HELENA – Gov.-elect Steve Bullock completed his Cabinet appointments Wednesday, retaining Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s directors of the departments of Agriculture and Military Affairs and selecting a new Indian Affairs director.
He said he is keeping Ron de Yong as director of the Agriculture Department and Maj. Gen. Matthew Quinn as director of the Military Affairs Department and the state’s adjutant general.
Bullock selected Jason Smith, currently the state tribal economic development program manager for the state Commerce Department, as the state director of Indian Affairs. Smith was selected based on suggestions by the leadership of Montana’s tribal nations.
“This group of Montanans has proven their commitment to delivering results for communities across the state,” said Bullock. “They will fulfill their responsibilities with hard work and integrity, and I’m proud to have them in my administration.”
Quinn will be paid $107,580 a year, the same salary he was paid when Schweitzer appointed him to the post in April. De Yong will be paid $99,500, and Smith will receive $75,000.
De Yong, 64, has headed the state Agriculture Department since late July 2007, when Schweitzer appointed him to succeed Nancy K. Peterson, who died of cancer. He has two bachelor’s degrees, one in agricultural science and one in philosophy, from Montana State University and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Montana.
He owns and operates a family farm in Kalispell and has taught agriculture policy and economics at California Polytechnic State University.
De Yong was an economist for the National Farmers Union and has been a state director for the Montana State Farmers Union. De Yong also was a state committee member for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Services Agency.
Quinn was assistant adjutant general prior to his promotion to adjutant general and commander of the Montana Army National Guard.
He served two tours of duty in Iraq, as a company commander in 1991 in Operation Desert Storm and as a battalion commander in operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003-2004.
Quinn has an a bachelor’s degree electrical engineering from MSU and a master’s degree in business administration from UM. He also has a master’s of strategic studies at the U.S. Army War College.
Smith, prior to his appointment of state tribal economic development program manager at the Commerce Department, worked at the Native American Development Corp. in Billings and for the Montana Democratic Party, where he helped lead get-out-the-vote efforts on reservations.
He also served as an executive assistant to the chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and as a Democratic aide during the 2009 Legislature.
Smith has a bachelor’s degree in business entrepreneurship from the Salish Kootenai College.