraton for vetting for Lieutenant Governor!
      Time for a prospect list from the people,
      by the people and for the people.

      • How about Sen. Robyn Driscoll. A seasoned campaigner. In the House from 2005 through 2011. In the Senate from 2013 through 2015. Minority Whip. From Billings. An educator.

      • I would suggest Bill McChesney. A common sense eastern Montana democrat would be spades better than the progressive liberal tree huggers that are being bantied about here.

        Or Jon Sesso. Old school populist who knows how to get things done.

  9. Tracy is an exceptionally intelligent and capable person. She handled herself well during her confirmation hearing for head of the DEQ and demonstrated her skills as a competent and fair administrator while working for Senator Tester, the DEQ and as Bullock’s Chief of Staff. While I doubt Bullock will pick her for his Lt Governor, she would be an excellent choice and would serve Montana well.

  10. I will miss Angela, she was an honest good working person for the people of Montana… Despite the unfounded preconceived comments from the above tipster about members of her family.

    While republicans will vote for people with a history of gaffe and stupidity in their own party. God forbid we liberals continue to hire people who overcome that crazy in our own party, and become one of the most competent in our own ranks….. that kind of thinking just makes me sick.

    This fear mongering of people based on Family, isn’t any different then it is for Syrians coming here . Blaming people based on family ties or, race proves to me we have a long way to go as Moral Intelligent Americans.

    You have been wonderful for us Angela stay in the fight for good Ideas in this state. We need you!

  11. flatheadprogressive | December 4, 2015 9:32 AM at 9:32 AM |

    It had better not be Amanda Curtis, she has very little experience, is a very poor campaigner, and has a lot of baggage being associated with the Wobblies.

    • I would myself put Loise Bruce’s hat in the ring. Pro small business, successful business woman, Great with youth and young adult someone who embodies a lot of what Angela does. Long time Democrat. We need more people like here who promote Entrepreneurship from within Montana. I think she would make a great Lt Governor.

      As for experience Amanda curtis does have that experience. and in three short months running for senator got 40% of the vote. She she had the same time as daines to campaign he would have been smoked. She got tons of support because of her great Campaigning.

      Lastly, why do Conservative Trolls who are purposely lying about being a progressive opening there MOuths??? Beside being Trolls.

    • If the NYT plagiarism story would have broken a month or two earlier, Mrs. Curtis would have had a fighting chance, and money would have entered the campaign.
      imo that plagiarism(of 2007) story was a “plant”, and so was the above flatheadprogressive troll post, of rags selected from hum drum old party line baggage.

    • flatheadprogressive – that’s obviously a misnomer – you are so wrong. She has the experience, is a great campaigner and if some misplaced Wobblie tag is baggage, you have a lot to learn. I’d prefer to see Amanda in the legislature, where she’d have more impact than as lt. gov., but she’d do admirably as Bullock’s second in command.

    • flatheadprogressive, Hah that’s funny that the “baggage” includes the “Wobblies” when the IWW are considered heroes of the working class by the people of Butte and all Union supporters across Montana and the country. IWW members are like the Jedi of the Union movement! The “baggage” is in fact blatant McCarthyism and red-baiting that came strait from the MTGOP and Daines’ campaign and was parroted over and over by the right-wing blogs. The MTGOP and Daines (and possibly you) should be ashamed for using McCarthyism as a tool to smear and demonize, a quick look at history shows the type of people who have used red-baiting and they are always evil and always the bad guy. Read some American Labor History! Anyone who says the IWW was or is “Communist” is either a liar or very ignorant and has no idea how insulting it is to all Union members and how damaging, and frankly embarrassing to our country McCarthyism was. The IWW always has fought for Democracy and always fought for and defended the US Bill of Rights, even willingly dying for YOUR Constitutional rights. The IWW is in fact responsible for our Free Speech rights in Montana, which were won on the streets of Missoula during the IWW Free Speech Fights of 1909. The IWW and the other Unions also fought against Federal control of Butte and Martial Law 1914-20, there was a time when Butte miners were paid slave wages and were forced to work at bayonet point – in the land of the free, the IWW helped stop that! The IWW helped bring our State out of corporate control, fought against tyranny and for Democracy using nonviolence, many were shot dead in the streets of Butte fighting for the 8-hour day, better wages, workplace safety laws, free speech right, the right to organize, etc in 1920. The IWW formally denounced Communism shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution when they saw it as another form of tyranny. The IWW has many anti-Communists and anti-Fascists currently AND throughout it’s history, it’s historically the latter that represents those who falsely accuse the IWW of Communism. Keep in mind Joseph McCarthy was condemned(censured) by the Senate for his actions and died alone of alcoholism at the age of 48 forever to be know as the shame of our nation.
      As far as your comment that Amanda is a “very poor campaigner” do you know of anyone else that could raise $1 Million in 80 days from mostly small donations of actual Montanans? Or anyone who drew such large crowds of excited people across the state, or anyone else who could take apart and expose, as slow-witted, a sitting US Representative during a nationally televised US Senate debate? Or anyone who could win 40% of the votes while enduring hundreds of right-wing blogs lying in concert about her, McCarthyism and Red-Baiting, the MTGOP lying and spreading a heavily editing smear video, millions of dollars of outside dark money spent on a smear and fear, and a negative campaign of lies against them?

      • Okay, Kevin, the Wobblies are great, but that was so 20th century.

        • It is the fear of wobblies Dave. that keeps this country free corporate greed, that’s why the GOP had to keep lying that unions are bad. they really do want third world wages for Americans. they really want to go back to the take it or leave it system that so Many union workers died for.

          I thought you would get that at first. but now I know you wouldn’t care if weekends were taken away again.

        • Last year, supporters of the dominant political party
          attempted to propagandize an opposing Senate candidate,
          as pro Wobbly. The prop attack worked.
          Soon the code word Wobbly, stimulated talking points,
          with many partisans here in Ravalli County.
          Perhaps also up in the Flathead, and in other
          Montana Counties with lop sided partisan power.

          An example, I would characterize Ravalli County
          partisan process as:
          a “One Party opposed by another political party
          1/6 in size, 1/15 in resource$.”

          Anyway, last year, around here, for the majority,
          the quickest way to ID your partisanship,
          was to sneer at “Wobbly” association
          of the candidate fo the US Senate.

          Recently the Wobbly association appears on MontanaCowgirl. Kevin helps to de-demonize, de-mythologize Wobblies in Montana. That work is here and now critical.

          Dave, imo only, each of your here three side by side posts,
          appear as fool’s errands.

          How about something for real in real time!
          Say prospective names for vetting for Lt. Governor of Montana.

          • Bob,
            Kevin can claim the Wobblies are full of anti-Coms and antifascists — and that’s fine, both of those were bustardizations of “socialism.”
            There are too many people who pretend that Sovietism and Maoism were bustardizations of “true Communism” in which workers control the means of production and/or to each his needs, from each his ability.
            But it all boils down to a socialist model that doesn’t seem to work that well — in case you haven’t noticed, we are running out of other people’s money.
            Amanda is openly a socialist. I watched some of her vids, even before the Greatest Hits video, and was not impressed. Socialism doesn’t poll well in Montana.
            How about Mary Sexton?

            • Dave, sweeping everything under a socialism label,
              is another fool’s errand. Bye now, i’m going to read
              some history:

            • Dave, “Amanda is openly a socialist”!? That’s rich!! It was funny during the campaign that the right-wing propagandists accused her of being both a “socialist” and a “communist” at the same time. Well, we all know what kind of person you are now…..a McCarthyist. I would imagine you beat your wife and kick puppies too….

            • Dave, I am now asking for proof of your questionable comments about Amanda Curtis. The liberal side tends to add links to their comments from verifiable sources…. where is yours? Socialist? Communist? Prove it!

              Also Your first and only official warning for badgering the Moderator….Again.

  12. Bullock Conference Call With Reporters on the Resignation of Lt Gov McLean via KRTV NEWS:

    The entire conference call is tough to listen to. Almost too many awkward moments to list, except the one at the 5:20 mark following a Mike Dennison question was sort of interesting. Apparently some people think the Montana Press Corp must be part of the “GOP Noise Machine.”

  13. I believe Amanda Curtis would be great- I believe there are NO other legislators or former legislators who are competent enough. I also believe Tracy Stone Manning would be great.

    • That just means your party’s talent pool is

      • The snarky one liners are wearing thin Dave. Im sure you can point to why you think the pool is getting thin, substantiation of facts? I would also worry about the Moderator less. Unless you want to continue attacking commenters without any reasonable content from your own wonderful research on the right….

  14. Amanda Curtiss would make a great candidate for Lt. Governor, though as some pointed out, losing out at the legislative level would be a tough one to swallow. From all I can tell, ever since the daily youtube updates…she has character to build a much needed progressive agenda. She is inspiring, capable, dynamic and probably just a lot of fun. RunAmandaRun!

  15. I’d like to nominate an individual who has previously held the position and was quite successful: Brian Schweitzer’s dog Jag.
    He’s adept at shaking hands, can dig up a storm at ground-breakings and can probably be trained to cut ribbons.
    And he’ll probably work for a lot less than 80 grand a year.

  16. flatheadprogressive | December 5, 2015 10:25 AM at 10:25 AM |

    This is the major problem with the current state of the Democratic Party not only in Montana but in the entire country. If someone does not agree with their rigid liberal line you attack them. I have worked for Democratic candidates for the past 35 years, and have been a leader in my community on numerous progressive ideas for almost as long, fighting against big industry and right wing conservatives. My work is and has been noticed by people from around the state and because of this I have been pushed to run for several different elected positions over the past fifteen years. My public record for standing up for the poor, disadvantaged, and oppressed clearly shows that I not only call myself a progressive but that through action that I truly am. I have been seriously considering running for the state Senate this year as I have been approached by both local and state Democratic leaders to do so, what is holding me back is the fact that I am a Democrat in Flathead County, this in itself is hard enough, but what makes it worse is that we have been completely forsaken by the state party. John Tester is the only topline Democrat that ever makes an appearance here. As much as I like Governor Bulloch, he very rarely ever makes it here. I have met Angela McLean a couple different times as she is sent here in his place. I do not understand how the state party can write off a county with 100,000 people but they do. As for those accusing me of being a republican troll, I have proved myself to be a true progressive, other than writing on a blog what have you done.

  17. flatheadprogressive | December 5, 2015 10:28 AM at 10:28 AM |

    P.S. I forgot to say don’t worry I will not be posting here again.

  18. The latest from Mike Dennison.

    Emails, staffers confirm long-simmering tension between Bullock admin, McLean:

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