Montana Public Radio is gathering information on all statewide primary candidates to publish as a resource for our audience. We asked all the statewide candidates to respond to the following questions via email, limiting their answers to 300 words per question. These are their unedited responses.
Gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte:
What is your full name as it will appear on ballots?
What is your age?
Where do you live?
What is your education background?
Bachelor of Science in engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology; Master of Science in electrical engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology
What is your current occupation?
U.S. Congressman representing Montana
Why are you running for this particular public office?
My wife, Susan, and I have been blessed to enjoy the American dream. We raised our four kids in Bozeman. In a spare bedroom in our home, we started a business, RightNow Technologies. It grew to become the largest commercial employer in town, creating over 500 high-paying Montana jobs.
I’ve spent my life creating jobs, solving problems, and serving others. It’s what I know how to do. And it’s what I want to do for Montana.
After talking with hundreds of people across our state, I heard a clear message: Montana needs a governor with strong business leadership experience who has created high-paying jobs here in our state.
Too many Montanans across our state have told me their kids and grandkids moved away for better opportunities – better jobs for better pay.
Sadly, our state’s most valuable export is our kids and grandkids. We must reverse that trend.
We must create greater opportunities and more good-paying jobs for Montanans to thrive here. When we do, our kids and grandkids will stay here or return, and the American dream will be within greater reach to more Montanans.
What makes you qualified to hold this position?
Our state confronts a crisis that requires strong leadership. The COVID-19 outbreak has created a public health crisis that threatens the health and safety of Montanans. It has also created an economic crisis, putting Montanans out of work and shutting down Montana businesses.
I am uniquely qualified to guide Montana through this crisis and our recovery as our next governor.
I spent 34 years in the private sector, building businesses and creating good-paying jobs. In fact, I am the only candidate for governor, Republican or Democrat, who has built a business in Montana and created good-paying Montana jobs. My wife, Susan, and I launched RightNow Technologies in a spare bedroom in our Bozeman home, creating over 500 high-paying Montana jobs and helping launch the high-tech industry in Montana.
As a business executive, I know what it takes to get a business growing and to create high-paying jobs. As we work to recover after the COVID-19 outbreak, that’s what my focus will be for Montana as our next governor. I will put my business leadership experience to work to get our economy going again, get Montana open for business, and get Montanans back to work in good-paying jobs.
In the longer term, we must focus on growing wages across Montana. Before this crisis, Montana ranked near the bottom of wages, and too many Montanans have struggled to make ends meet. As governor, I will put my business leadership experience to bear to grow wages and opportunities throughout Montana.
What are three policy issues that distinguish you from your opponent(s)?
I generally agree with my opponents in the Republican primary on most policy issues. Where we differ most, however, is in our backgrounds. I spent 34 years in the private sector before Montanans entrusted me to be their sole voice in the U.S. House of Representatives.
I am the only candidate for governor – Republican or Democrat – who has built a business in our state and created hundreds of high-paying jobs. I know what it takes. As your governor, I will roll up my sleeves immediately and put my experience to work to get our economy going, get Montana open for business, and get Montanans back to work in good-paying jobs.
As your governor, I’ll use my business leadership experience to bring greater accountability to state government. We have many dedicated state workers, but for too long, they haven’t been led well. As a business leader, I assembled effective teams, provided them a clear mission, held them accountable, and celebrated their success.
I’ll bring that same model to state government. I’ll conduct a comprehensive review of state agencies to eliminate waste, inefficiencies, and bring clarity of mission. We’ll ensure agencies have the resources they need to succeed and return any excess to the General Fund.
Finally, I have something no other candidate for governor has – strong relationships with President Trump, his team, and leaders in Washington. I’ve been able to use those relationships in Congress to deliver results for Montana, and I’ll do the same as your governor.
I’ve spent my life creating jobs, solving problems, and serving others. It’s what I know how to do, and I will bring that experience to the governor’s office.
What are the greatest issues facing Montana that have gone unsolved by elected officials and how would you address them?
We face a serious challenge. The coronavirus outbreak has threatened the health and safety of Montanans, but it’s also threatened our livelihood. Too many folks find themselves out of work and without a paycheck through no fault of their own. Too many small businesses have had to close their doors, because the coronavirus has shut down our economy.
My top priority as governor is to get our economy going again, get Montana open for business, and get Montanans back to work in good-paying jobs. As the only candidate who has built a business and created good-paying jobs here in Montana, I know what it takes, and I’m prepared to roll up my sleeves and start working on it immediately.
I’m committed to creating an environment where businesses can thrive, grow, and create good-paying jobs. We must peel back burdensome, unnecessary regulations that hold back the pistons that drive our Montana economy – agriculture, energy, mining, timber, natural resources, high tech, and travel, tourism, and hospitality.
I’m committed to bringing down the cost of health care and prescription drugs as well as ensuring more Montanans have access to high-quality, affordable care.
I’m committed to improving education, ensuring resources get to the classrooms and to our teachers and improving trades education so more Montanans have the skills they need to succeed.
I’m committed to protecting our communities from crime and drug use. Meth use and opioid misuse have impacted far too many Montanans. We must ensure addicts have access to treatment and a path to recovery. We must also enforce existing laws and enact stricter ones against the criminals that push drugs into our communities.
I’m committed to making state government work for Montanans again. The business Susan and I built in Bozeman focused on customer service. State agencies must also be focused on providing good customer service. Part of that means bringing new leadership and greater accountability to state agencies.