Montana Republicans Pick Milburn as House Speaker

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Republicans soon to hold a historically large majority in the Montana House have picked a leader who promises a pragmatic approach to cutting spending.

House Republicans on Wednesday elected Rep. Mike Milburn of Cascade as their new speaker. Milburn represents a comparatively tempered choice next to Rep. Krayton Kerns of Laurel, who cast himself as an ardent tea party favorite.

Milburn promises to push for less spending so that taxes can be cut, and to push back against federal health care reform and wolf management.

Republicans will hold a 68-32 advantage in the House when the Legislature convenes in January.

Senate Republicans picked Buffalo rancher Sen. Jim Peterson to lead that chamber. Sen. Jeff Essmann of Billings will be majority leader.