Steve Bullock, governor of Montana, entered the Democratic primaries late, and to most people he is a complete unknown.

At NPE Action, we have been watching Steve Bullock with admiration, because he has been a stand-up guy for public schools in his state.

He has been governor of the state since 2012.

He beat a pro-privatization billionaire in 2016. 

Montana is a red state. Bullock is a pro-public school Democrat.

His children attend public schools.

He graduated from Helena High School. His mother was a school board member; his father was a teacher and administrator.

Bullock has frozen tuition at state colleges for four years to keep college affordable.

He has expanded Medicaid, with bipartisan support.

Montana has two charter schools, and they are both run by school districts.

Bullock has said clearly that choice diverts money from public schools.

He is pro-union.

He vetoed a voucher bill (“Education Savings Account”).

In 2016, he ran against a pro-voucher, pro-charter candidate, and Bullock won. As he likes to point out, he won in a state that Trump won easily. He won by four points in a state where Trump won by 21 points.

Bullock connects with people.

He understands that Montana is a sprawling state that is largely rural. Its public schools are important to their communities. He doesn’t see any reason to have “choice” of charters or religious schools.

He has picked one of the most important issues in American politics–the malign influence of Big Money in elections–and is determined, if elected, to overturn Citizens United, which lets rich people buy elections.

I don’t know if he has much of a chance in the national elections, given the high profiles of other candidates, but I like his commonsense approach to issues, the way he translates them into terms that everyday people can understand.

And I like his support for students, public schools, and public colleges.

Maybe he will break through, or maybe he will be a good running mate.

I hope that he has a chance to talk about the need for strong public schools on a national platform.