July 11, 2006                                                         Contact:Lucas Hamilton


      Higgins brings track record of proven leadership and state government experience to position
      State Auditor John Morrison announced today that Commissioner of Political Practices Gordon Higgins has been appointed Deputy State Auditor. The Deputy Auditor serves as the chief of staff for the Auditor and stands in when the Auditor is unavailable.
      "Gordy is one of the most capable people in state government and is especially well qualified for this job," Morrison said. "We're very glad to have him."
      Morrison cited Higgins' experience with health care and economic development legislation, regulation and administration. Before serving as commissioner of political practices, Higgins ran the job service field operations of the Department of Labor and Industry and served as a legislative analyst in the legislative service division. Higgins staffed the SJR 22 committee in 2002 that explored solutions to the health insurance crisis, including Morrison's proposals.
      As the Commissioner of Political Practices, Higgins has been Montana's chief official in charge of ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.
      Higgins praised Morrison and showed enthusiasm for his new post. "I am excited about this new opportunity," Higgins said. "John Morrison has a tremendous record of getting things done and moving Montana forward. I'll be joining a great team."
      Higgins underscored Morrison's work in health insurance, consumer protection, economic development and public access to state lands. "These are accomplishments that touch the lives of most Montanans," Higgins said. "John and I are already talking about the next chapter in each of these areas."
      Higgins will assume his new post the first week of August.