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Democrat Busse holds Helena press conference

Ryan Busse, the Democratic candidate running for governor in Montana, convened a press conference this week alongside a modest gathering of supporters. This marked Busse’s inaugural press event since officially entering the gubernatorial race. Accompanied by a small group of backers, Busse, who claims has already covered 13,000 miles hosting events across the state, asserted that his engagements have drawn diverse attendees across the political spectrum, although he did not provide specific examples.

Addressing the public and the press inside the State Capitol rotunda, Busse pledged transparency, openness, and accessibility, contrasting his approach with what he perceives as the current administration’s lack of engagement with the press and the public.

Busse’s commitments encompassed policy decisions that directly oppose actions taken by the incumbent Gianforte administration. He promised to increase taxes, maintain Medicaid expansion, discontinue Gianforte’s property tax initiatives, and support unlimited abortion rights in Montana.

As the sole Democratic candidate declared for governor thus far, Busse positioned himself against Gianforte, who announced his re-election bid a week prior. While Gianforte faces at least one primary challenger in Rep. Tanner Smith, R-Lakeside, he remains the strong favorite for the Republican nomination in the November ballot, having decisively won the 2020 General Election.

Throughout his policy positions, Busse repeatedly targeted Gianforte, criticizing the governor’s stances on property tax rebates, affordable housing, abortion access, and Medicaid issues. He asserted that the GOP has undergone a transformation and emphasized the need for changes to reclaim the state.

“This is not your grandfather’s or your father’s, or your mother’s or grandmother’s GOP. This is something very dangerous. It’s critical that we make the changes in the state to get our state back,” he said.

Regarding taxes, Busse advocated for rebalancing the system to shift more of the burden onto wealthier Montanans and large corporations. He suggested using these changes to fund affordable housing for public servants such as first responders and teachers.

Busse expressed concerns about the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) and the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks under the Gianforte administration. He pledged to rebuild these departments to better serve Montanans, address environmental concerns, and make decisions grounded in science and common sense.

While Busse expressed approval for new public-school charters, he characterized Montana’s public education landscape as a “five-alarm fire” due to teacher shortages, particularly in rural areas, and low starting salaries. However, he did not provide specific details on education policy.

Addressing the broader political landscape in Montana, Busse acknowledged the challenges for Democrats, with Republicans securing a supermajority in the legislature in 2022 and Senator Jon Tester being the lone statewide elected Democrat. Despite Gianforte’s substantial victory in the 2020 governor’s race, Busse claimed that many Republicans at his events are discontent with the current administration, asserting that 2020 was an anomaly in Montana’s political scene.

In the most recent campaign finance reports, Busse disclosed raising $262,349, spending $258,241, and carrying $36,473 in debt.

By: Politics406 staff

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