Senator gets it done quietly

When Jeff Welborn was in his second term in the Montana Legislature, he carried a piece of legislation that inspired fiery opposition: It became known as the “Dirty Ditch Bill” and it would have had some serious unintended consequences for our stream access law.

That bill died back in 2011, but what emerged out of the flames was a legislator who wanted to find common ground, rather than lobbing grenades at people with differing ideas. Welborn’s career has come full circle. In 2013, he chaired the important Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee in the House of Representatives, in 2015, he carried major legislation to ensure that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks had the funding it needed to survive and in 2017, Welborn, a rancher himself, was the quiet leader who worked behind the scenes to restore keystone programs that help landowners and sportsmen alike.

His work on Habitat Montana and Block Management earned praise from both the Montana Farm Bureau, which gave him a Friend of Farm Bureau Award in June, and the Montana Wildlife Federation, which honored him with its Conservation Award July 27. Those two groups rarely agree on much.

Congrats, Jeff, on two well earned awards.

Got something to say to Prairie Populist? Send news tips, story ideas and comments to [email protected]If you have something to submit, or an idea for a story you’d like to write for us, check out our Submission Guidelines here.