A familiar face in the world of Montana politics is once again seeking to serve Montanans, this time in the U.S. House of Representatives.
John Driscoll, who previously served in the Montana House in the 1970s (including a term of Speaker of the House in 1977), as well as three terms on the Montana Public Service Commission, will run against Democrat John Lewis in the upcoming primary. Driscoll made a brief stop in Miles City recently to discuss his campaign.
“As you know, I’ve been in politics a while,” Driscoll said. “I’m still of the opinion with my experience I can make a difference for Montanans.”
Having previously won the Democratic primary for the same seat in 2008, Driscoll pledged then not raise or spend any money for his campaign, a pledge he was able to fulfill. Ultimately defeated in the general election by Rep. Denny Rehberg, Driscoll said he will again not accept primary campaign contributions, though should he win the primary election he will accept general election contributions.
“I ran in 2008 without any contributions, because I think that’s a big part of the problem with elections,” Driscoll said. “I was elected in the primary, but without accepting any contributions in the general election, I only received 33 or 34 percent of the vote. But I did it my way. But based on that last experience, not accepting contributions for the general election was not a good idea, and the reason that it wasn’t is you just can’t get your message out.”
Driscoll’s campaign platform would encompass issues and projects statewide, such as cleaning up the Berkeley Pit in Butte and the reduction of nuclear weapons in Montana, though he said energy development in eastern Montana has become a hot-button topic all candidates need to address.
“My focus will be to encourage efficient development, distribution and use of fossil energy, as we transition to non-fossil energy resources,” he said. “To free national capital from supporting forward deployed military forces, this means assisting pipeline delivery of Bakken Oil to refinery centers. National capital will be needed to accelerate changing over our nation’s thermal-electric plant fleet to above 50 percent conversion efficiency, since we will be relying on base-load coal for the intermediate term.”
Driscoll said he will also continue to push for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, though that project once again appears to have been pushed to the back-burner in Washington, D.C.
“I hope President Obama approves the Keystone XL to help address a complex set of challenges we must face, working together to minimize the human, environmental and financial costs of getting our nation onto a more secure source of oil,” Driscoll said. “Montanans must bring their environmental stewardship and rights to solving the problems they will be identifying, to aid safer transport of oil.”
A graduate of Hamilton High School, Driscoll earned a Bachelor’s Degree in political science from Gonzaga University. He then received Master’s Degrees in international affairs, public administration and business administration at Columbia University, Harvard University and University of Montana, respectively.
Driscoll also spent 28 years in the Army National Guard, retiring as colonel in 2002. He served active duty in the Army, 1970-1972, working in strategic intelligence for the West Indies and Africa. He also spent three years as a joint staff officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1999-2002.