Posted: Nov 19, 2012 8:17 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
HELENA - Governor Brian Schweitzer will pass the torch onto his successor, fellow Democrat Steve Bullock in just a few weeks.
Schweitzer is unlike any other governor; he sports a bolo tie and blue jeans, and his border collie Jag can usually be seen in the background following him around at events and press conferences.
He can be loud, a little snarky, and his folksy personality has become his trademark.
"I like to enjoy everything I do. I have enjoyed every minute of my life. Whether I was developing land in the Middle East or selling irrigation equipment around the world, or developing farms in Montana or growing wheat, or growing mint, or raising cattle or raising a family. I do it at full speed," Schweitzer said.
Looking back on his eight years as governor of Montana, Schweitzer says his biggest accomplishment is how he balanced the state's checkbook.
"What are the good times? The good times in retrospect is that we were just so good with money. People say, 'How the heck did you come through the Great Recession with the largest budget surpluses in history?' Well, we ran it like a ranch," he noted.
Schweitzer admits the job isn't always easy; he tears up remembering what it was like to console the families of fallen service members in the Montana National Guard.
"I can't say the things that a politician loves to say to a mother, or to a father, or to a daughter. You know, 'Your son died making this country more free,' because the Iraq war had nothing to do with that. So, I just hug them and I tell them I don't know why God chose your family for this."
At times the decisions as chief executive have weighed heavy on him, but he says he surrounded himself with an amazing staff and that's what he will miss most.
As far as his next move? He says he wants to get back into the business sector, but he isn't exactly sure what that looks like.
When asked if he sees politics in his future, Schweitzer replied, "Could be, but I doubt it. I doubt it because this is the greatest job to have in politics, to be a governor, to be in charge of a state, to be the CEO of a state. I couldn't be governor of another state. I can't be governor of Montana again. I probably wouldn't fit in in Congress or Washington D.C."
And will he slow down when he leaves office?
"Well, it hasn't slowed down since I've been 16 years old so I doubt it's going to slow down now. I love life. I love doing things, building things, fixing things, growing things and so I will continue on," Schweitzer replied.
Governor-elect Bullock will officially take the reigns from Schweitzer on January 7th.