John Walsh (U.S. politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from John Walsh (Montana politician))
Jump to: navigation, search
John Walsh
John Walsh, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
United States Senator
from Montana
Assumed office
February 9, 2014[1]
Serving with Jon Tester
Appointed by Steve Bullock
Preceded by Max Baucus
30th Lieutenant Governor of Montana
In office
January 7, 2013 – February 9, 2014
Governor Steve Bullock
Preceded by John Bohlinger
Succeeded by Angela McLean
Adjutant General of Montana
In office
September 1, 2008 – March 2012
Governor Brian Schweitzer
Preceded by Randall Mosley[2]
Succeeded by Joel Cusker (Acting)[3]
Personal details
Born (1960-11-03) November 3, 1960 (age 53)
Butte, Montana, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Janet Walsh
Children 2
Alma mater Carroll College
Excelsior College
United States Army Command
and General Staff College

United States Army War College
Religion Christian[4]
Website Congressional website
Campaign website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1979–2012
Rank US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General (Montana)
Unit US Army National Guard Insignia.svg Montana National Guard
Battles/wars Iraq War
Awards Bronze Star medal.jpg Bronze Star Medal
Combat Infantry Badge.svg Combat Infantryman Badge

John E. Walsh (born November 3, 1960) is the junior United States Senator from Montana, serving since February 9, 2014.[5][6] A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as a United States Army Colonel, the Adjutant General of the Montana National Guard from 2008 to 2012, and Lieutenant Governor of Montana from 2013 to 2014.[7]

In October 2013, Walsh announced that he was running for the U.S. Senate in 2014 to succeed retiring Democratic incumbent Max Baucus.[8] In February 2014, Governor Steve Bullock appointed Walsh to the seat to replace Baucus, who resigned to become United States Ambassador to China.[9]

Early life and education[edit]

Walsh was born on November 3, 1960 in Butte, Montana, and graduated from Butte High School in 1979. He attended Carroll College, received a Bachelor's degree from Regents College, the University of the State of New York (now Excelsior College) in 1990 and a Master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College in 1997.[10][11]

He enlisted in the Montana Army National Guard after graduating from high school in 1979, and received his commission as an officer in the Army National Guard in 1987.[12]

Walsh is a graduate of the Armor Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, and the United States Army Command and General Staff College.[13]

Montana National Guard[edit]

Walsh as Adjutant General of the Montana National Guard.

He served in the Montana National Guard for thirty years. In this capacity he led 1st Battalion, 163rd Infantry Regiment in combat in Iraq. He earned the Bronze Star Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He also led operations of over 2,000 Guard members during Montana's 2000 wildfires.[14]

In 2008 Walsh was appointed Adjutant General and received a state promotion to Brigadier General. After resigning in 2012 to run for Lieutenant Governor he continued to serve as a traditional National Guard member (one weekend drill per month, two weeks of annual training each year), and was appointed by his successor to serve as the Montana Army National Guard's Land Component Commander. Walsh retired from the National Guard in December 2012.[15]

In December 2013 the Montana Television Network reported that a 2010 Army Inspector General report concluded that Walsh had used the Adjutant General's post for "private gain." According to the report, Walsh used his position to "pressure" subordinates into joining the National Guard Association of the United States in an effort bolster Montana's membership numbers as a way to enhance Walsh's credentials during his candidacy for Vice President of NGAUS.[16][17]

In response, Walsh stated that he disagreed with the IG, pointing out that he was not disciplined. Walsh went on to say that the IG report stemmed from a disagreement in interpreting the rules which govern when and how Department of Defense employees can take part in activities such as running for a NGAUS leadership position.[18]

Walsh further pointed out that the NGAUS position is an uncompensated one which required him to travel to meetings at his own expense. In Walsh's defense, former Governor Brian Schweitzer said that when he received the report in 2010, he considered it "much ado about nothing."[19]

In January 2014, Walsh confirmed that the 2010 Army Inspector General's report on his National Guard Association of the United States activities prevented him from receiving federal recognition as a general officer during his tenure as Adjutant General.[20] (Adjutants General are normally federally recognized as Major Generals in the Reserve Component of the U.S. Army for Army National Guard officers, or the Air Reserve Component of the U.S. Air Force for Air National Guard officers, provided they meet all the eligibility criteria.) News accounts on the IG report also indicated that Walsh received a formal letter from General Peter W. Chiarelli, then the Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army, in which Chiarelli reminded Walsh of his obligation to remain impartial in his dealings with non-federal entities, such as NGAUS. Contemporary news accounts also indicated that then-Governor Schweitzer wrote to Chiarelli to state his confidence in Walsh's integrity and abilities, and to urge his promotion to the federally recognized general officer ranks.[21]

Lieutenant Governor of Montana[edit]

In March 2012, Attorney General and presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Steve Bullock selected Walsh to be his running mate.[22] The pair won the Democratic primary with 87% of the vote. In the general election, Bullock and Walsh defeated their Republican opponents, former Congressman Rick Hill and his running mate, State Senator Jon Sonju, by 49% to 47%.[23] They assumed office in January 2013 upon the expiration of the term of Governor Schweitzer and Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger.[24]

U.S. Senate[edit]


In December 2013, President Barack Obama nominated retiring United States Senator Max Baucus to be the next United States Ambassador to China.[25] On February 6, 2014, Baucus was confirmed and resigned his Senate seat. On February 9, Governor Steve Bullock then appointed Walsh to serve the remainder of Baucus's Senate term, and Walsh resigned as Lieutenant Governor.[26] He was sworn in on February 11, taking the oath from Vice President Joe Biden.[27][28]

2014 election[edit]

On October 3, 2013, Walsh announced his intention to run for the seat of retiring Senator Max Baucus. On February 9, 2014, Walsh was appointed to replace Baucus in the Senate after Baucus stepped down early, making Walsh the incumbent in the race.[29] Rancher Dirk Adams and former Montana Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger also ran for the Democratic nomination.[30][31][32][33] Walsh has been endorsed by Governor Bullock, Senator Jon Tester, and former Senator Max Baucus, an arrangement which was criticized by his opponent as being "politically motivated," designed to give Walsh an advantage in the election by making him an incumbent, which would aid fundraising efforts.[34] Walsh defeated Adams and Bohlinger in the June 3, 2014 primary election.[35] Republican Congressman Steve Daines defeated two other candidates in the Republican primary and is Walsh's opponent in the general election.[33] Walsh has been endorsed by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.[36][37]

Committee assignments[edit]

Legislative work[edit]

Walsh has supported passage of the Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act and reauthorization of the Native American Languages Act of 1990. He said of his decision, "Preserving Native languages is essential to improving education for tribal nations.”[39] Along with six other Democrats in the Senate, Walsh co-sponsored the Small Business Tax Credits Accessibility Act, which was introduced in the House of Representatives on February 28.[40][41] He and Daines both supported the North Fork Watershed Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 2259; 113th Congress), which proposed to "protect both sides of the Flathead River drainage from energy and mineral development."[42] The bill passed in the House, but Senate Republicans prevented it from being voted on, killing it in the Senate.[43] He has asked Congress to support the Keystone Pipeline and proposed to leave infrastructure decisions to the State Department, instead of the President.[44] He has supported funding the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, extending tax credit for wind energy, and passing the Medicare Protection Act.[45][46][47] Along with many Democrats and one Independent, he supported the Paycheck Fairness Act.[48]

On June 18, 2014, in a speech before the Senate, he urged "'extreme caution' in the U.S. response to violence in Iraq." He also spoke briefly about his experiences in Iraq as an infantry officer, and urged other Congressmen to consider the ongoing impacts of war in their decision.[49]


Walsh met his wife, Janet, in college. The couple has two grown sons. Michael is a member of the National Guard and Taylor is pursuing an acting career.[50][51]


  1. ^ Montana's United States Senators,
  2. ^ Martin J. Kidston, Helena Independent Record, New Adjutant General set to Take Command of Guard, September 5, 2008
  3. ^ Kristin Price, Beartooth NBC, New Adjutant General, March 8, 2012
  4. ^ "Roll Call New Member Profiles: 113th Congress John Walsh, D-M.T. (Senate)". February 24, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Montana Governor appoints Lt. Governor to Senate", Washington Post, February 7, 2014.
  6. ^ Donna Cassata, Associated Press, Huffington Post, John Walsh Sworn In As Montana Senator, Replacing Max Baucus, February 11, 204
  7. ^ Dennison, Mike (January 19, 2014). "Critical review blocked Walsh from promotion to Army general". Missoulian. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  8. ^ Washington Post, Montana Democrats Get Higher Profile US Senate Candidate They Have Been Searching For, October 3, 2013
  9. ^ Washington Post, Montana governor appoints Lt. Gov. John Walsh to Senate, February 7, 2014
  10. ^ Montana Democratic Party, Biography, John Walsh, 2012
  11. ^ The Missoulian, Biography, John Walsh, March 8, 2012
  12. ^ Charles S. Johnson, Billings Gazette, Bullock to Name Gen. Walsh as Running Mate, March 7, 2012
  13. ^ Montana National Guard, Biography, John E. Walsh, 2008
  14. ^ Montana Kiwanis, Speaker's biography, John Walsh, page 1, 2013
  15. ^ Montana.Gov, Biography, Lieutenant Governor John Walsh, retrieved October 23, 2013
  16. ^ Sanjay Talwani, KRTV-TV, Army Report Cites Walsh for Improper Private Gain During MT National Guard Service, December 28, 2013
  17. ^ U.S. Army Inspector General, Report of Investigation, Colonel John E. Walsh, August 30, 2010
  18. ^ Charles S. Johnson, Billings Gazette, Walsh disputes Army report he used National Guard General’s Post for Private Gain, December 28, 2013
  19. ^ Army Times, Army IG: Mont. Politician Misused Adjutant General Position, December 31, 2013
  20. ^ Mike Dennison, Montana Standard, Adverse Report Prevented Walsh From Promotion to Army General, January 18, 2014
  21. ^ Montana Standard, Schweitzer Wrote Army Defending Walsh After IG Report, January 18, 2014
  22. ^ Johnson, Charles S. (March 9, 2012). "Bullock makes pick of Walsh as running mate official". Independent Record. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  23. ^ Charles S. Johnson, Billings Gazette, Bullock Defeats Hill in Montana Governor Race, November 7, 2012
  24. ^ Charles S. Johnson, The Missoulian, Bullock Sworn in as Montana's 24th Governor, January 7, 2013
  25. ^ Daniel Strauss, Talking Points Memo, Obama Announces Nomination Of Max Baucus As China Ambassador, December 20, 2013
  26. ^ Matt Volz, Associated Press, ABC News, Lt. Gov. John Walsh Chosen for Baucus' Senate Seat, February 7, 2014
  27. ^ Jose Delreal,, John Walsh Appointed to Montana Senate Seat, February 7, 2014
  28. ^ Susan Davis, USA Today, John Walsh Sworn in as Montana’s Junior Senator, February 11, 2014
  29. ^ Johnson, Charles (7 February 2014). "Bullock taps Walsh for Senate seat". Billings Gazette. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  30. ^ Mike Dennison, "Democratic US Senate Candidate Runs Bold Shoestring Campaign", Missoulian, April 28, 2014
  31. ^ Mike Dennison, "US Senate Candidate Adams Touts Environment Business Background", Missoulian, April 27, 2014]
  32. ^ KXLH, Bohlinger announces candidacy for U.S. Senate, November 7, 2013
  33. ^ a b Delreal, Jose (7 February 2014). "John Walsh appointed to Montana Senate seat". Politico. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  34. ^ Mike Dennison, Daines campaign ad attacks Walsh appointment to U.S. Senate a 'buy-off', Missoulian, March 19 2014
  35. ^ Associated Press, The Huffington Post, John Walsh Wins Primary In Montana Senate Race, June 3, 2014
  37. ^ Johnson, Charles S. (March 8, 2014). "Planned Parenthood head: Montana race critical for Democratic Senate control". Billings Gazette. Retrieved June 8, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Walsh nominated to serve on 4 U.S. Senate committees". 24 February 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  39. ^ Office of Senator John Walsh (2014-05-16). "Walsh Fights to Protect and Maintain Tribal Languages". Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  40. ^ "Sens. Franken, Begich, Hirono, Shaheen, Landrieu, Warner, Walsh Co-Sponsor Legislation to Expand Tax Credits to Small Businesses". February 28, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  41. ^ "Summary: H.R.4128 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)". Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  42. ^ Scott, Tristan (March 4, 2014). "North Fork Watershed Protection Act Passes U.S. House". Flathead Beacon. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  43. ^ Walsh, John (April 3, 2014). "Walsh Disappointed that Senate Fails to Pass Landmark Conservation Bill to Protect North Fork". Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  44. ^ Lutey, Tom (May 8, 2014). "Walsh: pass Keystone, remove Obama from cross-border infrastructure decisions". Billings Gazette. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  45. ^ "Letter". MApril 4, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  46. ^ "Letter to Ron Wyden, Chairman Committee on Finance and Orrin Hatch, Ranking Member Committee on Finance - Include Extensions of Investment Tax Credit and Production Tax Credit for Wind Energy in Upcoming Tax-Extenders Package". March 21, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  47. ^ Walsh, John (April 7, 2014). "Walsh Sponsors Medicare Protection Act to Secure Health Services for Montanans". Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  48. ^ "S 2199 - Paycheck Fairness Act - Key Vote". Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  49. ^ "Senator Walsh on Violence in Iraq". Video - 2014-06-18. Retrieved 2014-06-19. 
  50. ^ Dan Bushnell, Big Sky Guardian, A New Era Begins for the Montana National Guard, Fall 2008, page 11
  51. ^ Charles S. Johnson, The Missoulian, Democrat Bullock Taps Former Montana Adjutant General for Lieutenant Governor, March 8, 2012

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
John Bohlinger
Lieutenant Governor of Montana
Succeeded by
Angela McLean
United States Senate
Preceded by
Max Baucus
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Montana
Served alongside: Jon Tester
Party political offices
Preceded by
Max Baucus
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Montana
(Class 2)

Most recent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Cory Booker
as U.S. Senator from New Jersey
Order of Precedence of the United States Succeeded by
Current Governors
as Governors in order of statehood other than that in which the event is held
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Cory Booker
Seniority in the U.S. Senate
Least senior senator