Governor Gianforte highlights investments, leaders building a stronger future for Montana

The following is a press release from the Office of the Governor. 

HELENA, MT- On the road for his 56 County Tour yesterday in southeast Montana, Governor Greg Gianforte spotlighted community leaders and new investments to build a stronger future for Montana.

“Montana’s best days are ahead of us, and that’s never more evident than when I’m on the road, meeting with Montanans in their communities,” Gov. Gianforte said. “Delivering on the priorities of hardworking Montanans, we’ll continue to build a stronger future for our state.”

Beginning the day with a town hall in Broadus, Gov. Gianforte visited four counties on the tour yesterday: Powder River, Rosebud, Big Horn, and Yellowstone.

In Hardin, Gov. Gianforte met with young Montanans participating in the One Heart Warriors basketball clinic.

In collaboration with Crown Financial Ministries, a faith-based organization committed to the economic development of Native tribes and its peoples, One Heart Warriors hosts students for basketball skills training and community events to support them in reaching their full potential.

Tuff Harris, founder of One Heart Warriors, told the governor, “Our hope is that through events like this, we draw kids out of the house to enjoy, laugh, play some games, and meet new people.”

Also in Hardin, the governor championed a new investment to increase the supply of affordable workforce housing through the HOMES program.

Joined by bill sponsor Rep. Paul Green, R-Hardin, the governor said, “Ultimately, to make housing more affordable and attainable, we must increase the supply of housing and remove barriers to homeownership. I thank Rep. Green for his leadership in getting this bill across the finish line.”

House Bill 819 invests over $175 million to increase the supply of affordable workforce housing, including a $105 million investment in the governor’s HOMES program to expand water and sewer infrastructure and ultimately increase the supply of affordable workforce housing.

Rep. Green added, “Thanks to the governor’s team who worked with me as we went through the legislative process to find a solution to this bipartisan problem. This bill offers a public-private partnership that’s good for the state and free market.”

The governor also ceremonially signed two bills by Sen. Jason Small, R-Busby, to promote the state’s all-of-the-above energy policy.

“Energy isn’t a luxury in Montana, it’s a necessity,” Gov. Gianforte said. “Senator Small understands the importance of our all-of-the-above energy approach, and I appreciate his leadership in bringing this legislation forward.”

Sen. Small added, “This bill acts as preventative maintenance to ensure we aren’t taking opportunity away from retailers, small businesses, and restaurants by banning natural gas or any other fuel sources. If there’s one thing we know here in coal country, it’s cheap and reliable energy.”

In Rosebud County, the governor visited Morning Star Credit Union in Lame Deer, one of four Native-owned, federally chartered credit unions in the country which opened its doors last month.

President Shannon Small shared with the governor their focus on promoting financial literacy and encouraging members of the community to establish checking and savings accounts. The credit union offers financial courses every Monday.

In the afternoon, the governor visited the Billings Limited Army Aviation Support Facility to discuss a new $52 million investment in an advanced flight and training facility.

Talking with Montana National Guard (MTNG) Col. Rob Oleson, Director of Army Aviation and Safety, the governor received an update on the progress of the project, set to break ground this fall.

The facility will serve as the permanent home to four Army National Guard helicopters and provide an additional location for National Guardsmen and women to complete required training for search and rescue and fire and flooding response.

Finishing the day in Yellowstone County, the governor cut the ribbon on the new Yellowstone Water & Ice ice packaging manufacturing facility.