In January, Holly Michels wrote at the Helena Independent Record about Steve Bullock, who was finishing his tenure as Governor of Montana.

By his second legislative session Bullock partnered with a Republican to bring the Disclose Act, which increased transparency in election spending. He also found Republican lawmakers that, like him, were the subject of false statements spread by groups that didn’t disclose their donors. The bill passed with bipartisan support — as would every following policy his administration brought that succeeded.

Also in 2015, the governor successfully worked, again with a Republican bill sponsor, to expand Medicaid in the state. Though views have softened some from the GOP on the program after four years, at the time it was a very heavy lift that required an aisle-crossing coalition. “While I had the opportunity to help steward and guide it, they were bigger than partisan accomplishments,” Bullock said. “So from that perspective I’m somewhat optimistic that some of them, most of them actually, will survive the test of time.”


There’s already efforts afoot in the upcoming legislative session to undo some of Bullock’s legacy, from a bill to eliminate the office that enforces campaign finance violations to discussions about ways to alter the Medicaid expansion program.


Even with challenges, Bullock believes the houses he built will stand long after he leaves office, mostly because he didn’t construct them alone.

“Most of those accomplishments, they were grounded in at least two things, one of which was bipartisan efforts and two of which was stakeholder buy-in was bigger than the politics of the day,” Bullock said. “So many of those things, they should stand the test of time because they weren’t about me.”