Crucible Episodes (old)


Episode 04: The Force of the Fox: Alec Hansen on Governor Forrest Anderson's Leadership and Political Acumen - In the Crucible of Change

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2015

Streaming Media


Montana Governor Forrest Anderson was perhaps the most experienced and qualified person ever to be elected as Governor of Montana. Having previously served as a county attorney, a member of the legislature, a Supreme Court Justice, and twelve years as Attorney General, Anderson roared to a large victory in 1968 over the Incumbent GOP Governor Tim Babcock. Though the progressive change period in Montana began a few years earlier, Anderson’s 1968 win catapulted progressive policy-making into the mainstream of Montana political and governmental affairs. He used his unique skills and leadership to craftily architect the reorganization of the executive branch which had been kept weak since statehood so that the peoples’ government would not be able to challenge corporations who so dominated Montana. Anderson, whose “Pay More, What For?” campaign slogan strongly separated him from Tim Babcock and the GOP on the sales tax issue, not only beat back the regressive sales tax in the 1968 election, but oversaw its demise at the polls in 1971, shaping politics in Montana for decades to come. Anderson also was a strong proponent of the concept of a new Montana Constitution and contributed strategically to its calling and passage. Anderson served only one term as Governor for health reasons, but made those four years a launch pad for progressive politics and government in Montana.

In this film, Alec Hansen, Special Assistant to Governor Anderson, provides an insider’s perspective as he reflects on the unique way in which Governor Anderson got things done at this critical period “In the Crucible of Change.”