MISSOULA, Mont. - Gov. Steve Bullock said great things happened in the last legislative session. But he said the legislature dropped the ball in certain areas.
Bullock was the guest speaker at City Club in Missoula. He talked about missed opportunities and laid out vision for the future.
Bullock gave good marks to keeping Montana's budget tight for a rainy day. Not so good a report card for health care.
"Medicaid expansion would have created jobs -- 5,000 jobs next year in Montana alone," said Bullock, "and covered 75,000 Montanans."
The governor said Montana needs campaign finance reform. He said our states are vulnerable to powerful interests that corrupt.
Bullock told the group of business, government and nonprofit leaders that we ought to be hiring Montanans and every state around us has greater preference than we do.
"Unfortunately," said Bullock, "the legislature didn't take the opportunity to pass that."
He said Montana has opportunity as an "energy breadbasket" to lead the country in energy dependence. He said besides traditional gas, oil and coal, "there is great research going on in carbon capturing and opportunity for wind."
Bullock applauds freeing up money to build new facilities like Missoula College. But he said we need to do better keeping Montana graduates in Montana. One way to do it, said Bullock, is to make sure college satisfies workforce needs.