Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg gave a talk recently about how there are too few women leaders. She said that out of 190 heads of state, nine are women. Out of all of the worlds parliaments 13% are women. In the corporate sector, women at the top in C-level or board positions top out at 15-16%. Sandberg says that even in the nonprofit sector, a place we think of having a lot of women leaders, we see the same thing. Only 20% of non profits are led by women. These are sobering statistics. But, at least when it comes to elected office, we have the power to change them.
Pam Bucy gives us the opportunity to elect a woman become Montana’s Attorney General for the first time in state history–one of only six in the U.S.
Bucy is the best candidate to go up against Tim Fox in the general election. First because women make up more than half the population. They vote more often than men–both in primary and general elections. Having a woman on the ticket will help turn out women voters–and that helps all democrats because women are much more likely to vote for them than for Republicans.
But the greatest reason that Pam Bucy is the best candidate to put against Tim Fox is her vast legal experience.
Bucy has been an attorney in private practice. She’s been the Chief Legal Council for the Montana Department of Labor–an agency with more than 600 employees. She spent four years as a county prosecutor with the Lewis and Clark County Attorney’s Office. For more than seven years she served as Chief Deputy Attorney General to Mike McGrath–the highest law enforcement official in the state– running the Department of Justice. She has been in the courtroom in public and private practice. She has worked with the Legislature. She has managed large agencies, and she has been instrumental in making legal and policy decisions that affect the entire state.
I know Democrats will get behind whomever wins the AG Primary next week, but Pam has the most knowledge and the experience to win in November and to hold the office of Attorney General.
Pam Bucy has a guest editorial in the Missoulian
today in which she proudly recounts how she fought, as Deputy Attorney General, for women’s prescription drug coverage, a benefit that insurance companies once denied. She writes:
Contraception has not always been a partisan or gendered issue. In 1970, Republicans and Democrats, women and men, worked together to pass landmark legislation establishing Title X. Signing the bill, President Richard Nixon stated, “It is my view that no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.”
When Bucy first took up the fight, Viagra and male pattern baldness medication were both covered by insurance companies, while birth control–a prescription 99% of women use–was not.
In March 2006, then-President of the Montana Senate Jon Tester requested an opinion from Attorney General Mike McGrath, specifically asking if this exclusion of contraception violated Montana statute. As McGrath’s chief deputy attorney general, I researched and wrote the opinion that ended gender discrimination in insurance purchasing by mandating insurance companies cover contraception if they covered prescription drugs. While these are basic services, at the time this provision was unique to Montana and broke ground in providing unprecedented access for women to contraception.
Please realize, too, that insurance industry lobbyists are donating to Bucy’s opponent. These lobbyists killed legislative anti-discrimination measures in three straight sessions: 2001, 2003 and 2005.
Groups are beginning to make endorsements in the Democratic Attorney General Primary.
To date, the groups that are endorsing Pam Bucy include:
- Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana,
- Montana Teamsters,
- Montana Conservation Voters,
- EMILY’s List, and
- Women’s Campaign Fund
The groups that are endorsing Jesse Laslovich are:
- Anaconda Teachers Union Local 502
While more organizations are endorsing Bucy at this point, Lazlovich seems to be better at putting endorsements on his website. The Bucy campaign has not yet posted their endorsements on the campaign site. Instead, supporters of the candidate are touting the endorsements in letters to the editor.
The Republican Party was rebuffed last week, when the state’s top constitutional lawyer dismissed the GOP’s longstanding ethics complaint against Schweitzer.
The complaint alleged that the Governor had broken the law because he ran a public service announcement during an election year, using state funds which the law forbids. Schweitzer has always claimed that he was simply doing his job by promoting Montana agriculture, and also that no funds were expended because the radio ad was free.
The GOP expressed outraged at the determination by Jim Goetz, the Bozeman lawyer who was deputized to decide the case by the recently appointed Commissioner Jim Murray, that Schweitzer had done no wrong. “Laughable” is how the decision was described by Bowen Greenwood, head of the Montana Republican Party. Greenwood also said that the GOP will appeal the decision.
I’d say if a radio station gives free air time to a Governor to do an ad promoting the state’s agriculture sector, then it’s hard to see why Montana citizens would benefit by having such promotional activity be illegal. And recall that the GOP chose to go after Schweitzer on this issue during 2008, when they needed to hit him hard on something, anything, to try to put a dent his numbers during an election year.
But there is also an undercurrent to this whole affair: agriculture no longer appears to be embraced by the GOP in Montana. It has been a long time since a GOP gubernatorial candidate (or governor) has hailed from an Ag background, and Rick Hill/Jon Sonju are continuing the trend. Neither Sonju nor Hill has ever picked up a shovel, planted a seed or poked a cow. Nor had Roy Brown or Steve Daines (two corporate bozos); nor had Bob Brown or Dave Lewis (two career politicians/bureaucrats); nor had Marc Racicot or Judy Martz (a lawyer and an imbecile), nor has Denny Rehberg (he inherited ranch land from his parents and developed condos on it).
On the other hand, Schweitzer and Tester, both farmers, have dominated the Democratic scene in recent years and have eaten into the Agriculture sector that perhaps the GOP once had a much stronger hold on. So it sort of makes sense that the GOP would become so irritated about the Governor doing a radio PSA supporting Montana growers. But rather than just be irritated, they became childish, but have now been slapped down, hard, and probably for good.
After reading Montanafesto’s analysis of the latest GOPer to enter the 2012 Governor’s race in Montana, I thought folks here might be interested in a look at the Dems that are being talked about for a possible AG run in Montana and Cowgirl has kindly allowed me a guest post. There are three or four democrats right now who are considering running for Steve Bullock’s seat as Attorney General should he run for Governor: Jesse Laslovich, a former state legislator; Tyler Gernant, who ran for Congress before being defeated in the 2010 Democratic primary; Pam Bucy, Chief Legal Council for the Montana Department of Labor; and John Morrison, former Montana State Auditor who ran for Senate before being defeated in the 2006 primary by Jon Tester despite raising millions.
Demographics likely play somewhat of a role. Montana has never had a female Attorney General, and there have only been twelve women AG’s in the U.S. Gernant and Laslovich are somewhat younger, and will both just make it in under the required five years of legal practice required by state law for Attorney General in Montana. Somehow, I doubt that Montanans will want to put a “barely legal” candidate up against Tim Fox, last cycles Republican candidate and a tough competitor. John Morrison would be good at raising money, but may face similar electability problems as Rick Hill.
A larger factor in the race however will be experience. Bucy’s experience includes service as deputy county attorney for Lewis and Clark County. Then in 2001, Pam was appointed Executive Assistant Attorney General for Attorney General Mike McGrath. She’s also got several years of private sector experience, working at a private firm in Helena for several years. She is currently Chief Legal for the Montana Department of Labor, which has like 600 employees. Morrison’s experience would also be formidable as the former State Auditor in charge of an agency with 70 employees.
Given the experience gap, it appears unlikely that Gernant will jump into the race. Laslovich has come closer to being publicly committed to actually running, and has more experience than Gernant, in that he has been a state legislator. He also has some anti-choice votes that will make it difficult for him to win in a primary, including voting for a bill that is essentially the personhood initiative-the abortion ban that anti-choicers have failed to get on the ballot for the past two election cycles.
For the past few weeks, rightwing radio talk show host Aaron Flint has been trying to harpoon the Food Safety Modernization Act. Not sure what his problem with safe food might be. This is the bill that sailed through the Senate Sunday with unanimous support. I guess Mr. Flint is against it because it includes a very good amendment in it by Senator Jon Tester, and it’s hard for a rightwinger to give credit where credit is due.
Tester’s amendment exempts family produce farms and food producers from what would be very expensive new federal regulations that are needed for the big food factories and huge growing operations that ship thousands of bags of lettuce to half the states in the union in a matter of hours… the companies responsible for our nation’s food-borne illness problems.
Under Mr. Flint’s rationale, since the exemption doesn’t apply to Tester’s own farm, then “there’s a chance your farm doesn’t qualify either.” Aaron Flint sounds like he’s against the Tester Amendment because “the typical family farm in Montana would not be exempt from the new regulations.“
Now I’m no farmer, but even I know that “typical family farm” in Montana probably wouldn’t even be subject to the new Food Safety Act regulations in the first place. It makes me wonder if the talking heads over at Northern News Network even read the bill.
The Food Safety Act applies to those who grow produce or make processed food. The majority of Montana farmers grow grain (like Tester) and sugar beets. The last time I checked, grain and sugar beets weren’t the cause of America’s food safety problems, rather things like tomatoes, bagged lettuces and whatnot. Ranchers won’t be impacted either because this bill doesn’t even deal with meat.
But, if you grow produce or process food in Montana, then chances are you make less than $500,000 per year in sales and you sell directly to the marketplace. If Aaron Flint had actually read the bill, he’d see that’s exactly who the Tester exempts.