|By Charles S. Johnson, The Montana Standard, Butte|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
He said he's running for the seat held now by U.S. Rep.
"We need to focus more on solutions and less on partisan politics," said Lewis, a
Lewis, 35, who worked for Baucus a dozen years, has been laying the groundwork for several months to enter what could be an open race for the
Daines, the incumbent, is expected to run for the
Lewis on Monday told how the latest Honor Flight of
"It's outrageous and we can do better," he said. "It's absolutely disgusting. Across
Lewis didn't offer specific solutions, but said he would travel to all parts of the state to meet with constituents, if elected. As state director for Baucus, he traveled to more than 120 cities to visit with mayors about local issues and needs.
Lewis hopes to be the first Democrat to hold
"No question for the last 17 years, this seat been part of the problem, not the solution," Lewis said.
He has been raising money for the race for six weeks, and said he'll report Tuesday he has raised about
In an interview, Lewis praised Baucus' work in the
"Me running is about me, and running for
He was asked about Baucus' signature 2010 law, the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," which still remains highly controversial today.
"What I know is it's not perfect," Lewis said. "It needs to be looked at."
But he said congressional Republicans want only to repeal it, rather than improve it.
"Repeal is not an option," Lewis said. Thousands of Montanans already are benefiting because they can now get insurance despite having pre-existing medical conditions that previously blocked them from getting insurance, he said.