Moments after Greg Gianforte was sworn in as the 25th Governor of the state of Montana he spoke exclusively to Wake Up Montana.
The governor had not even had time to put a photo on the wall but was ready to talk about the next week and next 100 days.
“I think it’s about jobs and protecting the Montana way of life,” Governor Greg Gianforte said, “the number one issue facing Montana, I’ve said this repeatedly- is this COVID pandemic.”
The governor went on to say that he's been having regular briefings with his COVID task force.
“I’ve gotten the recommendations, we will have announcements this week, about how we’re going to chart a path forward,” Gianforte said.
Adding that he believes there are two crises at hand, one the pandemic and the other being the economy.
“This vaccine is a path to a better place…if we get the most vulnerable in our community vaccinated we can get back to normal, and start living our lives again,” Gianforte said, “I have been getting weekly briefings on vaccine distribution, I spoke to a number of hospital administrators late last week, and the good news is — our frontline healthcare workers are getting vaccinated.”
The governor says that more information on vaccine rollout will be available later in the week, he also plans to release his operating budget as well.
“We are going to roll our budget this week,” Gianforte said, “there shouldn’t be any surprises there— we campaigned on the comeback plan, this is a comeback budget.”
Gianforte said his goal is to entice business owners and entrepreneurs to open up shop in Montana.
“For too long Montana has not been living up to its full potential and the consequence for Montana families, including my family, is that our young people ended up leaving the state to get better-paying jobs,” Gianforte said, "The elements are laid out in my come back plan….less regulations,... lower taxes,...investment into education, both trade education and higher education, and it also means creating programs that attract and retain entrepreneurs.”
Right now, the governor is also working to fill his cabinet, he says they have been overwhelmed by the number of people that have responded.
There have been nearly 1000 applications for agency heads and 12 of the 14 positions are filled.
“One of the things I learned in business, is that you want to make sure you have the right... people in the seats,” Gianforte said, “I have two spots left that I’ll need to be filling, we have finalists that were interviewing, but we’re not gonna pull the trigger there until we know we have the right person”
As the new administration steps in to take over the treasure State, Gianforte said he did have time to talk with the outgoing governor.
“I want to thank Governor Bullock for his service to the state, we had a chance to sit down face-to-face last week and we spent the better part of an hour visiting about the role of governor,” Gianforte said, “it’s a unique thing, until you wear the backpack, you’re not fully conscious of all the issues involved, I just want to thank him for his service to the state.”
Gianforte says he's ready to get to work for the people of Montana.
“We are ready to roll up our sleeves, I think.. [its] about serving other people,” Gianforte said, “I am incredibly honored to just have been sworn in as the 25th governor of Montana, I come into this office with an incredible amount of humility and a servants heart”