Sunday, December 31, 2006

Great Falls Tribune reports on Keenan hiring

The Tribune had a story in yesterday's online edition that no other paper had yet reported, namely that Speaker Sales has hired Bob Keenan, who unsuccessfully challenged Conrad Burns in the 2006 Republican primary. He will be an official adviser to the Speaker during the legislative term.

This is the third hiring of exprienced legislators by Sales, but Keenan is by far the highest profile figure to be brought on board.

Prof. Craig Wilson of MSU-Billings and Jim Farrell of the state Dem party are quoted as pointing out the political ramifications of Keenan's keeping a high profile during 2007. This is a legitimate objective in a state like Montana, where there are few opportunities to gain and maintain statewide political support.

In a state like Montana, even losing a high profile race can help one's career by promoting hard-to-come-by name recognition, as our governor can attest.

Sales and Keenan correctly point out that in the current closely divided and partisan situation in Helena, experience could help "prevent a meltdown."

One hopes that having an experienced team will provide the right balance of getting things done for the good of the state while making clear the substantive differences in approach between the two parties. And in the process, being the ones who most act like adults.