BILLINGS – In 1988, Republican Stan Stephens and Democrat Tom Judge were vying for the chance to serve Montanans as governor. The issues these two political veterans were debating in the run-up to the election resonate quite clearly with the issues up for debate 30 years later.
Back then, it was a time when Montanans were seeing their neighbors and children pull up stakes and seek opportunity elsewhere, and Stephens and Judge were trying to convince them that they had the plan and the experience to bring that opportunity back.
A key issue in that debate is one that persists in Montana decades later: that delicate balance between environmental protection and a secure economy.
Watch the Q2 Rewind above to get a sense of their candidate forum on the Montana Television Network in 1988.
Tom Judge was attempting a bold political comeback, after having served as governor from 1973 to 1981. He was denied that chance when Stan Stephens won the election by about 21,000 votes, becoming the first Republican to hold that seat in 20 years.