Schweitzer to Speak at Democratic Convention

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer earned a coveted speaking role at the Democratic national convention later this month in Denver, and said he will likely use the platform to talk about energy issues.

Schweitzer, scheduled to speak on the second day of the convention, was one of six Democratic governors granted a role Wednesday at the party’s big event.

Schweitzer said he plans to focus on energy, an issue he often discusses and which has brought him national attention, during the Aug. 26 speech.

“I am probably going to talk about American energy, produced in America, by American engineers,” Schweitzer said. “And, probably, talk about Montana’s role in the middle of the most important energy corridor on planet.”

Schweitzer said he will talk about oil and gas development in the region, wind power that can be turned to electricity and shipped to other parts of the country, and coal.

The governor has garnered national attention for his plans to push for the development of plants that turn coal into fuel, often putting him at odds with environmentalists that are a base for the Democratic Party.

Schweitzer has also advocated other alternative fuel sources.

National party conventions are famously scripted — and Schweitzer is famously unscripted.

The governor does not even read from a prepared script when giving his state of state speech. Schweitzer said he did not know how he would handle that at the Denver convention.

“I’ve never used a TelePrompTer or used a written speech so I doubt I can change now,” Schweitzer said.

Also speaking on the second day are fellow governors Janet Napolitano of Arizona, Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Ted Strickland of Ohio, Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, and Deval Patrick of Massachusetts.

The Obama campaign says that Sebelius and Napolitano will be the featured speakers, and address the candidate’s detailed economic plan.

The campaign says Schweitzer was tapped to talk about new economy and new energy issues.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama’s rival during the presidential primaries, is also scheduled to speak on Aug. 26.

The keynote address speaking slot at the convention was given to Mark Warner, Virginia’s Senate candidate and former governor.