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Guest view: Schweitzer supports Graybill

Guest view: Schweitzer supports Graybill

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Brian Schweitzer

BRIAN SCHWEITZER

I know a thing or two about Democratic politics and I know what makes a good Attorney General. You’ve got to be an independent watchdog, with a distaste for political nonsense and the guts to take on the big fights for Montana.

That’s why I’m supporting Raph Graybill for Attorney General.

First, I’ve known and worked with Raph for over 16 years now. Raph is from my neck of the woods, central Montana. He was born and raised in Great Falls, and has those same high plains values that guided my time in public service. People from outside of Helena think differently about how to run things. They try to fix a fence instead of buying a new one. They try to save a dollar instead of spending one. That's a good mentality to have in government. Combine that with a real record of success in the courtroom, and you’ve got an Attorney General candidate who is dangerous to politics as usual.

Second, he’s got a winning record as a real advocate for Montana citizens. Governor Bullock hired Raph as his attorney, and set him loose. And he’s delivered. Raph sued the IRS and beat them, helping keep dark money groups out of our elections. He fought in the Supreme Court to defend the rights of workers and to protect public education. And he beat the current Attorney General — embarrassing him, even — in the Montana Supreme Court, on a case that protected public lands in Montana, where wealthy out-of-state billionaires wanted to build mansions and cut us off from great antelope, elk, and bird habitat.

That’s not talk, that’s a record of real results.

Third, Raph has the kind of life experience I look for in a leader. In college, he joined the NYPD as an auxiliary officer, walking a beat in New York City, helping crime victims, and giving back to his community — quite a feat for a kid from Great Falls. As a private lawyer, Raph took on big banks and big healthcare companies who were busy ripping people off. He learned their corporate tricks and beat them. That’s why Governor Bullock hired him to be his top lawyer and fight for Montanans in the Governor’s office.

And finally, Raph Graybill is not a politician and he doesn’t take corporate PAC money. I never did either. I got into politics because of the theft I saw going on in our country with pharmaceutical corporations charging Montanans to access life-saving medications. Twenty years later, those same pharmaceutical corporations are still at it.

So why does this all matter? When I think of the kind of Attorney General I want, I think of someone who will block pharmaceutical companies from charging $50 for a pill that costs $1 to produce; who knows how to protect places we love to hunt and fish. Someone who understands that corporate influence should be kept as far from the Capitol as possible, and ordinary citizens should be let in anytime. When you’re hiring an Attorney General, you want to hire someone who relishes the big fight, and won’t ever compromise our values.

I’ve met a lot of folks in my day running for office. Most of them want a title, to collect souvenirs at exclusive conferences, and they think sending a press release is actual work. Few want to do the hard work of fighting for Montanans against the greed and corruption of wealthy and powerful interests.

As a former Governor, I know what it means to have experienced and skilled people in the legal department. I also know our party needs a future in Montana. There is no one stronger to do the work of the Attorney General than Raph. He gives us a real shot at the future. Join me in supporting him.

Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, was a two-term governor of Montana.

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