Posted: Apr 25, 2013 8:20 AM by Jon Stepanek - MTN News
WASHINGTON, DC - Montana U.S. Senator Max Baucus took some time on Wednesday to reflect on his retirement announcement that continues to make waves in Washington.
He told the Montana Television Network that his decision to retire now was personal, and one he and his wife Melodee have talked about for months.
But is wasn't until Monday that he decided to make it official and his move opens the door wide open for the 2014 Senate race.
Baucus said his mother's recent passing, along with the desire to get back to Montana were the overriding factors in the decision.
He said he would have been near 80 if he would have won another term, and he wants to get back to Montana and do something new.
He outlined several pieces of legislation he wants to get through before his term expires.
Look for Baucus to try and press through a new farm bill and a new highway bill, both critical for Montana jobs. He also wants to pass the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act and the North Fork Watershed Protection Act.
Where he will be tested is getting tax reform passed. As the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee he has jurisdiction over tax reform and without a reelection battle he can be freed up to push ideas without the campaign worry.
He still has critics for his role is passing the Affordable Health Care Act, but Baucus says the law is here to stay. He added that work needs to be done on how to best implement it, saying it may need tweaking, and he is willing to listen to concerns.
In the end, Baucus is comfortable with his decision to retire, and once his work is done in Washington he told us he will look for a new challenge in Montana.