Montana Gov. Steve Bullock announced Tuesday that he’ll be seeking the seeking the presidency next year, joining a crowded field of Democrats that is approaching two dozen candidates.
Bullock, who is term-limited and can’t run again in 2020, was first elected governor of Big Sky Country in 2012 and re-elected in 2016, despite the GOP’s traditional dominance in the state, and in 2018 he was picked as the chairman of the National Governors Association. He’s a particularly big fan of preschool, and successfully secured a federal grant to expand programs for early learners.
“Our most important obligation is to the next generation of Montanans, to ensure they have more opportunities to succeed than we did,” said Bullock in a 2014 press release. “It’s time that Montana gives every 4-year-old access to high-quality, early-childhood education that will set them on a path to thrive through their educational career and beyond.”
However, he’s run into roadblocks at the state level. This year, Montana lawmakers rejected yet another push to create publicly funded preschool programs. Montana is one of the few states in the country without any such funding.
In a USA Today op-ed in 2018 about gun violence and gun control, Bullock wrote, “Arming teachers is absurd.”
On the ed-tech front, Bullock, along with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, signed an order last year stating that if companies wanted state contracts, they’d have to uphold net neutrality—the theory that certain internet content should not be throttled or blocked by internet service providers—for consumers. He’s also pushed for broadband internet upgrades for Montana’s schools.
And in 2015, Bullock approved a grant program to create Native American language immersion programs in five districts.
Bullock has expressed skepticism about charter schools during his time as governor. However, in 2016, he made an appearance at the first day of a charter school in his state to discuss education innovation.
Photo: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock speaks at the Des Moines Register Soapbox during a visit to the Iowa State Fair in 2018 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Charlie Neibergall/AP-File)