CANDIDATES — Neil Livingstone and Ryan Zinke, running on the ticket together for governor and Lt. Governor were Conrad Thursday to visit and talk with constituents. I-O Photo by Buck Traxler
By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
You couldn’t miss their motor-home style campaign bus, parked for awhile on Main Street last Thursday.
The Republican governor-lieutenant governor ticket of Neil Livingstone and Ryan Zinke stopped by the Home Café and met with a group of people and then chatted with customers before heading down the road to their next stop on the campaign trail.
While the election is more than a year away, candidate hopefuls are in full swing, vying for their respective offices and constituent votes.
Livingston and Zinke may be two of the most down to earth candidates voters will run across this election cycle, despite the fact they have four master’s degrees and a Ph.D. between them.
The elder Livingstone, age 64, was born in St. Louis. Raised in the state’s capital, he calls Helena home.
Presently he is the Chairman and CEO of ExecutiveAction LLC, a security, investigation and natural disaster mitigation business that he is moving from the nation’s capital to Helena.
Livingstone is a graduate of Helena High School and received a bachelor’s degree in government from William and Mary College in 1968. He went on to obtain a Master’s Degree from UofM-Missoula in Political Science, a Master’s in arts-in-law, and diplomacy and a doctorate, all in international affairs, from Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts) in 1994.
The Fletcher degrees were awarded simultaneously, although he completed the requirements for them all separately, Livingstone explained.
In 1998, he created and started GlobalOptions, Inc., another consulting business and risk management company. This business eventually went public in 2005 and went on NASDAQ in 2007.
He was also the lead director of Erickson Air-Crane, a $186 million helicopter company headquartered in Central Point, Ore.
You may recall seeing Livingstone on TV. He has been a commentator on terrorism, intelligence and national security and Tom Brokaw, former NBC news broadcaster, called him, “One of America’s preeminent authorities on terrorism.”
He is a life member of the NRA and a supporter of the Montana Historical Society and the Helena Symphony.
He would like to get rid of the corporate and business taxes and work on streamlining Workman’s Comp.
“I know about business,” he said, “I sign the front of checks, not the back.”
Zinke was born in Bozeman and raised in Whitefish, the place he still calls home.
He is the CEO of Continental Divide International, a business development consulting company.
He is a graduate of Whitefish High School and went on to receive a degree in geophysics from the University of Oregon. Zinke was an all conference center on their football team.
He has a Master’s degree in business administration from National University and another in global leadership from the University of San Diego.
Zinke served in the U.S. Navy from 1985-2008. He was a deputy commander of Special Forces in Iraq, Commander of Joint Task Forces in Kosovo and Bosnia and a mission commander for Navy SEAL Team Six.
“We’re here to start a revolution,” says Zinke who was elected to the Montana Senate in 2008 and is chairman of the Senate Education Committee.
The two candidates are in agreement that there will be no Governor’s Ball. “We’ll be working that night,” says Livingstone.