As a lifelong Montanan, Steve Bullock understands the importance of our rural communities to our economy and our Montana way of life. As Governor, Steve has fought to keep rural hospitals open, protect farmers and ranchers, and make sure that no matter where they live, our kids have the resources and support they need to succeed. He’ll continue this record of fighting for rural communities as Montana’s Senator.
Agriculture is the lifeblood of our rural communities and one of the major pillars of Montana’s economy. Our state’s farmers and ranchers help feed our nation and the world. As Governor, Steve has worked to protect family farms and ranches and make it easier for the next generation to keep Montana’s agricultural industry moving forward.
Farmers and ranchers already face enough uncertainty as it is. That’s why we must implement policies that make sure Montana producers can get our state’s top-notch products to market. In the Senate, Steve will fight for fair trade deals that open access to markets, support expanding disaster aid to fill the gaps that crop insurance and Farm Bill funding don’t address, and take action on harmful consolidation in the agricultural industry. Steve will support programs to create more opportunity for farmers and ranchers just getting started, like low-interest loans and student loan assistance for Montanans going into agriculture.
For many Montanans, rural, critical access hospitals are the only place for miles where they can receive healthcare, whether it’s a routine visit or an emergency. The extra hours that it could take to get to a doctor if those hospitals went away could be the difference between life and death. That’s why Steve has fought tirelessly to protect rural hospitals, and under his watch not a single one has closed in Montana.
When some rural healthcare providers across the state were facing tough choices and wondering if they could keep serving their communities into the future, Steve worked with Republicans and Democrats in the legislature to pass Medicaid expansion – twice. This expanded coverage to more than 90,000 Montanans and made sure rural hospitals could keep their doors open and their communities healthy.
In today’s connected world, reliable internet access isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. People are coming to rely more and more on the internet for news, education, commerce, and telehealth and mental health services and we can’t let rural communities get left behind. In the Senate, Steve will make funding for rural broadband a top infrastructure priority and continue working to expand access to high speed internet just as he’s done as Governor.
Steve has been a strong and consistent advocate for rural Montana. He signed into law new tax incentives for constructing new crop processing plants and has stood up against consolidation that harms agricultural producers. Steve created opportunities for student loan assistance for farmers and ranchers, making Montana one of the few states in the country to offer a form of student loan forgiveness to young farmers and ranchers.
Steve fought to expand Medicaid, expanding health coverage to more than 90,000 Montanans and keeping rural hospitals open in communities all across the state. He supported successful initiatives to increase bandwidth in rural schools, making sure kids in smaller districts don’t fall behind their peers. As a result, today nearly 100% of Montana’s K-12 schools meet national standards for broadband connectivity.