He was almost too nice of a guy to be governor. That's how former State Senator John Brenden (R-Scobey) described the late Montana Gov. Stan Stephens. This, after news began to circulate over the weekend that Stephens had passed away.

Brenden called in to our Montana Talks statewide radio show to tribute the late Governor Stan Stephens.

According to his bio shared by the National Governor's Association:

Stan Stephens was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He moved to Montana when he was 19. He had a 38-year career in broadcasting that included service with the U.S. Armed Forces Broadcast Network during the Korean War. In 1975, he earned the prestigious Edward R. Murrow award for journalistic excellence in editorials for uncovering a scandal in the Montana Workers’ Compensation Program. He began his political career in 1969 with his election to the Montana State Senate. In his 16-year tenure, he served as floor whip, majority leader, and senate president. In 1986 he was recognized by the National Republican Legislators’ Association as one of the country’s 10 most outstanding state lawmakers. Elected governor in 1988, he served on the White House Advisory Council on Intergovernmental Affairs.

The State of Montana website also notes that "as a part of his term, he oversaw the 1989 Montana Statehood Centennial celebration."

His wife Ann died in October of 2017.

Sen. Brenden was co-chair of Stephens' campaign for governor.

BRENDEN: You know, in some sense, he was almost too nice to be a governor, or to be in politics. His demeanor, his witticism, his way with words, and the way he treated people so well. And probably one of the most well read persons I've ever known in my life. He was just a great guy....What he accomplished, I think for for the state of Montana was a sense of decency, honesty in government. And that's what he strived for.

Brenden also talked about how Gov. Stephens took over as governor after Democrats controlled the office for nearly two decades. But once he took over as governor, the GOP didn't control the legislature, so the Democrats "gave him hell."

Listen to Sen. Brenden's full tribute to Gov. Stephens below:

Brenden tells us that the family is abiding by Gov. Stephens wishes and having a small, private ceremony.



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