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Steve Bullock (Montana politician)

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Title: Steve Bullock (Montana politician)  
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Subject: Montana gubernatorial election, 2012, United States Senate election in Montana, 2014, List of Governors of Montana, Angela McLean, Timothy C. Fox
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Steve Bullock (Montana politician)

Steve Bullock
24th Governor of Montana
Assumed office
January 7, 2013
Lieutenant John Walsh
Angela McLean
Preceded by Brian Schweitzer
23rd Attorney General of Montana
In office
January 5, 2009 – January 7, 2013
Governor Brian Schweitzer
Preceded by Mike McGrath
Succeeded by Timothy Fox
Personal details
Born Stephen Clark Bullock
(1966-04-11) April 11, 1966
Missoula, Montana, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Lisa Bullock
Residence Governor's Residence
Alma mater Claremont McKenna College
Columbia University

Stephen Clark "Steve" Bullock (born April 11, 1966) is an American politician who is the 24th Governor of Montana. He has served in that office since 2013. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Born in Attorney General of Montana, where he served one term from 2009 to 2013.

After incumbent Governor Brian Schweitzer was term-limited, Bullock declared his candidacy for the Governorship on September 7, 2011. He won with 87% of the vote in the Democratic primary election, and defeated the Republican nominee, former U.S. Representative Rick Hill, in the general election, with 48% of the vote.

Early life, education, and law career

Bullock was born in Missoula, Montana and raised in Helena, the state capital. He is the son of Penny, a school board trustee, and Mike Bullock, a teacher and administrator.[1]

He graduated from Helena High School in 1984.[2] He received his undergraduate degree from Claremont McKenna College and his law degree with honors from Columbia Law School in New York.[3]

Bullock served as chief legal counsel to Montana Secretary of State Mike Cooney. He went on to work for four years with the Montana Department of Justice under Attorney General Joe Mazurek, first as executive assistant attorney general, and later as acting chief deputy (1997–2001).[4] During this time, he also served as legislative director, coordinating the Attorney General's legislative efforts. As an Assistant Attorney General, Bullock wrote the landmark opinion that guaranteed public access to streams and rivers.

He was unsuccessful in his first race for Montana Attorney General, losing in the 2000 Democratic primary to [6] He ran successfully for Attorney General in 2008.[7]

Attorney General

Bullock was the Democratic nominee for Attorney General in 2008, defeating two other candidates in the primary election in June. Bullock then went on to win the contested general election race with 52.64% of the vote against Republican Tim Fox. Bullock received 245,669 votes, more than either presidential candidate.[8]

As Attorney General, Bullock was the state's chief lawyer and law enforcement officer. He led the Montana Department of Justice, which encompasses the Forensic Science Laboratory, the Montana Highway Patrol, the Motor Vehicle Division, Gambling Control, Legal Services and the Division of Criminal Investigation.

Bullock pushed for tougher drunken driving laws and a crackdown on prescription drug abuse.[9] He introduced the 24/7 Sobriety Program for repeat DUI offenders statewide.[10] This program requires repeat drunk drivers to take breath tests twice a day. The program is aimed at keeping highways and communities free of drunk drivers, and keeping non-violent offenders out of jail and off the public rolls. The program has had success in dropping DUI offenses.[11]

The Attorney General’s office also pursued the railroad industry for monopolistic business practices,[12][13] and led the way in stopping an anti-competitive merger between two the largest meat packers in the country.[14] Bullock focused on the misclassification of employees as independent contractors and allowing FedEx to avoid paying millions in state taxes and fees. Bullock's efforts resulted in changes by FedEx to comply with federal and state laws.[15]

Bullock attracted national attention by challenging the Citizens United decision through his defense of Montana’s 100-year-old ban on corporate campaign expenditures.[16] After winning in the Montana Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the State of Montana in a 5-4 decision.[17][18]

Bullock, who authored the state's opinion guaranteeing access to rivers, streams, and public lands, worked with the legislature and Governor Brian Schweitzer to codify the access opinion into law.[19]

Governor of Montana

Bullock at a campaign event in Glasgow, Montana, October 31, 2012.


Bullock announced on September 7, 2011 that he would be a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Montana in 2012.[20] In the Democratic primary, Bullock faced off against Helena resident Heather Margolis. Bullock won with 87% of the vote.[21]

Bullock and his running mate, then Adjutant General of Montana John Walsh, proposed a jobs plan that focuses on small and medium-sized Montana businesses as the engines of job creation. Bullock and Gen. Walsh call for:[22]

  • Streamlining the regulatory permitting process and establishing a new permit tracking system,
  • Ensuring that government services meet the demands of job creators,
  • Supporting rapid growth in eastern Montana by making sure communities receive funds before or in preparation for natural resource development rather than afterwards,
  • Promoting the hiring of Montanans first for jobs inside the state paid for by taxpayers’ money,
  • Expanding in-state business activity to create a business climate that spurs faster expansion and greater business-to-business activity among Montana companies,
  • Further reforming Montana’s workers’ compensation system to reduce the number of workers who are injured or killed on the job, getting injured workers back to work as soon as possible and controlling medical costs.
  • Requiring major firms that are awarded state contracts to subcontract a substantial percentage of their work to in-state businesses.

Bullock proposed a $400 property tax rebate for homeowners in Montana to spur job creation and refund a portion of the state’s $400 million budget surplus.[23]

John Walsh, Bullock’s running mate, is the former Adjutant General of the Montana National Guard.[24] Bullock won the election, held on November 6, 2012, defeating Republican ex-US Representative Rick Hill.[25] Bullock came out on top by 7,571 votes, or 48.9%, to Hill’s 47.3%. Libertarian candidate Ron Vandevender pulled 3.8% of the vote.[26]

In September 2014, Bullock signed an executive order creating a habitat conservation plan for sage grouse in a bid to keep management of the imperiled bird in state hands rather than see it come under strict federal Endangered Species Act protections. The government said to the press: "Montanans recognize that it is in the best interest of our state, its economy and our quality of life to maintain state management of the greater sage-grouse."[27]

First term

Governor Bullock and his Lieutenant Governor, John Walsh, were sworn in on January 7, 2013.[28] Bullock later appointed Walsh to become the new Senator from Montana to replace Max Baucus, the incoming Ambassador to China.


  1. ^ "Bullock vows to create jobs and protect union rights",; accessed September 17, 2015.
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  25. ^ Networks Declare Bullock Winner in Tight Race for Governor, The Billings Gazette by Charles S. Johnson, Gazette State Bureau. November 6, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  26. ^ Michael Barone, et al. The Almanac of American Politics 2014 (2013) (Kindle Locations 48242-48245).
  27. ^
  28. ^ Newly elected Governor Bullock and Lieutenant Governor John Walsh sworn into office

External links

  • Governor Steve Bullock official Montana government website
  • Steve Bullock for Governor
  • Steve Bullock at DMOZ
Political offices
Preceded by
Mike McGrath
Attorney General of Montana
Succeeded by
Timothy Fox
Party political offices
Preceded by
Brian Schweitzer
Democratic nominee for Governor of Montana
Most recent
Preceded by
Peter Shumlin
Chairperson of the Democratic Governors Association
Political offices
Preceded by
Brian Schweitzer
Governor of Montana
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Joe Biden
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within Montana
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Preceded by
Dennis Daugaard
as Governor of South Dakota
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside Montana
Succeeded by
Jay Inslee
as Governor of Washington
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