On Monday, after Montana Lt. Gov. Angela McLean (D) announced her upcoming resignation, Gov. Steve Bullock (D), traveling in Texas, held a conference call with Montana reporters.
McLean said she's resigning to take a job with the Commissioner of Higher Education, becoming the second lieutenant governor within two years to leave the job under Bullock.
The Commissioner’s office said that McLean will be its next director of American Indian and minority achievement. She starts Jan. 4.
McLean, a former high school teacher and chair of the state Board of Regents, will be working with tribal colleges, other schools, and students to increase educational opportunities for Native Americans in Montana.
McLean said she didn’t tell Bullock about the new job until Monday morning, shortly before the announcement was made.
Sources told MTN News that McLean, appointed lieutenant governor just 22 months ago, had had a falling out with the governor and seen a diminished role on the job in recent months.
When asked whether she’d been pushed to leave the administration before the 2016 re-election campaign, McLean said taking the new job had nothing to do with the upcoming election season.
“I believe I was an incredible asset to the governor, in forums (with the media), as well as in larger forums … like the campaign trail,” she said. “I don’t believe that (my new job) and the timing of it is in any way related at all.”
Reporters also asked Bullock Monday if he or his staff had discussed replacing McLean on the 2016 ticket.
The governor said he never spoke with McLean about leaving the ticket next year, but didn’t answer whether his staff had talked about it.
Here is the complete audio interview, including reporters’ questions: