President Bush in Montana: A look back at campaigning, conservation, the centennial and compassion

Posted at 9:42 PM, Dec 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-03 23:42:21-05

BILLINGS – President George H.W. Bush made four trips to Montana during his political career.

The first visit was to Billings, while Bush was serving as vice president in 1988.

During his trip, he endorsed fellow Republican Conrad Burns for U.S. Senate at a rally at the Billings airport.

“We need him,” said Bush at the time. “We really need to get control of that Senate again.”

During his ’88 visit, Bush sat down for an exclusive interview with the crew at MTN News, speaking about the impending changes coming to Washington.

“There is going to wholesale change in a Bush administration,” said Bush. “And that is not disrespectful to those who have served, it’s just the process reinvigorates the system.”

The next year, now as president, Bush came back to help Montana to celebrate its centennial.

During his speech at the Capitol, the Republican president lauded the state for leading the way when it came to conservation.

“This great state was once the scene of an epic battle,” said Bush. “Man against nature. Too often the only question that mattered was what man could take from the earth, not how he left it or how we put it back. Well, no more.”

The president would make two more visits to the state, both in Billings in 1990 and 1992.

While he covered plenty of topics and issues in his visits, his message was always one of love – for both this country and its people.

“As I look out over this magnificent audience – ocean of red, white and blue – I see America at her best,” said Bush at a Billings rally in 1990.

“This country’s strength has always been her people – people who for generations have always helped – not only for the neighbor next door – but for the stranger down the street.”

Gov. Bullock released the following statement:

“George H.W. Bush was a steady hand, a strong leader, and had an unwavering courage defending our American values at home and abroad. He was not afraid to do what was right for the American people, regardless of party. His legacy is a testament to how we should lead.”

U.S. Senator Jon Tester released the following statement about the life of President George H.W. Bush:

“President Bush was a statesman who lived the meaning of service. His deeply held values made him a giant at a time where bitterness and division were all too common. We must remember his legacy and commit ourselves to the kindness he hoped for our nation.”

Congressman Greg Gianforte released this statement following the 41st president’s death:

“America lost a true hero and a dedicated public servant with the passing of President George H. W. Bush. At 18, he served as a Naval Aviator in the Pacific Theater during World War II and later served our country in its highest office. Our hearts are lighter knowing he is reunited with the love of his life, Barbara. As our grateful nation mourns and celebrates President Bush’s remarkable life, Susan and I pray for the Bush family.”

MTN News has reached out to Senator Steve Daines’ office for a statement on the loss of the former president.

Reporting by Samantha Sullivan for MTN News