Two Days into State of Disaster, MT Governor is Still MIA

Hadley Stack2022, Gianforte, News, Republicans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 15, 2022

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Two Days into State of Disaster, MT Governor is Still MIA

Gianforte has not shared where he is or when exactly he plans to return

Helena, MT – On Wednesday, one question is echoing around Montana: where in the world is our Governor? Governor Gianforte has been out of the country on a vacation, and has not yet returned, despite the fact that his state has been hit by a 1000-year flood that has devastated Yellowstone and most of south central Montana; that will likely shut down Yellowstone National Park for the peak tourism season and starve the gateway communities of roughly $444 million dollars in tourism revenue; that has washed away housing, bridges, and roads; that has forced an evacuation of over 10,000 people from the National Park; that has compelled the city of Billings to shut down their water plant and urge residents to restrict their water usage; and that has prompted a flooding evacuation 400 miles away in Columbia Falls.

The Governor’s office has been shockingly tightlipped about the Governor’s whereabouts. Perhaps more surprising is that his office chose to lie about his absence in the first place, purposefully obscuring the fact that the executive order was signed by his lieutenant governor, Kristen Juras. Why didn’t the Governor tell the public that he had appointed Juras Acting Governor? 

“In a moment of unprecedented disaster and economic uncertainty, Gianforte purposefully kept Montanans in the dark about where he was, and who was actually in charge,” says Sheila Hogan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “Again, we ask, where in the world is Governor Gianforte?” 

How are other Montanans helping their neighbors through the crisis?

  • Rep Laurie Bishop, HD 60 (Livingston), was out filling sandbags until past midnight on Monday, and has helped coordinate and promote sandbagging in Livingston this afternoon at Park County Fairgrounds.
  • Penny Ronning, Democratic Candidate for MT-02, showed up at the safety briefing in Red Lodge for impacted residents.
  • Ruth Weissman, candidate HD 59, opened her property to neighbors and community members who needed a place to stay.
  • James Reavis, candidate for HD 50, brought water and canned goods to a Billings community drive
  • Even employees at Butte Ace Hardware drove all their sandbags to the Livingston hardware store, to help those affected.

The Montana Democratic Party continues to urge the Governor to answer these very straightforward questions:

  • Where is he?
  • Who is in charge of Montana’s emergency response?
  • When did Governor Gianforte leave the country?
  • When will Governor Gianforte choose to return to Montana?
  • Why did the Governor not publicly announce that Juras was serving as Acting Governor?

 

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