Guest piece from five Montanans who moved to Iowa to organize for Governor Steve Bullock — Bullock for President Iowa Organizers Rio Aagaard-Shively, Alice Boyer, Shelby Fisher, Korbin Bragstad, and Harry Child.
Montana has been a home that’s given more than we could have asked: the small communities that nurtured us, the quality public schools that taught us, and the opportunity to grow up exploring the vast expanses of our incredible public lands.
You may have heard that Montana, like Iowa, voted for Trump in 2016. That’s true. But unlike other Trump states, the people of Montana have come together to pass major progressive victories like expanding Medicaid to cover nearly 100,000 people, record investments in public education, and protecting public lands from special interests.
None of it came without a fight, and none of it happened without the leadership of our Governor — Steve Bullock.
Working with our state’s nearly two-thirds Republican legislature, Governor Bullock found common ground to make real progress, but he never compromised on our values — he has more vetoes than any Governor in state history, blocking assaults on unions and renewable energy while also stopping every attack on a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions.
As special interests were spending millions of dollars to turn back the clock, Governor Bullock took the fight against Citizens United all the way to the Supreme Court and then passed one of the most progressive campaign finance laws in the country.
In his inaugural address in 2013, Governor Bullock laid out his commitment: “My name is Steve, and I work for the state.”
In a political era defined by arrogant bluster and ignorant bravado, Governor Bullock has defined himself first and foremost as a public servant. He took that unifying refrain to every corner of Montana — and the results speak for themselves.
Strong public schools to educate the next generation. Public lands that are free and protected from exploitation. And standing up for voter rights that are the basis for public participation in our democracy. No matter where you’re from or who you vote for, Governor Bullock believes everyone deserves a fair shot at success.
Those are the values that define communities in Big Sky Country. Yet those are the values that are under attack by Donald Trump, 2,000 miles away in Washington.
Governor Bullock represents something more — a commitment to dignity, compassion, and a government that fights for a fair shot for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected. And we’re committed to helping him make that vision a reality.
So when Governor Bullock announced his campaign for President, we knew there would be no one better to spread the word of his success than those of us who have seen it firsthand.
That’s why we packed our bags and set off for Iowa to help elect the red-state progressive who can beat Donald Trump and create a government that works for everyone.
We’ve lived under Steve Bullock’s leadership in Montana — we want to live in Steve Bullock’s America.
Rio Aagaard-Shively – Missoula, Montana
Organizes in Southwest Iowa
Since 2016, I’ve been engaged in progressive activism across my home state of Montana. From youth organizing and LGBTQ equality, to labor and voting rights, I took comfort in knowing that our cause wasn’t just backed by the voice of the people. It would be matched by a fervent, uncompromising Governor focused on results.
Our country’s been pushed to the brink under President Trump, and we need a progressive at the helm who knows how to get things done. So right after Governor Bullock announced his bid, I packed my bags for Council Bluffs to help elect the leader who would bring action on the issues that can’t wait.
Alice Boyer – Missoula, Montana
Organizes in Central West Iowa
Montana’s history is rife in corruption and exploitation by out-of-state special interests — with their own profit in mind, doing everything in their power to circumvent the voice of the people.
That history changed course under Governor Bullock. He’s carried the torch forward against Big Money in our politics; kicking dark money groups out of our state’s elections and banning foreign money in our politics. He has made tangible, lasting progress to ensure our government can never again be sold to the highest bidder.
I moved to Iowa because I knew that with the right leader, we can ensure our government works for us. This fight can’t wait. There’s no leader more capable, more experienced, and more proven to get the job done than my Governor Steve Bullock.
Shelby Fisher – Ronan, Montana
Organizes in Polk County
In 2018, I volunteered for the Healthy Montana Initiative, an effort to preserve the Medicaid expansion that Governor Bullock got passed into law and that extended health care to one in ten Montanans. But after Big Tobacco shelled tens of millions of dollars in misinformation ads, the initiative didn’t pass.
I was devastated, but it served as an “AHA!” moment for me: if we don’t make campaign finance reform our top priority, we’ll never be able to make the progress on health care, education, and so much else that’s desperately needed.
When Governor Bullock beat dark money and led the successful reauthorization of Medicaid expansion the following year, it solidified my resolve: Governor Bullock gets things done, and it’s time to elect him as our next President.
Korbin Bragstad – Missoula, Montana
Organizes in Dubuque, Clayton, and Allamakee Counties
After 2016, I nearly lost hope in politics and government. I saw a system that wasn’t working and cynicism was taking over. While trying to finish college, I got an email that Governor Steve Bullock was looking for interns for the upcoming legislative session. And in that opportunity, my eyes were opened to how a government can actually work for the people who it’s supposed to serve.
Despite having a nearly two-thirds Republican legislature to work with, Governor Bullock was able to get progressive things done. To be a part of this was an amazing experience and I knew I couldn’t keep it to myself. It inspired me to pack my car, leave the state that I love, and drive to Iowa — four days after my college graduation. Governor Bullock made government work for the people of Montana; I am committed to helping him make Washington work for all Americans.
Harry Child – Bozeman, Montana
Organizes in Black Hawk County
In a time of great division, I see one candidate that truly stands out as a unifying figure. Fortunately for me, he happens to be the Governor of my home state of Montana, Steve Bullock.
He has shown time and time again that effective government isn’t about Twitter tirades or chasing donors, it’s about doing what’s best for the people. As a Montanan, I’ve seen the good work that he’s done by bringing both sides to the table — and there’s no other candidate with such a track record of getting progressive things done.
From protecting our public lands and putting real investments into public schools, to stopping every attack on reproductive rights, Governor Bullock has set the standard for how to progressively govern — even in a deep red state. He’s fought hard for the people of Montana, and I know that he’ll fight even harder for all Americans as our next President.