• Montana Press

Interview: Greg Gianforte

Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte was provided a full list of a dozen questions which he declined to answer. He also declined a request for an in person or phone interview. The candidate chose to answer the following questions only, in writing on October 12, 2018. To see the full list of questions presented to Congressman Gianforte and the subsequent communication with his campaign team, visit www.montanapress.net.


Montana Press: What is your background/experience in business/policy-making and legislative work?


Congressman Gianforte: I’m a small businessperson. My wife, Susan, and I started a small business out of our Bozeman home, the same home where we raised our four kids. That small business grew to become Bozeman’s largest commercial employer, creating over 500 high-paying Montana jobs.


That experience helped prepare me for the work I’m doing on behalf of Montanans in the U.S. House of Representatives. I’ve put Montana first and worked members of both parties to protect our Montana way of life – whether increasing public access to our public lands, promoting telework to increase opportunities for Montanans, or reducing burdensome regulations.


MP: Recently, a bi-partisan effort protected 30,000 acres near Yellowstone Park from extractive industry. What is your position on this legislation?


Gianforte: I am proud to have introduced the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act and to be working to usher it through the House.


As the gateway to Yellowstone National Park, Paradise Valley is well known for its fishing, hunting, hiking, and recreation that are cornerstones of the area’s growing tourism industry. Not every place is the right place for a mine, and we must protect our public lands and Yellowstone National Park. The consensus of the community has been clear which is why I introduced legislation to protect approximately 30,000 acres in Paradise Valley with a permanent withdrawal of mineral rights on public land.


I worked with Republicans and Democrats to guide this bill through the House Natural Resources Committee, overcoming objections of some of my colleagues. I appreciate my Democrat opponent’s praise in our most recent debate that my leadership “could get it over the finish line.” I’ll continue working to enact a permanent legislative solution so the gateway to Yellowstone is protected for future generations of Montanans.


MP: Do you think healthcare is a fundamental right for a taxpayer?


Gianforte: I believe every American should have access to reliable, affordable, high-quality health care. Obamacare has been a disaster. Obamacare promised to reduce costs, but they increased. Obamacare promised to preserve choices of doctors, but Americans couldn’t keep the doctor they wanted.


Obamacare must be repealed and replaced with a consumer-centered, market- based reform that lowers health care prices and provides high-quality care. I will only support health care reform that protects people with preexisting conditions, reduces premiums, and protects rural access to care. Medicare for All is Medicare for None.


While my Democrat opponent supports a path to Medicare for All, I oppose anything that will break our promises to our seniors, rob them of the system they’re paid into their whole lives, and gut Medicare. It’s extreme, reckless, and irresponsible.


MP: Do you support President Trump’s tax cuts?


Gianforte: I support and voted for the tax cuts that President Trump signed into law in December 2017. We cut tax rates for hardworking Montanans, nearly doubled the standard deduction, and preserved retirement savings accounts. We also doubled the child tax credit to make it easier to start a family and take care of our kids. Finally, we reformed the tax code to help Montana’s Main Street businesses.


Our economy is booming as a result. Unemployment is at a 49-year low. Wages are growing at their fastest rate in about a decade, particularly for low- and middle-income workers. The economy has created more than 2.5 million jobs in the last year, including thousands in Montana. Optimism is on the rise, opportunities are growing, and the American dream is within greater reach to more Montanans.


We’ve really turned a corner from the failed policies of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi that led to nearly a decade of sluggish economic growth, stagnant wages, and fewer opportunities.


MP: Would you be likely to take a stand against the President over issues where you disagree?


Gianforte: I have built a good relationship with President Trump and have been working with him to deliver results for Montana – a booming economy, safer communities, and a more secure America. I have worked alongside him on term limits for members of Congress and on reducing prescription drug prices. When President Trump has visited Montana, I have flown with him on Air Force One and talked with him about issues important to Montana. For example, I have encouraged the president and members of his administration to quickly resolve trade disputes, and we’re beginning to see new trade deals with the European Union, Canada, and Mexico that benefit America. Having a seat at the table with President Trump allows me to speak with the president frankly about issues important to Montana and to advocate for our interests.


MP: What would you point out as key concerns about either of your opponent’s abilities to represent Montana?


Gianforte: My Democrat opponent has a liberal record and extreme agenda that doesn’t fit into Montana’s sensible mainstream. My Democrat opponent has voted for sanctuary cities and for higher taxes, and she has voted against the Second Amendment and against providing relief to Montanans from Obamacare. She supports a path to Medicare for All and would vote with Nancy Pelosi for open borders and amnesty. Montanans don’t want someone who will stand with Nancy Pelosi and the resistance to push a radical, extreme agenda. They want a leader who will work with President Trump to put Montana first and deliver results for Montana. That’s what I’ve been doing, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.


MP: What is your perspective on restricting ownership of weapons?


Gianforte: The Second Amendment is clear. I oppose restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners in Montana. I’m proud that the National Rifle Association endorsed me and gave me an “A” rating. I will always protect our Montana way of life and fearlessly defend the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Montanans against anti-gun extremists, liberal special interest groups, and progressive politicians who threaten them.


MP: What strategy would you employ to advance your policy priorities in Congress?


Gianforte: My policy priorities in Congress are to put Montana first. It’s what guides every vote I take. It’s what guides every piece of legislation I introduce or cosponsor. As a business owner, I brought people together to make deals and sell products. It didn’t matter whether someone was a Republican, Democrat, or Independent. I’ve brought that same approach to Washington. I worked with Democrats and Republicans to pass and get my first bill signed into law – one that protects public access to our public lands. I worked with Democrats and Republicans to advance legislation protecting the gateway to Yellowstone National Park. I worked with Democrats and Republicans to pass a measure providing federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe – the first time this bill ever made it through either the House or the Senate. I worked with Republicans and Democrats to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a priority for Montana. I will always put Montana first and will continue working to advance those priorities in Congress.


MP: Minority Leader of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D) and President Obama are frequently mentioned in statements and interviews about this House race. Do you think these nationally-known politicians are relevant to Montana voters?


Gianforte: Montana voters are well aware of the failed, liberal policies that Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi forced upon them – from Obamacare itself to slashing $800 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare, from a war on coal to threatening our Second Amendment rights, from open borders to higher taxes. We’ve turned a corner from them, and we can’t afford to go back to these failed policies. My Democrat opponent has tried to distract voters from her liberal record and extreme agenda that mirrors the Obama-Pelosi agenda. My Democrat opponent embraces Obamacare. My Democrat opponent supports a path to Medicare for All which would gut Medicare and hurt Montana seniors. My Democrat opponent opposes tax cuts for hardworking Montanans that have produced our booming economy. My Democrat opponent supports open borders and voted twice for sanctuary cities. My Democrat opponent earned an “F” rating from the NRA which warned a vote for her “is a vote to put Nancy Pelosi in control of Congress.” Ultimately, this is a campaign of competing ideas. Do Montana voters want someone who will work with President Trump to deliver results for Montana or someone who will work against President Trump and stand with Nancy Pelosi and the resistance? It’s a serious and important decision.