An offensive denial
Friday, February 12, was a dark day. On a 30-19 vote, the Montana Senate voted not to confirm Margie Campbell, a former legislative colleague, to complete her 4-year term on the Montana Human Rights Commission. She was appointed by Gov. Bullock after the 2019 session adjourned, so required Senate confirmation this session. The sponsor of the resolution to confirm her, SR 17, asked his colleagues, at the hearing, to vote "no," as requested by Montana's newly minted Governor Gianforte. The Senate obliged.
At the time of this writing, Commissioner Campbell is the only Native American voice on the Human Rights Commission. She served three terms in the House of Representatives, in 2005, 2007, and 2009. She currently serves as Chief Diversity Officer at MSU Northern. Her qualifications are unmatched and impeccable. By law, the new Governor already gets a majority of appointments to the five-member Commission, and the Senate confirmed those three appointments on the very day it denied Commissioner Campbell the right to serve the remainder of her four-year term.
More offensive yet, our new Governor was waiting in the wings for the Montana Senate to do his bidding. On the same dark day it rejected Commissioner Campbell, the Senate requested a resolution be drafted to fill her seat. That resolution is in the hopper at the time of this writing, February 14, although the name of her successor is not yet visible to members of the public, such as me.
These actions affirm that the days of working across the aisle, deferring to interim appointments by an outgoing governor, respecting former colleagues, and searching for qualified appointments to serve on our boards and commissions are out the window. I had hopes Montana was better than this. My hopes are shattered.
I serve on the Human Rights Commission for two more years. I write this letter solely in my personal not official capacity.
Ann Brodsky, Helena