Steve Bullock is a former lawyer and Democrat who became attorney general of Montana in 2009. He was elected governor in 2013 and re-elected in 2016 — giving him three successful statewide campaigns as a Democrat in a solidly conservative state.
Facing a term limit, Bullock has set his sights on the White House, despite pressure from Democrats to run for the Senate instead.
Here’s where Bullock stands on nine key issues in the 2020 presidential race.
Campaign finance: Overturn Citizens United, ban Super PACs
Bullock’s campaign is centered on eliminating the influence of money in politics. He supports overturning Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that lifted restrictions on corporate political spending. Bullock is also in favor of banning on Super Political Action Committees, or Super PACs, and wants companies to disclose their political donations. In 2015, he signed a bill in Montana with the support of Republican state lawmakers requiring “dark money” groups to report their election spending.
Foreign policy: Block foreign meddling in U.S. elections, end trade embargo with Cuba
Bullock has little foreign policy experience, but he has called for keeping U.S. elections free from foreign influence.Bullock has also advocated for ending the trade embargo with Cuba. He declined to discuss his views on the war in Afghanistan during a visit there in 2013, saying he was in the country to learn about its issues and that his focus as governor was on jobs and economic development in Montana, not international affairs.
Immigration: Support DACA recipients
As the head of a state bordering Canada, Bullock has largely stayed out of the political debate over immigration and border security on the U.S.-Mexico border. Earlier this year, he refused to send National Guard troops to the southern border to assist with what the Trump administration described as a national security and humanitarian “crisis.” Bullock was one of 11 governors to sign a letter urging Congress to protect the roughly 800,000 “Dreamers” who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children and are protected under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. As Montana attorney general, he also opposed a state law that banned undocumented immigrants from accessing state jobs and services.
Social issues: Supports LGBTQ and abortion rights
In 2017, Bullock vetoed a bill that barred doctors from performing late-term abortions. The abortion rights group NARAL gave Bullock a 100 percent rating during his gubernatorial election.
Bullock has also backed LGBT rights, including signing an executive order to prohibit discrimination of state employees, contractors and subcontractors based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Economy: Fewer tariffs, more jobs
Bullock has criticized President Donald Trump for his “reckless” trade war with China, which has hit farmers in rural states like Montana particularly hard. As governor, Bullock led trade missions to China, South Korea and Taiwan. He is largely viewed as pro-business and has advocated for cautious government spending. As governor, Bullock launched economic initiatives aimed at boosting local businesses and economic productivity in rural communities.
Health care: Expanded Medicaid
As governor, Bullock expanded Medicaid in Montana under the Affordable Care Act. This year, he signed legislation that aimed to lower premiums for Montanans who buy health insurance on the individual marketplace. But he has not gone as far as other 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who have called for some form of universal health care. When asked last year whether he supports “Medicare for All,” Bullock said there are “any number of different paths” to affordable, quality health care.
Education: It’s not all about free college
While many other Democratic contenders are advocating for free college tuition, Bullock has argued proposals for free college overlook apprenticeships and other initiatives that can also prepare students for work. At the same time, Bullock has also pushed for more state funding for colleges in Montana, as well as a tuition freeze for the Montana University System.
Gun control: Ban assault weapons
In a 2018 op-ed, Bullock described himself as “a gun owner who believes in the Constitution, yet also recognizes its limits.” Bullock supports an assault weapons ban and “red flag” laws that allow law enforcement to temporarily take away guns from people who are a threat to themselves or others. He also supports universal background checks, a recent shift in his views: In 2016, his campaign spokesperson said he opposed them.
Environment: Re-enter Paris climate agreement
Bullock has tried to balance the interests of Montana’s coal industry with the need to address climate change. He criticized Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. Before the Trump administration revoked the Clean Power Plan, Bullock led an effort to comply with the Obama administration initiative to reduce pollution from power plants, but shied away from giving his full-fledged support for the policy.