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Gianforte's office says he will return 'early and quickly' amid flooding disaster

Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras
Josh Burnham
/
Montana Public Radio
Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras.

Montana’s governor is on a personal trip out of the country. Gov. Greg Gianforte’s office says he’s expected to return “early and as quickly as possible” given the disastrous flooding throughout the state. It’s unclear where the governor is and when he will return.

In a news release, Gianforte’s office said the governor’s personal trip has been long-planned with First Lady Susan Gianforte, and they left late last week. Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras is acting governor and overseeing the state’s on-the-ground response to the flooding in the meantime.

Gianforte’s spokesperson Brooke Stroyke said the governor gave both verbal and written authorization to Juras to issue a state disaster declaration.

Stroyke wrote that Gianforte has received briefings from the Montana Disaster and Emergency Services agency, local officials, the Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

Gianforte’s office did not respond to questions about where Gianforte is traveling and why the public was not alerted when Juras took over executive responsibilities. Gianforte’s absence was first reported Tuesday by the Montana State News Bureau.

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