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Acting governor Juras signs disaster declaration with Gianforte out of country

Governor-elect Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters shortly after the Associated Press called the Montana governor's race in his favor as running-mate Kristen Juras looks on, Nov. 3, 2020.
Nick Mott
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Governor-elect Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters shortly after the Associated Press called the Montana governor's race in his favor as running-mate Kristen Juras looks on, Nov. 3, 2020.

Montana Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras is the acting executive of the state while Gov. Greg Gianforte is out of the country. The governor’s office did not say where Gianforte is traveling.

As first reported by the Montana State News Bureau, Juras signed an executive order Tuesday declaring a statewide disaster due to catastrophic flooding. Gianforte authorized the declaration verbally Monday afternoon, according to the governor’s spokesperson Brooke Stroyke.

Juras visited Red Lodge to get an update on the disaster that has destroyed bridges, roads and homes and led to the closure of Yellowstone National Park.

An emergency declaration means the governor can distribute state general fund dollars to meet needs that arise due to the conditions, according to the order. The declaration also allows the governor to deploy any state government services, equipment, and supplies to protect residents.

Stroyke did not answer questions about where the governor is and when he will return. Gianforte tweeted his office is asking for an expedited federal disaster declaration to open up disaster relief funds.

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