I was sad to see Bruce Grubbs’ loss during the primary for House District 68, but that’s politics and the will of the voters is key.

During my time at the paper, I don’t think anyone in Helena has helped the city of Belgrade more than Bruce.

He worked on splitting the connection between Belgrade and Bozeman for liquor licenses. In the past, the two were joined and the community saw liquor license after liquor license leave Belgrade to the more profitable land of Bozeman. The city and the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce worked with Bruce to make the move possible in 2017.

The bill died in committee but was revived during a special session and brought onto the law books. 

No one truly wanted to hinder anyone’s property right in that action. A 12-year grandfather clause provided a grace period for any endeavor in the works.

The meaning behind the separation was to keep Belgrade intact and allow it to flourish. Restaurants make money on alcohol. That’s all there is to it. Businesses closed because of liquor licenses growing wings for the flight to the east. It was tragic.

And Bruce helped in the passage. It wasn’t an ideologue battle between Republicans. It was a plain, commonsense business appeal that helped Belgrade, which should be why we elect people.

Bruce also helped in changing a century-old law that required large population cities to form its own fire department. Belgrade was on the hook to spend millions for fire service when the city was being served well by Central Valley Fire District. The city paid Central Valley and they provided service. It was a basic supply-and-demand type business set up. But the city couldn’t continue because the law said so.

That law was amended allowing the city to successfully annex into the Central Valley district and receive the same service for the same cost. And residents get to vote on who serves on the board that governs the fire district.

And Bruce helped in the passage. It wasn’t an ideologue battle between Republicans. It was a plain, commonsense business appeal that helped Belgrade, which should be why we elect people.

Bruce also understood the basic idea that education is the key to economic stability and keeping the state intact. He was a business owner, a school board trustee and worked on a cooperative to combine the buying power of school districts in southwest Montana to reduce costs. Those endeavors brought him a perspective different from most and laid the foundation of business-sense conservative thought rather than the trappings of ideologues.

It’s basic good government and Bruce was good at it. I’m sad to see him go, but we should thank him for his dedication to the city and the state because that’s why we should elect people.

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