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May 22, 2008



Hey, where is everybody?

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Graduation season is once again upon us, and, as usual, some news organizations will compile lists of dignitaries who'll be delivering commencement addresses. Somewhere on those lists will be Brian Schweitzer. Who's Brian Schweitzer? Answer: the governor of Montana and, by some accounts, a prospective choice for the Democratic Party's vice presidential nomination.

But that's not why he belongs on the list of speakers. No, it's because he has carved out a unique niche for himself in exhorting graduates to go forth and become productive citizens. For the second year in a row, he has journeyed to a high school in his state whose senior class consisted of ... one member. Just the other day, he was in rural Opheim, near the border with Canada, to regale Jeff Greenwood, his family, and others from the tiny community with his wisdom. (The only other student in Jeff's class moved out of state in 2004, leaving to him the roles of president, yearbook editor, and valedictorian.)

Last May, the governor spoke at Froid High School, in another little town, as Roxie Britton received her diploma. He went without prepared remarks on each occasion, apparently confident that he'd still be able to relate to his audience. After all, "I'm a small-town guy, [too]," he told the Great Falls Tribune. "Jeff is probably not so dissimilar to Brian Schweitzer."

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