Attorney General Austin Knudsen Answers Questions on Talk Back
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen is somewhat of an anomaly among public officials because he actually enjoys the give and take with listeners on the KGVO Talk Back program.
All four phone lines were full as Knudsen took calls on Monday morning.
One of the first questions Knudsen took dealt with what he called the hypocrisy of President Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, yet his approval of a gas pipeline in Russia.
“A couple of really interesting things have happened here in the last two weeks,” said Knudsen. “Number one, there was a ransomware hacking attack that originated most likely in Russia, but on a major gasoline pipeline on the east coast. And what did we see? We saw gas prices spike, almost $10 in some of those localities on the East Coast, and suddenly everyone's concerned about pipelines and suddenly the Biden administration is having to defend pipelines.”
One of the topics that Knudsen was happy to address was the progress his office has made with the Motor Vehicle Division and its improvement in customer service since he took office.
“I'm happy to announce that we are expanding we call the MVD Express,” he said. “We brought in a private company, and they've been very successful having their own satellite office in Billings, and they're able to do expedited work and get it turned around in a matter of days, not weeks or months waiting for appointments like it has been lately with MVD.”
Knudsen expanded on the success of the MVD Express model.
“We had a trial run in Billings it was wildly successful,” he said. “We are spreading that out. We're going to have those offices in Missoula and Bozeman, and think we're looking at one in Kalispell. We're trying to get that model out to other parts in the state. It’s been very, very successful, and that's going to be very helpful.”
In fact, one of the ideas that has been most successful has been what he termed ‘an express line’ for faster service.
“We've put in a couple of express lines in some of our state offices,” he said. “Those have also been wildly successful. I actually had the opportunity to sit and watch someone come into the express line and get their real ID. I got that stopwatch on my phone from when this person came in to when they were done, and it only took 18 minutes.”
Knudsen said again how much he enjoys the back and forth exchanges with KGVO listeners, and has committed to return visits each month, hopefully next time for an in-studio visit.
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