Monday, November 07, 2005

The Helena Independent Record gets 'personal' with Brian Schweitzer

We can't really call it a 'political' article in The Helena Independent Record but it's still a worthwhile read on Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer:
He’s not all politics
By MARTIN J. KIDSTON - IR Features Writer - 11/07/05

A fan of John Cougar and author James Michener, Gov. Brian Schweitzer has a decidedly lighter side, which he’s fond of sharing when not talking politics.

His black polyester slacks don’t quite cover the scuffed toe of his equally black work boots. But as the light glints off the airplane’s window at 16,000 feet, the governor’s bolo tie shines as brightly as his enthusiasm. Even as Brian Schweitzer works the daily grind as the state’s first Democratic governor since Ted Schwinden was elected in 1981, he’s not all politics all the time.

In fact, there’s a decidedly lighter side to the man who has made developing Montana’s energy resources one of his top political issues.

On a recent flight to Washington to welcome the first wave of Montana soldiers back from Iraq, the governor showed he could banter with the best of them, telling stories and, on the way home, even singing a song or two.

When the conversations died he turned to his newest book, “More Montana Campfire Tales,” by Dave Walter, before pulling out a game of Trivial Pursuit and putting his passengers to the test.

“What 1975 blockbuster sees Roy Schneider utter, ‘We need a bigger boat’?” the governor read from the card. The answer came from the back of the plane. “Jaws.”

That was an easy one. But truth be told, Schweitzer said he doesn’t have time to watch movies.

“I might watch a movie on TV or HBO or something,” he said. “But even when I wasn’t governor, I didn’t have time to go to the movies.”

Schweitzer does make time for music, though he doesn’t yet have an iPod and his taste for pop culture goes back to an earlier time. In passing, he did mention Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, but he left the likes of Nelly, Atomic Kitten and Shakira out of the conversation.

Pressed with the question, Schweitzer showed little hesitation as he declared his two favorite songs — John Cougar’s 1985 hit “Small Town,” and Jerry Jeff Walker’s 1975 release, “LA Freeway.”

“Pack up all your dishes, make note of all good wishes,” Schweitzer sang. “Say goodbye to the landlord for me; Sons of b….s always bore me.”

It doesn’t sound familiar but that’s no surprise given how most of the reporters on this flight could pass as one of the governor’s children.

But the generation gap hasn’t hurt Schweitzer’s “cool” factor. In fact, Rolling Stone Magazine recently ranked him as the nation’s “hot governor” in its 2005 “Hot List” issue.

Schweitzer only grinned about the publicity and said his daughter doesn’t think he’s as “cool” as Rolling Stone does.
For the rest of the article, go here.


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