Bullock names new chief of staff with national political experie - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Bullock names new chief of staff with national political experience

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Tom Lopach Tom Lopach

Gov. Steve Bullock on Thursday named a new chief of staff, who has national political experience.

Tom Lopach, a Helena native who’s spent much of his career in Washington, D.C., including executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2015 and 2016, will take over as Bullock's new chief of staff on Aug. 7.

In a statement, Bullock said Lopach's extensive experience in the public sphere will "ensure this administration continues to focus on growing the economy, creating jobs and providing essential services Montanans and businesses depend on."

The news of Lopach’s hire comes just two days after it was revealed that Bullock, a Democrat, has formed a political action committee that can raise money for a possible run for federal office.

Bullock said Tuesday he’s concentrating on his “dream job” as governor, and that the Big Sky Values PAC will pay for expenses he incurs while traveling to out-of-state events. He declined to say whether he’s running for any particular office in the future, but said he believes Montana “has an important voice to lend to the national discussion of how to get things done.”

Sources have told MTN News that Bullock may consider a challenge to U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., in 2020. The New York Times also reported on Monday that Bullock may even be looking at running for president in 2020.

Bullock won re-election to a second term as governor last November and can’t run for a third term in 2020, because of state term limits.

Lopach will replace Bullock’s current chief of staff Tracy Stone-Manning, who is leaving to become associate vice president of the National Wildlife Federation in Missoula.

Bullock said it was "bittersweet" to see Stone-Manning leave and called her "a skilled administrator, trusted adviser and close friend." 

Lopach said he's looking forward to working for Bullock and helping continue the good work the administration has done.

"From early-childhood education to Medicaid expansion to creating jobs in the outdoor and high-tech economy, while protecting our clean air and water and public lands, Steve is getting things done for folks in Montana," Lopach said in a statement. 

Lopach currently works for Subject Matter, a communications and lobbying firm in Washington, D.C. He was chief of staff for Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester from 2010 to 2014, and led the DSCC while Tester was chair in 2015 and 2016.

Lopach also has worked as finance director for the DSCC and senior vice president of congressional affairs for the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

About Mike Dennison

MTN Chief Political Reporter Mike Dennison joined MTN News in August 2015 after a 23-year career as a newspaper reporter covering Montana politics and state government. While some may believe that politics are boring, Mike firmly believes that's not the case if you tell the story with pizzazz and let people know why the story is important.
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