Max Baucus Retirement "A Big Loss for Montana" - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Max Baucus Retirement "A Big Loss for Montana"

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BUTTE -

Senator Max Baucus is the third most senior member of the senate. Only Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Orrin Hatch of Utah have served longer.

In his 35 years in Washington, Baucus has been a key part of major legislation from the recent health care reform bill to several bills bringing countless jobs to Montana.

In April, the 71-year-old announced he will not seek another term. It's a decision that experts say will have a large impact on Montana and the business community as a whole.

"2014 is going to be a sad year when one of the great senators who has served us for so long retires," said Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. "Working with the senator and his office over the years... they sort of "get it." They get the importance of economic development, technology development and jobs and people. And, I've seen this over and over and over again."

"It's a big loss for Montana. I don't think people understand the importance of seniority for a small state like Montana to develop the relationships, to build the connections, to build the seniority," said Webb Brown, President and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce. "Absolutely no disrespect to Sen. Tester, now Rep. Daines, but it's going to take them a long time to build the kind of influence and respect that Sen. Baucus has."

Baucus said he will use the remainder of his term to focus on legacy projects like the Farm Bill, the Highway Bill, the Rocky Mountain Heritage Act and the North Fork Watershed Protection Act.

Senator Tester is currently ranked 53rd in Senate seniority. Congressman Daines is 376th out of 433 in the House.

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