Democrats are in the minority again at the Montana State Legislature, but that won’t stop Minority Leader Chuck Hunter and his party from trying to get their message out.

Hunter says the priority of his party is to improve the economy by using cash and bonds on infrastructure projects throughout the state. Another major goal is to fund a pre-k education system, but Hunter says democrats are united in opposition to voucher programs and charter schools.

"Democrats will be strongly in support of public education," Hunter said. "We will not favor privatizing public education and allowing for-profit schools to come in and take money away from public education. We view the whole education system, really, as kind of the fundamental link of creating a strong family economy, you know, kids do better when they have a strong education. So, we'll focus on early childhood education this session and student debt."

Hunter believes Democrats will be able to pull republican votes to support them on major issues.

"We had an even smaller minority last session," Hunter said. "We have 41 members this session on the democratic side in the house, we had 39 last session, so we've got two more. But last session, even with a smaller number, we formed coalitions with a number of republicans to shore up the state pension systems and do a lot of good things for the state of Montana."

Hunter says “the early evidence is good” that he will have a good relationship with the new speaker of the house Republican Austin Knudtson. So far, Hunter says his biggest concern is that Republicans have stacked committees in order to control the legislative agenda.


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