FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 14th, 2022
During Disaster Flooding, Gov. Gianforte Chooses to Not Return to Montana; Fails to Tell Public That Lt. Gov. Is Serving as Acting Governor
Helena, MT – Tuesday morning – more than 36 hours after the devastating flooding hit South Central Montana – the Office of the Governor declared a state of disaster for flooding in Carbon, Park, and Stillwater counties– however, it wasn’t Governor Greg Gianforte who signed the executive order. It was his lieutenant governor, Kristen Juras, who signed as “Acting Governor.”
For more than 36 hours after the flooding began, Governor Gianforte kept his out-of-country travel a secret, only admitting to the public or the press that the Lieutenant Governor was serving as Acting Governor once the story broke.
Gianforte owes Montana answers:
- Where is he? And what is he doing that he thinks is more important than leading Montana through this crisis?
- 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?
According to Montana state code, in order for a lieutenant governor to assume the duties of Acting Governor, the sitting governor must either request that they serve in writing, the sitting governor must be out of the state for more than 45 days, or be otherwise “unable to communicate.”
“This flooding has and will continue to inflict devastation on the communities in south central Montana. Why did Governor Gianforte think it was appropriate to lie to the public during this crisis? Where is he? Was he planning on telling the public that he had asked his lieutenant to serve as Acting Governor?” asks Sheila Hogan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “Montana needs a governor who can lead us through emergencies, like the one we face now. Instead, Governor Gianforte chose to leave the country instead of show up for work.”
Background: Monday, a massive flood tore through Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding Carbon, Park, and Stillwater counties, closing the park, devastating and stranding communities, and destroying bridges and roads. The effects of this natural disaster will be profound and long lasting.
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