Montana Gubernatorial Race Focuses on Agriculture

In their most recent debate earlier this week, the Republican, Democratic, and Libertarian candidates for the Montana Governorship met in Great Falls to discuss agricultural policy and property taxes.

The November 6 gubernatorial election will determine who will replace outgoing Governor Brian Schweitzer, who is ineligible for reelection due to term limits. Given the importance of agriculture to the Montana economy, it is unsurprising that it has remained a major political issue for the last several elections. Governor Schweitzer, for example, was a farmer and US Department of Agriculture officials before being elected governor.

During the debate, both Democrat Steve Bullock and Republican Rick Hill listed their agricultural bona fides. Bullock cited his position as the state’s attorney general. “I’ll be a fighter for agriculture,” Bullock said, listing what he had done as attorney general to fight high rail shipping rates. “As attorney general, I’ve tried to protect the family in family farms.”

Former Congressman Hill, on the other hand, praised the Montana State University and pledged to support the school’s agricultural program. “We need to restore MSU’s roots as a land grant college.”

 Both major party candidates appeared to agree on several major agricultural issues. Both pledged to keep protect the farm sector, both tepidly opposed eminent domain laws, and both pledged to lower property taxes, especially for farmers and ranchers.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer