As Governor Steve Bullock addressed the State of the Young Child luncheon at St. Patrick Hospital, a continuing theme emerged, of how the state legislature failed to pass funding for early childhood education.

After praising the many groups and individuals in attendance who had dedicated their careers to helping children, Bullock commented on the failure of the legislature to pass his early childhood education bills in the just-completed session.

"I'm going to briefly touch on, to my perspective, the importance of early childhood education," began Bullock, "It's one subject I wish I didn't have to speak to you about. I wish I could be here saying 'just look at all the legislature accomplished and how it's going to make a difference in your community'. But instead, I almost have to go back to where I've been for quite awhile, and where I guess I'll continue to be for at least the next two years, trying to emphasize what all of you already know, and that's the benefit of getting our kids off to the right start."

Bullock mentioned the fact that almost all states, with the exception of Montana, provided extra funding for early childhood education.

"We did a lot of work on it, and businesses did a lot of work on it," he said. "In so many of those 46 or 47 states, it was led by business leaders, by chambers of commerce, because it does make a difference for our economic growth, but we didn't get there."

Bullock hinted that, should the voters approve, he would continue to fight for early childhood education in his second term.

"If I'm governor during the 2017 session, you can be sure that I'll be continuing to work on this, and that early childhood education will be in my budget."

Other speakers included Missoula Mayor John Engen, and Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss.